The average price of gasoline in Chattanooga fell below $2 a gallon last week for the first time this year as cheaper global oil prices continued to push prices down at the pump.
Gasoline prices in Chattanooga fell an average of 7.6 cents in the past week, dropping to $1.97 a gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. Fuel prices have plunged by 41.5 cents per gallon in the past month and are now at their lowest average level in Chattanooga since the summer of 2017, GasBuddy.com figures show.
The three cheapest gas stations for regular gas anywhere in Tennessee, Georgia or Alabama Monday were all in Hamilton County. The cheapest gas was in Ooltewah at the Mapco station on Lee Highway, where regular gas was priced at $1.82 per gallon. Mapco and BP stations in Red Bank were selling regular gas Monday at $1.83 a gallon.
"I never thought I would see gas priced this low again in my lifetime," Chattanooga motorist Dewayne Layne said Monday as he filled up his Nissan Titan truck with regular gas priced at $1.82 a gallon in Ooltewah. "But I'm glad I did. This is great."
Tennessee was among 27 states Monday with stations selling regular gas priced below $2 a gallon.Nationwide, the average price of regular gas dropped by 2.7 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $2.41 per gallon.
"Retail prices continue to catch up to the low price of oil," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "While the going has been good at most gas pumps, OPEC countries did agree to curb oil production, but the cut was smaller than we had expected, and for a shorter duration than anticipated, resulting in a small upward move in oil, one that may not immediately curb the declines. We appear poised to see the national average drop perhaps at least one more week."
A separate survey by AAA Auto Club South said average gas prices in Tennessee have declined for 59 consecutive days, dropping by 52 cents per gallon from where they were in late October.
"Gas prices in Tennessee could drop another 5-8 cents this week, but should level off soon," Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group, said. "Pump prices are close to catching up with the recent crude price plunge."
Despite the production cut agreed to by OPEC members on Friday, oil prices fell another 3 percent on Monday, echoing the weakness in global stock markets.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude ended trading Monday down $1.61 per barrel, or 3.1 percent, to $51 a barrel. Unless reversed, that could bring even lower prices at local gas stations in coming days.
Economists estimate that every 1 cent decline in a gallon of gasoline, extended over a year, saves consumers about $1.1 billion a year in spending on gasoline.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.