LIMA — For the first time in a decade, gasoline prices were lower at the end of March than at the beginning of the month, but it was almost as if motorists were being set up for an April Fool's Day prank on Monday.
The average retail price for a gallon of gasoline on Sunday was $3.55 a gallon in Ohio. That was 16 cents lower than March 1. Monday started ou t looking like prices would drop further — gasoline could be found at $3.31 a gallon at Clark stations in Wapakoneta and $3.38 at the BP Station on Shawnee Road in Lima — but by afternoon were spiking to$3.68 across the region.
"Gas prices in March came in like a lion and are going out like a lamb," said GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Essentially what we're seeing here this month is perhaps the largest monthly decrease ever during the month of March, a month that has almost always seen prices finishing the month substantially higher than where they entered."
For March, gasoline prices in Ohio were 27 cents lower than a year ago and are 21.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to a survey of 5,345 gas outlets by GasBuddy.com. The national average has decreased 10.3 cents per gallon during the past month and stands 28.1 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
This past week saw the average retail gasoline prices in Ohio fall 11.9 cents per gallon. Nationally, the average gas price was $3.61 a gallon, just 1.9 percent cheaper nationwide.