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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette The Marathon sign on West Main Street reflects a drop in prices Monday. Gas prices at the Marathon station on West Main begin falling Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:14 am

After week on the rise, gas prices falling again

Jeff Wiehe The Journal Gazette

The price may have dropped a little by Monday afternoon, but if you got gas this weekend, you may have felt a little pinch in your wallet. 

Average retail gasoline prices in Fort Wayne rose 11.5 cents a gallon during the past week, topping out at an average of $2.60 a gallon Sunday, according to the website GasBuddy.com. 

The rest of the country reported an increase of 4â ¯cents a gallon, though much of the nation was paying an average of $2.66 a gallon. 

Still, the local prices Sunday were 111.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago – but 27.6â ¯cents a gallon higher than a month ago, according to GasBuddy. 

As of Monday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Fort Wayne was $2.57, the website said.  

“The rapid rise we’ve seen in the national average over the last several weeks appears to be slowing,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.

“The rise in crude oil prices have been the largest explanation for the rise in gasoline prices over the past few weeks, though the increase has been enhanced in the west by refinery problems – which still pose a threat to that market,” DeHaan said in a statement. 

For the rest of the nation, gasoline prices may decline as crude oil prices drop, he said. 

In this part of Indiana and the Great Lakes region, however, DeHaan and other GasBuddy experts have talked to The Journal Gazette several times about “price cycling” being the driving force behind gas prices. 

This is how it works: 

One chain of gas stations will set a price for a gallon of gasoline that other chains will follow.

The original price at the original chain then drops lower and lower, with the other chains following suit. 

Finally, the original chain will mark down the price to the point where its margins are suffering, then raise the price to make up for those margins.

And the other chains then, like they did when the first chain lowered prices, follow suit.

On Monday, GasBuddy listed the lowest price for gas in Fort Wayne as $2.51 a gallon, with prices falling. 

jeffwiehe@jg.net