Gasoline prices fell in the past week to their lowest level in 16 months, saving the typical car owner more than $20 for a tankful of gasoline compared to the peak prices paid six months ago.
The average price of regular gas in Chattanooga fell another 14 cents per gallon in the past week, dropping to $2.72 a gallon, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. From the peak of $4.56 a gallon reached in June, prices at the pump in Chattanooga have dropped by more than 40%, or an average of $1.84 a gallon.
The national average price of diesel has fallen 14.9 cents in the past week and stands at $4.91 per gallon.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said motorists should get an early Christmas gift with even lower prices as the busy holiday travel season approaches.
"Not only has the decline in gasoline prices lasted five straight weeks, with again every state seeing a weekly decline in its average, but average diesel prices have fallen in 49 states over the last week as well," De Haan said in a report Monday. "We remain on schedule to see the national average gas price fall below $3 by Christmas, with diesel set to fall 50 cents to $1 per gallon over the next six weeks or so."
Gasoline prices are already below $3 a gallon for regular gas at 86% of the stations in Tennessee, according to a separate survey of gas stations released Monday by the AAA Auto Club. Statewide, the AAA survey found Tennessee has the sixth lowest average gas price of all 50 states with average gas prices in the Volunteer State priced 11.5% below the U.S. average.
"Tennessee gas prices have fallen nearly 50 cents in the last month, and with continued downward pressure on pump prices, it's likely this trend will continue as we get closer to the holidays," said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA, in a statement.. "This year, holiday road trippers are receiving the early gift of plunging prices at the pump, which makes that road trip a little less expensive than anticipated."
AAA said in a news release that average gas prices in Chattanooga are about 6 cents a gallon below the Tennessee average.
The cheapest gas in Chattanooga on Monday was at Sam's Club on Lee Highway where regular gas was priced at $2.45 a gallon. Across Tennessee, GasBuddy said gas was cheapest in Tennessee on Monday at a Murphy USA station in Sparta, Tennessee, where regular gas was being sold for only $2.23 a gallon.
Prices in Chattanooga are 21.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, although local gas prices are still nearly 48% higher than they were two years ago during the pandemic shutdowns in December 2020.
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, gas demand remained relatively low at 8.36 million barrels per day last week. That was down about 605,000 barrels a day from a year ago, according to AAA.
Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks rose significantly by 5.3 million barrels per day to 219.1 million bbl. Cooper said increasing supply and lower gasoline demand will push pump prices lower.
Last week, a failure in the Keystone pipeline near Washington, Kansas, caused an estimated 14,000 barrels of crude, or 588,000 gallons of a form of crude known as tar sands oil, to spill into Mill Creek, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Transportation Department.
"While the Keystone Pipeline shutdown has been getting some attention, motorists need not worry much about the oil-carrying pipeline for now," De Haan said. "There is no expected impact to gasoline prices as of now."
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter @DFlessner1.
Cheapest states for gas
National surveys by AAA report the states with the least expensive average price for gas are:
1. Texas, $2.69.8
2. Oklahoma, $2.70.4
3. Arkansas, $2.796
4. Missouri, $2.81
5. Louisiana, $2.84
6. Mississippi, $2.84.1
7. Tennessee, $2.84.9
8. Wisconsin, $2.85.1
9. Georgia, $2.87
10. Kansas, $2.89.5
Source: AAA average price for regular gasoline as of Dec. 12. The U.S. average price for regular was $3.22 a gallon with the highest price in Hawaii where regular gas averages nearly $5.15 a gallon.