Rising gas inventories and a drop in oil prices are among the factors

Gas prices finally have started to taper off after weeks of increases. The slight dip — which is seen nationally, state-wide and locally — is thanks to rising inventories of gasoline along the East Coast territory, an increase in crude oil supplies, and last week's drop in oil prices, according to AAA Western and Central New York.

Monday's national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.58, down 3 cents from the previous Monday — though up 30 cents from the same date in 2017. The New York state average Monday was $2.76, down 2 cents from last week, though up 28 cents from last year's price of $2.48.

Consumer gasoline demand continues to climb, hitting its highest point yet in 2018, according to AAA. AAA cited the Energy Information Administration’s latest weekly petroleum status report, which noted that demand registered at 9.11 million b/d (barrels per day). That's 70,000 b/d more than the previous week and nearly 170,000 b/d more than the same time in 2017. Demand last year
did not hit the 9 million b/d mark until early March, though it did hit it in early February both in 2016 and 2009, AAA noted.

"Typically demand reaches high rates in March when the spring driving season kicks off. Among factors, strong consumer confidence in the economy has contributed to drivers using more gasoline than usual this winter," AAA states.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

Batavia - $2.68 (no change in past week) Buffalo - $2.69 (no change in past week) Ithaca - $2.73 (down 1 cent in past week) Rochester - $2.70 (down 1 cent in past week) Rome - $2.76 (down 1 cent in past week) Syracuse - $2.71 (no change in past week) Watertown - $2.78 (down 1 cent in past week)