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Tuesday, August 25, 2015
ENP STAFF REPORTS
news@eastniagarapost.com


Lockport-area gas has fallen five cents, according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, is 2.634, same from $2.688 last week and $3.702 this time last year. The national average is $2.595.

Average U.S. gas prices today are at the lowest levels for this time of year since 2004 due to the steep decline in the cost of crude oil. Gas prices have dropped recently despite ongoing refinery problems, and prices should continue to fall this autumn due to declining demand and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Pump prices are now 21 cents per gallon below the a week ago and 84 cents less than a year ago. Pump prices are now 21 cents per gallon below the 2015 peak price reached on June 15.

BP’s largest crude distillation unit at its Whiting, Indiana refinery remains out of commission, due to a malfunction reported on August 8 that triggered dramatically higher prices in the Great Lakes region. Repairs to the unit are reported to be ongoing, and the company has yet to release a date they expect the unit to return to production. However, BP has purchased additional fuel supply and met all of its contractual requirements to date. Although regional supply is still uncertain due to the outage, prices in the region have moved lower over the past week as speculation has built that supply issues might not be as dire as first worried.

Crude oil prices have continued to sag, due to persisting global oversupply and concerns about the health of the Chinese economy. China is one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing economies. Evidence of slower than projected growth in the Chinese economy is rippling through global markets and has put additional downward pressure on the price of crude. Both crude oil benchmarks (Brent and West Texas Intermediate) ended last week at their lowest levels since March 2009, and the market is expected to remain volatile in the near term. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled at its lowest close since March 2, 2009 down 87 cents at $40.45 per barrel. These losses accelerated today as WTI opened the week trading $1.50 per barrel lower, well below the $40 per barrel threshold.



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