Gasoline prices fall slightly

Western Pennsylvania motorists are spending less “green” at the pumps as gas prices march downward to $3.787. The average is almost a nickel less than last week.

Tuesday’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.70. This price is 12 cents more than one month ago, but it is 5 cents less expensive than one week ago and 10 cents less than the average price one year ago.

The national average has dropped nine cents to begin March, which is counter to the trend that motorists may remember from the same stretch in recent years. The price increased by 17 cents and six cents during the same periods in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

It is too soon to say whether retail prices have peaked for the spring, because there is still refinery maintenance to be completed and much of the country must still transition to summer-blend gasoline.

The spike in pump prices earlier this year was a product of refinery maintenance and concerns, rather than more expensive crude oil. These refinery issues pressured both wholesale and futures prices higher for gasoline, while crude oil prices only increased slightly during the same period. The recent decline in the national average is partially due to cheaper crude oil but is more closely linked to sharply lower wholesale gasoline prices.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices settled up 11 cents at $92.06 per barrel on Monday.

This week’s Western PA average price, $ 3.787

Average price during the week of March 5, 2013, $ 3.833

Average price during the week of March 13, 2012, $ 3.788

The following is a list of the average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

$ 3.847, Altoona,

$ 3.849, Beaver,

$ 3.807, Bradford,

$ 3.649, Brookville,

$ 3.803, Butler,

$ 3.812, Clarion,

$ 3.711, Du Bois,

$ 3.683, Erie,

$ 3.798, Greensburg,

$ 3.841, Indiana,

$ 3.855, Jeanette,

$ 3.808, Kittanning

$ 3.852, Latrobe

$ 3.795, Meadville

$ 3.811, Mercer

$ 3.705, New Castle

$ 3.800, New Kensington

$ 3.806, Pittsburgh

$ 3.797, Sharon

$ 3.753, Uniontown

$ 3.750, Warren

$ 3.774, Washington