Gas prices drop to a 5-month low in Chattanooga

Staff file photo / Ben Michaels pumps gas into his car at the Speedway gas station on the corner of S. Holtzclaw Ave. and East Third Street.

Average gasoline prices in Chattanooga fell for the eighth consecutive week last week, dropping another 16 cents a gallon to the lowest level in five months, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga motorists are still paying 65.6 cents a gallon more than they did a year ago. But the average price of regular gas at $3.46 a gallon in Chattanooga at the start of this week is down by more than $1 a gallon from the price peak reached in June. Gasbuddy.com surveys also indicate that Chattanooga fuel prices, on average, are 55 cents a gallon below the national average and 12 cents a gallon below the statewide average in Tennessee.

"The national average is poised to fall back under $4 per gallon as early as today as we see the decline in gas prices enter its eighth straight week," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a statement early Monday morning. "We've even seen nearly a dozen stations in low-priced states fall under $2.99 (per gallon for regular gas), a welcome return to some lucky motorists in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa."

DeHaan said he expects gas prices will continue to decline unless hurricanes hit or interrupt gas delivery and refining operations.

"While I'm upbeat the drop can continue for another couple of weeks, we're starting to see some activity in the tropics, which may increase the risk of potential disruption," he said.

While motorists are feeling less pain at the pump than they did a few months ago, the higher fuel prices this summer compared with a year ago still appears to be limiting consumption.

With less than a month until Labor Day, Reuters reported Monday that deliveries of the fuel have dropped below the levels during the pandemic summer of 2020. On a four-week average basis, which smooths out a lot of the noise in the weekly figures, gasoline deliveries from primary storage facilities, which the Energy Information Administration measures as a proxy for demand, slipped below those seen in the same period two years ago.

The cheapest gas in the Chattanooga survey on Monday was at Sam's Club on Lee Highway, which is selling regular gas for $3.15 a gallon.

The drop in fuel prices is also aiding truckers and other users of diesel fuel. GasBuddy.com said the national average price of diesel has declined 13.1 cents in the last week and stands at $5.14 per gallon.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner

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Chattanooga Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com