A published report issued last week says a new gasoline refinery has not been constructed in the past three decades.
Gasoline supplies choked by a surge in demand have caused prices to continue to climb, although Tri-Cities gas prices remain below the national average, according to AAA East Tennessee.
During a recent spot check of gas prices, AAA East Tennessee showed the average price for gas in the Tri-Cities at $2.76, nine cents below the national average of $2.85 a gallon.
While that national price fell one penny from last week, AAA public relations specialist Don Lindsey says that is no reason to get excited.
"That's good news, and it may - or may not - represent the springtime peak in prices," said Lindsey.
"National gasoline inventories are still lower than comfortable based on the demand. The country is using 9.4 million barrels a day and producing 8.7 million barrels."
Bloomberg reported last week that gas prices have risen 33 percent in the past 11 weeks, a plateau not reached since Hurricane Katrina wiped out a few refineries and oil rigs in the South.
The media source also reported that the amount of money being spent for gasoline in U.S. households is closely approaching early 1980s levels as the gas market adjusted from backlash from the late 1970s energy crisis.
If a person has a vehicle with a 12-gallon tank, it will cost them approximately $10 more to fill up this summer, according to data complied by Valero Energy Corp. of San Antonio, if prices approach $4 per gallon.
For a person with a 34-gallon capacity tank, such as those on large SUVs, they can expect a $40 increase per fill-up, the group said.