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Gasoline drops below $2 per gallon

KEVIN CASTLE • Jan 19, 2007 at 11:45 AM

Spring-like weather in January has sent gas prices falling, AAA East Tennessee public affairs specialist Art Powell said Friday.

"Warm weather is being experienced here in the U.S. and in Europe, which is helping in the decline (in gas prices)," Powell said.

"That is reducing demand, and supplies at refineries are strong. As long as we have warm weather and uninterrupted supplies, we should continue to see those prices decline further," Powell said. "The crude oil supply that comes into the country is usually being used this time of year more for conversion into heating oil. Since temperatures are up, more of that crude oil can be used for gasoline."

The AAA Fuel Price Finder, accessible at www.aaaet.com, showed Kingsport had the lowest price for unleaded fuel in the Tri-Cities, with a price of $1.97 a gallon.

Johnson City and Bristol both posted prices of $1.99 for regular unleaded during the monitoring period.

However, Powell said the market could see a price upswing at a moment's notice because of outside factors, such as an approaching wintry mix of weather forecast for East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

"If the cold snap lasts longer than a week or so, you will see more crude oil supplies being dedicated for heating oil, and that will see the inventories of gasoline start to see some decline. That could happen overnight, in some instances," Powell said.

According to Friday's figures, the average cost of filling a vehicle with a 15-gallon tank is $31.49, a decrease of $1.32 from last year.

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