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some text Monce Garcia takes advantage of recent gas price decreases as she buys fuel for her vehicle at the Hi Tech Fuels station on Brainerd Road in Chattanooga on Tuesday.
some text Fuel price comparison.

Kerri Sholl filled up her Volvo sport-utility vehicle Tuesday morning with the cheapest gas in Chattanooga - and she knew it.

"Yeah, I have an app," said Sholl, of Ringgold, Ga., as she stood near the pump at Sam's Club on Lee Highway. Gas cost $2.58 a gallon for warehouse club members there. According to GasBuddy.com, that was the best price in the city. The Costco Wholesale store in Fort Oglethorpe had the same $2.58-per-gallon price for its members Tuesday afternoon.

Gas prices in Chattanooga are the lowest since 2010, according to the AAA fuel gauge price survey, falling to an average of $2.75 a gallon, or 36 cents a gallon less than the same time a year ago and down $1.23 from the 2008 peak.

AAA predicts gas prices are likely to fall even further as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries isn't able to limit its members' output, U.S. crude oil production remains high and U.S. demand is limited due to such factors as improved gas mileage of vehicles on the road and people driving less.

"That's good," Mary Phou of Chattanooga said as she filled up at Sam's Club. "I didn't realize how cheap it is."

Drivers aren't the only ones pumped about lower gas prices.

Americans' discretionary income may get a $40 billion boost, according to a Morgan Stanley report released last week, if U.S. gas prices average $3 a gallon in the last three months of 2014, down from an average $3.37 per gallon in the fourth quarter of last year.

That's because a penny's reduction in gas prices translates into $1 billion in Americans' pockets. So $0.37 less per gallon, on average, generates close to $40 billion, nationwide.

"Such a move would free up more than $40 billion in consumer spending power," the report's authors wrote. "Gains in income, even if much of it is saved, will likely be expressed in the form of generosity with more and/or higher-dollar gifts under the tree this year."

Lower gas prices have put a dent in sales of hybrid and electric cars, according to some news outlets.

That hasn't been the case at Mountain View Nissan in Chattanooga, which sells the Nissan Leaf, an electric car.

"We sell every one that we can get," the dealership's E-Commerce Manager Monica Parker said. "We have a waiting list of customers."

She doesn't think the environmentally minded customers who buy the Leaf will want gasoline-burning cars again just because gas prices have slid.

Tennessee has the nation's third-lowest average regular prices at the pump, according to GasBuddy.com, behind South Carolina, which ranks second, and Missouri, with the cheapest gas at $2.76 per gallon. The most expensive state is Hawaii, at $4.08 a gallon, followed by Alaska and California.

While Sholl shops for cheap gas, she doesn't let higher gas prices slow her down.

"I go, go, go regardless how much the gas is," she said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

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