Chattanooga gas prices fell by their biggest weekly amount in four months last week and are likely to continue to decline this month, according to a report released today by the online gas price reporting service GasBuddy.com.
The average price of regular gas in Chattanooga dropped another 6.2 cents per gallon last week to $2.41 per gallon, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 local stations.
Gas prices in Chattanooga are down 9.5 cents per gallon in the past month and are now 11.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. Local prices at the pump average 44 cents per gallon less than the U.S. average price for regular fuel of $2.85 a gallon.
The cheapest gas in the Chattanooga area today is at the Sam's Club on Lee Highway, which is selling regular gas for $2.30 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.
"Relief at the pump has indeed begun across the country with a majority of states seeing average prices decline versus a week ago, giving solid evidence the worst is likely behind us," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "However, the potential lightning rod of a U.S./China trade deal is perhaps the only prospect that could bring a return to higher prices."
Oil prices climbed Monday after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend. Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said there was "significant damage" to the two tankers, as those vessels tried to cross into the Persian Gulf early Sunday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In early morning trading today, West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery rose by 90 cents, or 1.5%, to $62.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after a loss of 0.7% loss on Friday.
But absent disruptions in oil deliveries or refining activity, DeHaan said gas prices should continue to decline as summer approaches.
"For most Americans, I think we'll slowly all join in on the falling prices and by June, the national average may stand 5-20 cents lower than today, provided there's no trade deal with the U.S. and China, whereas a trade deal could lead to a second hurrah at the pump," he said.
The prospect of a trade war with China, the world's second biggest economy which President Trump imposed additional tariffs on last week, is worrying investors and pushed oil prices lower last week.
"The escalation in the trade war has put a return in global growth worries, which would translate to softer crude demand," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said last week.