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Chattanooga gas prices rose another 9.2 cents per gallon in the past week to the highest price in more than a year as global oil prices continued to move higher with more travel and gas consumption despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in Chattanooga increased Monday to $2.21 a gallon — the highest since January 2020 before the pandemic hit the economy, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. Gas prices in Chattanooga stand 10.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, although fuel prices in Chattanooga remain 29 cents a gallon below the U.S. average of $2.50 per gallon for regular gas.

The Chattanooga area has half of the 10 lowest-priced gas stations in all of Tennessee, including $2-per-gallon regular fuel at the Marathon, Circle K and Murphy USA stations in Soddy-Daisy, $2.01-per-gallon gas at Sam's Club on Lee Highway, and $2.02-per-gallon gas at the Exxon in Soddy-Daisy.

The cheapest gas in Tennessee on Monday was at Sam's Club in Memphis where regular gas sold for $1.95 a gallon — the only gas station in Tennessee with gas priced below $2 a gallon.

Although gas is cheaper in Chattanooga, fuel prices appear headed higher almost everywhere.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said U.S. demand for gasoline rose by more than 2% last week and is likely to increase even more next month as the spring travel season approaches and the pandemic may start to lessen in its severity.

."The rise in gas prices continues to be driven by improving demand in the United States and has nothing to do with who sits in the White House, but rather how many motorists are filling their tanks on a daily basis, and from that data, it's no guess, but prices will continue to trend higher," De Haan said. "This situation will last as long as OPEC continues to restrain their oil production, creating the situation we're in where demand is recovering faster than demand."

De Haan predicts gasoline prices will rise another 10 to 50 cents per gallon by this spring.

Crude oil prices rose another 1.8% Monday as frigid temperatures boosted demand and threatened some supplies from Texas where snow was limiting some travel.

WTI crude futures rose Monday to $60.53 and Brent crude was up 1.2% to $63.20 — the highest level in 13 months.

A blast of cold weather boosted demand for power and fuel, while snow and ice conditions threatened to limit the production and distribution of oil supplies in parts of Texas.

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