Chautauqua motorists are paying a nickel more per gallon this week as prices reverse their downward trend across the region. The average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.663.
A gallon of gas averaged $3.492 a year ago and $3.612 a week ago in the Jamestown area.
The year ended with an annual national average of $3.60 per gallon - the highest on record and nine cents more expensive than the previous high of $3.51 in 2011.
At Monday's close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate settled at $91.82 per barrel, up $1.02 on the day. While oil prices are rising, they remain more than $10 less expensive than the $102.96 settlement price to begin 2012. WTI peaked for the year at $109.77 per barrel on Feb. 24. Commodities prices could continue their upward trend as investor confidence returns and economic fears are allayed with the passage of a fiscal agreement.
Despite the pricier start, AAA expects national gas prices in 2013 to average less than they did in 2012. Last year, prices increased to begin the year as geopolitical tension with Iran mounted and the "fear premium" in oil markets propelled the national average price at the pump to a high of $3.94 on April 5 and 6 - more than 65 cents higher than the price to begin the year. Continued economic concerns, weak demand and increased domestic crude oil production are likely to temper any seasonal price increase in the coming months.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and Kentucky servicing 2.5 million members.