Cheapest cities for gas Sunday
1. Cleveland, Tennessee - $2.07 a gallon
2. Lafayette, Louisiana - $2.08 a gallon
3. Monroe, Louisiana - $2.09 a gallon
4. South Haven-Olive Branch, Mississippi - $2.09 a gallon
5. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas - $2.09.5 a gallon
Oil prices spiked Tuesday on world markets and pushed up gas prices in what was America's cheapest market for fuel by more than 19 cents a gallon in response to Saturday's attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities that knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply and halted output of more than half of Saudi Arabia's daily exports.
According to surveys by GasBuddy.com, Cleveland, Tennessee boasted the lowest price for gas of any metro area in America on Sunday, with a handful of stations selling regular gas below $2 a gallon and the citywide average priced at only $2.07 a gallon. But GasBuddy.com is reporting Monday that fuel prices in Cleveland have jumped an average of 19.4 cents per gallon to an average of $2.25.9 per gallon.
"While gas prices have drifted lower for the ninth straight week, all eyes now turn to Saudi Arabia after an attack that knocked out over 5% of global oil production and how oil prices are likely to jump as a result," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
Crude oil futures on Monday morning initially jumped nearly 20 percent, the biggest intra-day percentage gain since the Gulf War in 1991, to a session high of $71.95 a barrel at the opening, while U.S. crude futures surged more than 15 percent to a session high of $63.34 a barrel. Such prices are the highest since May.
But ahead of the oil price jump on world markets, local gas prices on Sunday were the lowest in six months and 43 cents a gallon below the U.S. average, according to GasBuddy.com.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Chattanooga was priced Sunday at $2.02 a gallon, while the most expensive was $2.59 a gallon. Gas prices in Chattanooga on Sunday averaged $2.12 a gallon — down 8.2 cents per gallon from a month ago and 35.4 cents per gallon below the prices of a year ago.
So far Monday, GasBuddy.com said prices in Chattanooga have remained relatively stable despite the jump in gas prices in neighboring Cleveland.
"While there is some good news that motorists should not expect a sudden and major uptick in gas prices, there may be a minor impact beginning mid-week and continuing until Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, Aramco, is able to restore all production," DeHaan said. "Even after oil production levels return to normal, there is an undeniable factor that will now forever impact oil prices — and that is that Saudi Arabia's reliability and stability is no longer guaranteed, and this missile strike is evidence that perhaps one of the world's most stable oil producers may no longer be seen as stable as they were prior to this event."