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Monday, February 22, 2016

Lockport-area gas prices are down a nickel, hovering around $1.903/gallon according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline two weeks ago, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, is $1.953. This time last year, gasoline was $2.469 in Lockport. The national average is $1.711.

The national average for regular unleaded gasoline continues to hover at levels not seen since the Great Recession, largely due to abundant supplies and low crude oil costs. Today’s average price of $1.71 per gallon is the lowest price for this date since 2004.

Gas prices are likely move higher as we head into the spring refinery maintenance season; however prices should remain lower than recent years. Refineries conducting maintenance will produce less fuel, though ample gasoline supply and lower-than-expected prices for crude oil should limit any seasonal price spikes.

The global price for crude oil continues to move based on speculation regarding the market’s future balance between supply and demand. A possible freeze in production, spearheaded by OPEC member Saudi Arabia, grabbed the attention of market watchers for much of last week, but failed to produce any real gains in price, as the likelihood of a deal remains questionable. It also is unlikely that a production freeze near current levels would have any effect on reducing abundant global supplies.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down $1.13 to settle at $29.64 per barrel.

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