OPEC production decision may bring end to falling gas prices [The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.]

June 25–The trend of falling gas prices may be coming to an end, as OPEC announced a smaller increase in production leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, according to gas price analyst firm GasBuddy.

Last week, OPEC agreed to increase oil production by 600 thousand barrels a day, which Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said was well-short of expectations.

“Crude oil prices responded by skyrocketing over 5 percent Friday while refined products, including gasoline, rose 2 percent.,” he said. “The worry is the rally may continue into this week as motorists prepare for the upcoming July 4 weekend.

“The decision may lead to an abrupt end in recent gas price declines, or may slow it down, just as gasoline prices had been catching up to the prior slump in crude oil,” DeHaan said. “I’m optimistic that we can avoid a $3 per gallon national average, but if gas prices were to mirror the gains in oil prices, a 5 percent gain would theoretically put us back at nearly $2.99 per gallon, not what you like to see any time, much less prior to the summer’s most popular holiday.”

In the Pittsburgh area, gas prices fell 2.8 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $3.09, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 731 stations in Pittsburgh.

That’s higher than the national average of $2.83, which is down 5.3 cents per gallon since last week.

Prices in Pittsburgh are 53 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, and 8.8 cents lower than a month ago. The national average has dropped 14.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 58.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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