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Monday, November 2, 2015

Lockport-area gas prices fell another three cents this week, according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area.

This week’s Lockport area average price is $2.314 down from $2.341 a week ago and $3.453 this time last year.

The national average price for regular unleaded ticked slightly higher over the past week, ending with this week’s price of $2.191, just a fraction of a penny less than last Monday’s price. Despite this upward pattern, this is the lowest prices have reached since 2004.

Overall, consumers are paying 10 cents less than last month and 80 cents less than this time last year.

Due to unplanned refinery outages causing a reduction to the region’s short-term supply, prices in the Midwest jumped this week, with Ohio seeing a 17-cent increase in the average price per gallon.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Midwest refinery utilization hit a five-year low last month, contributing to short-term supply issues, as many refineries continue seasonal maintenance efforts. ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. refinery is the latest to report unplanned production challenges, exacerbating issues for the refinery already operating at reduced rates due to maintenance.

In the near term, as maintenance wraps up over the next two months, additional unplanned outages may move gas prices up in the Midwest region, and, in turn, increase the national average.

South Carolina and Alabama boast the nation’s cheapest gas prices, with Hawaii and California topping the list of most expensive states for gas.

Although Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices closed higher last week, abundant supply and a lagging Chinese economy have put downward pressure on this week’s trading. Iranian oil is also expected to return to the market, which should continue to push prices lower.

With an increase in domestic oil production, despite a fall in rig counts, and oil inventories higher this year, any recent market gains are likely short-term shifts, rather than a turn in market fundamentals.

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


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