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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lockport-area gas prices have dropped another 2 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 2.29, down from $2.31 last week and $3.33 this time last year. The national average is $2.15.

Pump prices have fallen for ten consecutive days, reaching today’s national average price of $2.16 per gallon. AAA believes that average U.S. prices should continue to decline and could drop below $2 per gallon by Christmas for the first time since 2009.Drivers are benefitting from relative savings in the price of retail gasoline with today’s average six cents less per gallon than one week ago and 11 cents less than one month ago. The price of crude oil remains noticeably low compared to previous years, and as a result, retail averages are down 74 cents per gallon year-over-year.

Refinery production in the Midwest appears to be recovering, which should help improve prices in the region. For example, the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois, has reportedly concluded its scheduled maintenance and returned to production. This and other refinery restarts in the Midwest have led to large weekly and monthly price discounts in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions. Eleven states are posting averages below $2 per gallon. A bearish sentiment prevails with global petroleum prices, and traders are following the recent terrorist attacks in France to determine what effects it may have on the market. Global supply continues to outpace demand, while a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes crude oil more expensive for buyers holding foreign currencies, is expected to keep a ceiling on prices into 2016.

U.S. crude oil inventories continue to build, and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, are within reach of hitting record levels set this past April. For the first time in more than two months, the U.S. oil rig count increased on Friday. While this measure is not the best indicator of production, it reportedly reinforced the expectation that U.S. production rates will remain high and keep the market oversupplied in the near term. West Texas Intermediate opened this week’s trading session posting gains, though prices have since declined. This comes following a week of testing the $40 per barrel threshold, and closing Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, down $1.01, settling at $40.74 per barrel, a closing price that represents a loss of nearly 10 percent on the week.

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.


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