This story was updated March 5, 2018, at 10:55 p.m.
After a month of declining gas prices, March could usher in higher prices at the pump again this year, oil industry analysts predict.
Average retail gasoline prices in Chattanooga rose by 0.5 cents per gallon last week to $2.23 per gallon, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga released Monday. Chattanooga gas prices are still 13.4 cents per gallon less than a month ago and remain 29 cents below the U.S. average.
But heading into the spring season when heavier driving tends to push up fuel prices, regular gas in Chattanooga is priced 20.9 cents per gallon above the same time a year ago, GasBuddy.com said.
"Despite the rough ride crude oil received in the latter half of last week, gasoline prices managed a rally, pushing the national average for the week into positive territory for the first time in a month," said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "March comes in like a lamb but goes out like a lion. Oil aside, there are early indications that gasoline prices are about to strengthen helped by a noticeable number of refineries out for maintenance and a stronger demand outlook than we saw last year."
The American Automobile Association also predicts gas prices will rise this spring.
Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokesperson, said gas prices could be priced as much as 40 cents a gallon higher this year compared with last spring.
"Motorists will start to see gas prices make their spring spike in early April," Casselano said. "That is when refinery maintenance is expected to be wrapped-up and the switch over to more expensive summer- blend gasoline kicks in along with warmer weather and typical demand increases. Consumers can expect prices to likely increase throughout April, May and into the start of summer."