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Monday, January 4, 2016

Lockport area gas prices dropped into 2016, 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 $2.162. This time last year, gasoline was $2.79 in Lockport. The national average is $1.990.

Gas prices rang in the New Year by reaching the lowest average price for the holiday since 2009. Today’s average price of $1.99 per gallon is the cheapest average since March 25, 2009, due to an abundance of crude oil. Pump prices are down by 22 cents on the year. Market fundamentals are positioned to continue to support consumer savings in 2016, though retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring. These price increases are expected to be seasonal, and barring any unanticipated events that dramatically impact global or domestic supply, the national average price is expected to remain below $3 per gallon in 2016.

Both crude oil benchmarks, West Texas Intermediate and Brent, closed out the year posting yearly losses of nearly 30 percent, largely attributed to global supply continuing to outpace demand. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East appear to be influencing global oil prices, and both benchmarks opened the week posting increases related to worries about supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf region.

The domestic oil market is also being closely monitored for a number of factors that could impact production. The lower price environment is believed to have been a cause of the U.S. rig count falling by nearly two-thirds versus one year ago, and Congress also recently moved to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. WTI closed out the year up 44 cents and settled at $37.04 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

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