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Where is gas the cheapest

Among 455 cities across the United States, gas prices are among the lowest in the nation in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tenn. The cities with the cheapest gas tend to be those closest to oil fields in the Gulf or along pipelines, and in states with lower gas taxes. The lowest average gas prices for regular fuel are in:

1. Lawton, Okla. — $1.90 per gallon

2. Rock Hill, S.C. — $1.90 per gallon

3. Tulsa, Okla. — $1.97 per gallon

4. Greenville, S.C. — $1.98 per gallon

5. Monroe, La. — $1.98 per gallon

6. South Haven, Miss. — $1.99 per gallon

7. Aiken, S.C. — $1.99 per gallon

8. Spartanburg, S.C. — $1.99 per gallon

9. Florence, S.C — $2 per gallon

10. Cleveland, Tenn. — $2 per gallon

11. Fort Smith, Ark. — $2 per gallon

12. Chattanooga — $2 per gallon

Source: GasBuddy.com survey of service stations.

 

As a medical equipment salesman, J.B. Glass typically travels nearly 1,200 miles a week across Georgia.

But Glass said he usually fills up close to his Signal Mountain home before he ventures out of Tennessee to take advantage of some of the cheapest gas prices in the country.

"These prices are a lot better than Georgia and save me a lot of money," Glass said Monday as he filled up his Honda Pilot 4WD with regular gas priced at $1.91 per gallon at the Signal Mountain RaceWay. "I usually fill up four or five times a week so I try to buy gas locally when I can."

Chattanooga motorists are enjoying some of the cheapest prices in the country, with the price of regular gas in Chattanooga averaging 33 cents per gallon less than the U.S. average and 10 cents a gallon below the statewide average in Tennessee, according to service station surveys done for the online gas price service, GasBuddy.com.

Gas prices fell in Chattanooga for a third consecutive week last week, dropping another 7 cents per gallon to an average $2.01 per gallon, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga. In nearby Cleveland, gas averaged only $2 a gallon.

Such prices are nearly 15 percent below the national average and 8.1 cents per gallon below a month ago.

Typically, gas prices trend higher in spring as summer approaches and driving picks up, fueling more demand for fuel. But with oil still in plentiful supply — and U.S. production of oil increasing — gas prices are the cheapest they've been in Chattanooga for this time of year in more than six years.

"Gasoline prices in much of the country are eroding at a time of year when such a downward fall is anything but par for the course," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. "This year's usual spring rally has been the weakest in recent memory."

Chattanooga gas prices are 17 percent lower than they were two years ago at this time of the year and are 43 percent below where they were five years ago.

Overall, U.S. consumers save about $1.5 billion for every penny the price of gas falls, according to Gluskin Sheff & Associates.

Oil prices rebounded slightly Monday after Saudi Arabia's energy minister said an OPEC-led production cut scheduled to end in June would likely be extended to cover all of the year. Khalid Al-Falih said oil markets were rebalancing after years of oversupply and he still expects OPEC to reach an agreement to cut production during the first half of the year to be extended.

In the commodities market, benchmark U.S. crude rose 21 cents Monday to settle at $46.43 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 24 cents to settle at $49.34 a barrel.

But U.S. drilling also continued to pick up last week, with the rig count climbing by six more rigs to 703. Since a low point in May 2016, U.S. producers have added 387 oil rigs, Goldman Sachs said.

"The recent drop in crude oil is posing a much more serious threat and OPEC must soon decide how much market share it will sacrifice to keep oil prices higher," DeHaan said. "Clearly the last cut just isn't enough."

DHaan said the weak state of the oil industry creates a market "perfect for motorists planning summer road trips."

Chattanooga and Cleveland prices are lower, in part, because Tennessee's 21.4-cents per gallon gas tax is the ninth lowest of all states in the country.

The Legislature last month adopted the first increase in the state's gas tax in nearly 30 years, raising the state tax levy by another 6 cents per gallon over the next three years. Even with the increase, Tennessee will still be below the median tax rate of 29.4 cents per gallon nationwide.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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