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Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312

WILKES-BARRE, PA (March 16, 2021) For the first time in almost two years, drivers in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazelton region are now paying an average of $3.01 per gallon at the pump, while drivers in the Bloomsburg/Berwick area are now paying an average of $3 per gallon, according to AAA’s gas price site. Pennsylvania’s gas average topped $3 on March 8. The last time the Wilkes-Barre and Bloomsburg area gas price averages were at $3, it was May 5, 2019.

“Wilkes-Barre area drivers are now paying about 50 cents more than just one year ago,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “With increased demand and tighter gasoline supplies, we are looking at more expensive pump prices with little relief in the weeks ahead.”

AAA notes that while all area gas prices have seen increases in recent weeks, Pennsylvania drivers are paying more at the pump than their neighbors in New Jersey and New York. Pennsylvania drivers pay the second highest gasoline tax in the country (58.7 cents per gallon), behind California (63.05 cents per gallon). New Jersey is fourth highest in the country (50.7 cents) while New York ranks 7th with drivers paying 42.7 cents per gallon in gasoline tax.


Today’s Gas Average

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How Did We Get to $3?

  • Refinery issues – Following the massive winter storms that battered refineries along the Gulf Coast in February, refinery utilization had been at an all-time low. As a result, gas prices were pushed higher for multiple weeks.
  • Increased crude oil prices - Pump prices are increasing because crude oil prices (WTI) have surged by about $7 since the beginning of 2021. The good news is that the price of crude, which accounts for more than half of the price at the pump, showed signs of stability on the week fluctuating between $64 and $66 per barrel. If crude sustains at this level, especially as refinery utilization increases, the jumps at the pump are likely not to be so substantial by April.
  • Increased demand, decreased supplyFor the week ending March 5, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports gas stocks decreased as demand increased to the highest level since the end of November 2020. As the winter season comes to an end, motorists are coming out of hibernation (so to speak) and returning to the roads. Vaccine availability is also playing into increased demand as drivers make plans to venture out.

AAA Tips to Maximize Fuel Economy

  • Observe the speed limit. Not only is it safer, it can help you save money.
  • Lose the weight. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  • Brake and accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts and stops.
  • Drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.
  • Keep luggage off the roof - heading out on a road trip this season? A loaded roof rack affects the vehicle aerodynamics and creates extra drag that reduces fuel economy.
  • Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance - be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and do not ignore vehicle warning lights that indicate something is wrong. Warning lights can signal problems that will greatly decrease a car’s fuel efficiency.

AAA Gas Price Saving Resources

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and more than 3.2 million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile appss for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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