Area Gas Prices Down Four Cents

Chautauqua drivers are paying 4 cents less per gallon of gasoline this week as prices fell to $3.817 per gallon in the region. New York ranks sixth in the country for the state average price of gasoline, $3.741. The lowest price today is Wyoming at $3.334 and the high is Hawaii at $4.366.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is a penny less expensive than one week ago but, it is 16 cents less than one month ago and 34 cents less than one year ago. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5-6.

While motorists in every state but three (Utah, Idaho and Wyoming) are paying less at the pump than one month ago, those in some Midwestern states have seen prices climb sharply in the last week following supply concerns from heavy rains in the region. Prices in 43 states and Washington D.C. are lower than one week ago, compared to four Great Lakes states, which have seen the average price increase more than a dime per gallon (Illinois, 10 cents; Michigan, 24 cents; Ohio, 28 cents; and Indiana, 28 cents).

The recent storms and resulting power outages provided the catalyst for higher retail prices in the Midwest, however analysts had warned that the region was susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production. Gas stations in much of the country must make this retail switch by June 1, however refineries shift to making summer blend in March and April to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more susceptible to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.

The primary factors driving retail gas prices lower in recent weeks have been low demand, continued disappointing economic news and lower crude oil prices.. At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 80 cents at $88.81 per barrel.