Susquehanna Valley gas prices fell two cents to $3.64 a gallon this week, according to AAA East Central.

On the national front

Tuesday's national average price at the pump was $3.46 per gallon. This price is three cents more expensive than one week ago and 18 cents more than one month ago; however, national prices remain 29 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

Gas prices are expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks due to seasonal refinery maintenance. However, the national price at the pump is unlikely to surpass last year's high and AAA expects it to peak between $3.55 and $3.75, barring any unexpected market-moving events. The rapidly escalating geopolitical tensions with Russia in the Ukraine could constitute such an event should global oil supply be impacted.

The ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine, including reports that Russia had sent troops into the Crimean peninsula, have been a major story in the past few days. While there has been no disruption to global supply, Russia (10.4 million barrels per day) is the third largest oil producing nation, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration data. Further escalation could propel global oil prices higher, which has the potential to magnify the seasonal price increase at the pump.

At the close of Monday's formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled at $104.92 per barrel, which was the highest settlement price since Sept. 19.

(AAA East Central - a not-for-profit association with 82 local offices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and Kentucky servicing 2.7 million members - provides Fuel Gauge each week.)