After six weeks of rising gasoline prices, the price of gas in Chattanooga fell last week for the first time in 2018, dropping by an average 3.2 cents per gallon to $2.33 a gallon, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga.
The stock market losses and market "correction" over the past couple of weeks reduced oil prices and, in turn, lowered the price at the pump, experts said.
"As the Dow Jones average swung violently, oil prices lost considerable ground, falling below $60 per barrel for the first time this year," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "In addition, a weekly report from the government showed a trifecta of inventory increases: crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories all gained, pushing wholesale gasoline prices down and paving the way for gas prices to cool off."
Chattanooga fuel prices are still up 10 cents a gallon from a month ago and are 35 cents a gallon higher than at this time a year ago, GasBuddy.com surveys indicate. But local gas prices remain 24 cents per gallon below the U.S. average price of $2.57 a gallon.
DeHaan said the drop in gas prices will likely continue this week but may be only "a brief window of relief" before fuel prices head up again.
"Don't get too giddy," he said. "There are still some gray clouds on the horizon."