Gas prices fell last week for the first time since December, the Energy Information Administration reported Monday. For the first time since January, the weekly average for a gallon of gas has retreated.
Gas prices steadily climbed since mid-January and broke records, making February’s average of $3.65 the highest in history, according to AAA-The Auto Club Group. Oil prices also fell last week after reports of poor manufacturing data in China and Europe created concern of a decrease in global fuel demand.
The value of the dollar also increased against foreign currencies and helped push oil prices lower. In addition, the Energy Information Administration reported U.S. crude inventories rose more than a million barrels last week.
“We’re starting to see the inflated price of oil and gas drop to more appropriate levels given the economic circumstances,” said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “This is the first week since January that gas prices have decreased. Hopefully this trend continues throughout March. However, March is the peak time for refinery maintenance to occur which could keep upward pressure on gas prices.
“Motorists should see gas prices ease back a little more this week.”
The Associated Press reports that the price dip is due in part to investors bracing for the fiscal impact of the budget cuts, although the stock market hasn’t reacted at all to the cuts. Cheaper oil does mean cheaper gas.
A barrel of oil closed Friday at $90.68 on the New York Mercantile Exchange — $2.45 less than the week prior.
While that may be little comfort to motorists fed up with high gas prices, at least it marks the first time that gas has retreated in price in the federal agency’s weekly survey since Dec. 17. Back then, the price averaged $3.254 a gallon.
Tennessee’s average of $3.58 decreased 5 cents from last week. A month ago, the average price of regular unleaded in the state was $3.62, while one year ago the average price was $3.59.
On Tuesday, a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.599 at Woodard’s Market in Lynchburg, while it was $3.599 at the Jiffy Mart at the state Route 55 and Route 82.
At Woodard’s, if there is a price change it typically happens on Wednesday, while Jiffy Mart typically adjusts its prices based on fuel delivery closer to the weekend.
According to <www.tennesseegasprices.com>, gas was approximately a dime cheaper in Shelbyville and almost 12 cents cheaper in Tullahoma, while it was about a nickel higher in Fayetteville.
The most expensive gas in Monday’s EIA report continues to be on the West Coast, the only region where it tops an average of $4 a gallon. It was $4.06 a gallon there. And the cheapest is the Rocky Mountain states, where gas averaged $3.476 a gallon.