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Hot and humid weather in August should keep air conditioners running a lot, but Chattanoogans won't have to sweat as much next month over the price of electricity to keep their cool.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is cutting the price of electricity again in August due to lower fuel costs for producing power during the slower economy spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. TVA said the fuel cost portion of consumer electric bills will be one of the lowest since TVA began calculating its fuel cost adjustment in 2006.

"The overall system average fuel rate for August is approximately 24% lower than the three-year average August fuel cost," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said. "The lower fuel rate is primarily due to lower sales associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and lower purchased power rates (compared to the 3 year average)."

For the typical Chattanooga household using 1,295 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, August power will be down $1.13, or 0.8% cheaper, than in the current month. Eletricity prices by EPB will average $2.88, or 2.1%, less than in August 2019.

Chattanooga motorists are also getting some reprieve at the gas pump when they refill their vehicles as the coronavirus continues to limit travel and economic activity, supressing demand and keeping prices down.

Chattanooga gas prices fell 2.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.85 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations. Gas prices in Chattanooga are 9.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 48.4 cents per gallon below their year-ago level.

Chattanooga gas prices, on average, are also 32 cents a gallon below the U.S. average, according to GasBuddy.com.

"While GasBuddy data showed a small rebound in gasoline demand, oil prices have again failed to break out, leading to yet another week of little change at the pump," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "The V-shaped recovery in gasoline demand has been put on hold for nearly all of July as coronavirus cases surged, but once we recover from that and we see demand show several weeks of recovery, we'll likely see gas prices begin to tick higher. For now, however, that gives motorists more time to fill up without having to worry about big jumps in prices."

Statewide, another survey by the American Automobile Association showed Tennessee prices at the pump fell by 2 cents a gallon in the past year.

"Pump prices are mostly pushing cheaper across the state as gasoline demand wanes over the past few weeks," said Megan Cooper, spokesperson, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Gas prices are likely to fluctuate throughout the rest of the summer due to COVID-19 concerns, but healthy supply levels should help keep gas prices cheaper than last summer."

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

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