During the busiest travel weekend of the year, Cleveland, Tenn., has the cheapest gas of any city in America, the online gas reporting service GasBuddy.com reported Monday.
The average retail price of regular gas in Cleveland fell 1.3 cents per gallon last week to $1.80 per gallon. Gas was selling Monday as low as $1.67 at several Cleveland stations, including the Hi-Tech station on Ocoee Street that briefly dipped its price to $1.64 earlier this week.
"I buy gas most every day for my lawn mowers and Weed Eaters during the summer so these prices are really helping my business," said Billy Stowe, a Cleveland, Tenn., resident who runs a lawn mowing business and filled up his mowers and vehicle Monday at the Hi-Tech station. "I shop around a lot for gas and right now it's great in Cleveland."
1. Cleveland, Tenn., $1.80 per gallon, down 1.3 cents
2. Rock Hill, S.C., $1.82 per gallon, no change
3. Aiken, S.C., $1.82 per gallon, up 0.3 cents
4. Spartanburg, S.C., $1.82 per gallon, down 0.2
5. Florence, S.C., $1.83 per gallon, down 0.1 cents
Source: Gasbuddy.com. Dalton, Ga., had the 18 lowest price of any U.S. metro area at just under 1.88 per gallon, while Chattanooga ranked 20th lowest with an average price of $1.88
In metro Chattanooga, gas prices also fell another 1.7 cents last week to $1.88 per gallon — the 20th lowest for gas prices among more than 350 metro cities in America, GasBuddy.com said.
The drop in prices came despite a 4 cents per gallon increase in Tennessee's state gas tax, effective Saturday.
"Everyone complained about a very miniscule amount of gas tax and hell the price went down when it went into effect," Eric Fine, an Ootewah motorist, posted on his Facebook page Monday. "Crazy how that works."
A glut of oil supplies, and only modest summertime gains in consumption, have combined to keep oil and gas prices in check over the past month and during the July 4th holiday when prices usually increase.
Gas prices in the region are the lowest they have been for any summertime season since 2005 and, adjusted for inflation and the improved fuel economy of most vehices, are among the lowest in a half century.
Nationwide prices fell 2.7 cents per gallon last week to an average of $2.22 per gallon.
But Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said the drop in gas prices may soon be coming to an end.
"While it has been over a month since the national average last saw a weekly rise, it is looking more likely we will soon face just that," he said. "It is just a matter of time before the national average bottoms out for the short-term, but at least the low prices were perfectly timed with what may be the lowest average gas prices of the summer as we celebrate the Fourth."
AAA estimates a record breaking 44.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more between June 30 and July 4.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6340.
This story was updated July 3 at 11:20 p.m. with more information.