Gas prices in Pittsburgh region remain higher than national average, Philadelphia-area prices

·2 min read

While gas prices are steadily declining across the state, Pennsylvanians are still paying more on-average than drivers who are filling up their tanks in several other parts of the nation.

On Monday, Pennsylvania’s average for a regular gallon of gas was $4.67. That cost is about a dime below last week’s average, of $4.78, but still higher than the current national average of $4.52.

According to Jim Garrity, Director of Public Affairs for AAA East Central, that disparity is “something that we consistently see happening,” as the result of Pennsylvania’s gas tax.

“The gas tax in Pennsylvania is consistently one of the highest,” Garrity said. “At some points, it is the highest in the entire country.”

And yet, gas prices tend to also range region to region. According to AAA data, counties within Southwest PA are tending to pay closer to $4.72, while counties in Southeast PA are paying closer to $4.63.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration [EIA] attributes ranging prices to a number of factors including “supply disruptions, and retail competition and operating costs.”

The distance from supply can also play a role, and works to explain why folks in the Philadelphia region are filling up their tanks for less than folks in and around Pittsburgh.

“There are actually refineries in Philadelphia,” Garrity said. “There’s gasoline that’s produced right there, so one of the major factors about why gasoline costs what it does where it does, comes down to transportation. Over here, we don’t have refineries... our gasoline comes in from Ohio, from some of the refineries across the border, so we’re a little bit further down that supply chain, which adds to the cost.”

When you pay to fill up your tank, you’re paying for the distribution and marketing, the taxes, refining, and crude oil. On average, in May, crude oil accounted for 59 percent of the breakdown, according to the EIA. https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

The high cost of crude oil is what’s contributing to prices remaining so high overall.

“It’s all eyes on crude oil,” Garrity said. “And, unfortunately, it’s a very volatile situation right now.”

With that said, it’s hard to know when we could pay the lower prices of the past.

Demand will certainly play a role in prices as well, and right now, Garrity said demand is “unseasonably low” as consumers cut back on driving to save money.

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