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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

This week, Lockport-area gas prices decreased by almost 4 cents, 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 of $2.207 is down from the average price last week of $2.243 and 74 cents lower than the $2,945 this time last year.

With the falling cost of crude oil, consumers are paying the cheapest prices at the pump, on average, since 2009. The national average is $2.013.

Drivers are saving about 21 cents over the past month and 54 cents over last year at this time, with the current average 79 cents lower than this year’s peak price.

Prices for crude oil opened this week at its lowest point in more than five years. Last week, the West Texas Intermediate crude oil price closed at $35.62 per barrel, the lowest for that benchmark since the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

As global supply continues to outpace demand, the market imbalance should continue into the new year, keeping a price ceiling on oil costs. The cost of crude oil has fallen by about 60 percent compared to June of 2014.

Overall, average prices remained relatively steady this week, with 26 state averages falling below the $2 per gallon mark.

The market focus continues to center on the Federal Reserve’s potential to raise interest rates, for the first time in seven years, following a strong U.S. jobs report. An increase in interest rates often leads to a stronger U.S. dollar, which would make oil relatively more expensive for those with foreign currency and potentially exacerbate the global over supply.

Over the past week, the domestic oil rig count fell by 28, the largest weekly increment in almost a quarter. However, strong production continues to dominate the market. Also, members of Congress are working on a budget deal that would end the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, which could further impact domestic production and global supply.

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