Donny Daugherty was preparing Monday to return to Orlando, Florida, after a weekend of softball at the Scenic City Fall Showcase when he spotted the gas price at the Circle K station near his hotel in Lookout Valley.
At $2.51 per gallon for regular gas, the Circle K station was offering the cheapest gas in Tennessee on Monday at a price nearly 80 cents a gallon less than what Daugherty said he had been paying for gas in Florida.
"I love these prices and glad to see it," Daugherty said as he filled up his rental Ford Expedition. "Gas prices are a constant battle that cuts into your bottom line, so I'm really glad to see prices coming down again."
Chattanooga gas prices dropped in the past week by an average of nearly 11 cents a gallon to their lowest average prices since the start of the year and analysts expect gas prices should decline even more this month.
Among 170 service stations in the Chattanooga area surveyed by the online pricing service GasBuddy.com, the average price of regular gas Sunday fell to $2.84 per gallon, GasBuddy reported Monday. Prices in Chattanooga are 33 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and 32.3 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
"For the seventh straight week, we've seen the national average price of gasoline decline," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a report Monday. "With cooler weather comes cooler gasoline prices, and as we inch closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, prices will continue to fall virtually coast to coast."
Chattanooga gas prices averaged 54 cents a gallon less than the U.S. average of $3.38 per gallon Sunday and were 16 cents a gallon below the Tennessee average price of $3 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.
Deborah Dawson, a military employee who lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, and travels regularly across the country, said Chattanooga has some of the lowest prices for gas she has seen.
"My father is in New York where I was paying $4 a gallon for gas earlier this year," Dawson said as she filled up her Ford Explorer on Monday. "Going back and forth home from my military assignments can be rather pricey, and I'm always glad when the price of gas goes down."
De Haan said the drop in gas price is likely to continue for at least another couple of weeks, with California likely soon falling below $5 a gallon, while more states fall under $3 a gallon.
A separate survey by AAA last week found the average U.S. gas price was $3.44 per gallon for regular fuel, down 9 cents a gallon from a week earlier.
"There are now thousands of gas stations selling regular below $3 a gallon and even a few that have dipped below $2," AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a news release last week. "We still need to watch global events for the effect on oil prices, but for now, drivers will benefit from falling prices with every visit to the pump."
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration, gas demand decreased slightly from 8.86 million to 8.7 million barrels a day last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks remained flat at 223.5 million barrels a day. Lower gas demand, alongside declining oil prices, has contributed to pushing pump prices down.
Gasbuddy.com said the national average price of diesel dropped by 6.6 cents in the past week to $4.38 per gallon.