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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lockport area gas prices are up a nickel to $2.341 a gallon, according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline last week, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, is $2.293. This time last year, gasoline was $2.734 in Lockport. The national average is $2.209.

The national average price of gas declined slightly on the week, and it is possible that prices have begun to stabilize as refineries increase production to meet record-high demand. Despite this recent trend higher, retail averages are down by one cent per gallon on the week, and drivers continue to benefit from year-over-year discounts, saving 45 cents per gallon on the year. Historically gasoline demand increases leading into the summer driving season, and this year so far is no different. However, lower gas prices are contributing to drivers taking to the roads at record levels and the 2016 summer driving season is expected to rival 2007 when gasoline demand hit an all-time high.

Gasoline demand reached its fourth-highest weekly estimate for 2016 and remains well above year-over-year levels. Although the market is well supplied with product, the notable growth in gasoline demand could cause pump prices to become volatile leading into the summer driving season. Refineries nationwide are ramping up production, which should help increase supplies in regional markets. This is good news for the average driver, because if supply can keep pace with demand, averages should remain relatively low and drivers should continue to benefit from comparative savings at the pump.

The possibility of disrupted supply from the Canadian Oil Sands influenced the global price of crude oil over the past week; however, expectations of reduced supply were largely overshadowed by news of increased production out of Iran and other OPEC and non-OPEC nations. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate was up 34 cents and settled at $44.66 per barrel.

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