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Gas prices edging up, but are expected to remain lower than last year

February 25, 2014

 

Gasoline price watchers are expecting prices to rise in coming weeks, as they usually do in the spring, but not to the extent that they have in the past.

The Kiplinger Letter predicts that the national average price for unleaded regular, at $3.39 per gallon about a dime higher than a week ago, will peak at about $3.60 before leveling off by late spring.

The cause for spring price spikes is maintenance-related refinery closures and the switch to summer gasoline blends. Kiplinger projects that the prices will remain lower this year compared with last.

In central Pennsylvania, prices currently are at about $3.58 per gallon, compared with $3.75 per gallon a year ago. That’s about 10 cents higher than at the end of the year, before the Oil Company Franchise tax was removed. Since then, according to GasBuddy.com they’ve dipped as low as $3.45 per gallon before rising to where they are today.

In Pennsylvania, prices tend to be higher in the west and lower in the east.

“Comparing prices from state to state is often like comparing apples and oranges,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “In New Jersey, for example, the gasoline tax is lower than in Pennsylvania, but the state subsidizes its highway program from other tax sources. Pennsylvania’s approach is more of a user fee – as you use more gas, you pay more into the Motor License Fund and pay a higher proportion of the cost of bridge and highway maintenance.”

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