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Gas prices still on the rise, AAA says

Holly Viers • Jan 29, 2018 at 9:30 PM

NASHVILLE – Unfortunately for motorists, prices at the pump are still climbing, and they may continue to do so for the next few weeks.

Tennessee gas prices rose 4 cents last week, bringing Sunday’s state average to $2.40, 15 cents more than a month ago and 32 cents more than this time last year, according to AAA.

Last week, stock market gasoline prices reached levels not seen since Hurricane Harvey passed over the Gulf Coast, causing refinery outages and higher gas prices.

Despite this trend, AAA reported that Tennessee still has the 10th lowest state average in the nation.

Most expensive gas prices in the state

• Nashville ($2.42)

• Jackson ($2.42)

• Kingsport-Bristol ($2.41)

Least expensive gas prices in the state

• Clarksville-Hopkinsville ($2.36)

• Chattanooga ($2.37)

• Morristown ($2.38)

What about oil prices?

The price of oil climbed another $3 last week to set a new multiyear high, AAA reported. Friday's closing price of $66.14 per barrel is the highest daily settlement since December 2014.

High oil prices are preventing gas prices from taking their seasonal winter retreat. Oil prices have always played a significant role in what motorists pay at the pump. In fact, about half the price of gasoline is steered by the cost of crude oil, according to AAA.

Looking forward

“There appears to be a recipe for even higher gas prices brewing, and the rising price of oil is just one of the key ingredients,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, in a press release. “During the next few months, refineries will randomly conduct maintenance on their equipment and switch to a more-expensive-to-produce summer blend gasoline. During their downtime, these refineries reduce the amount of gasoline they put out into the market.

“Historically, that has caused gas prices to rise 30-75 cents, as a result. It's unclear exactly how the market will absorb these shifting fundamentals, but motorists may want to be ready. One remaining beacon of hope is that domestic oil production would ramp up sooner than later and end the upward momentum on oil prices.”

To view daily gas price averages, visit GasPrices.AAA.com.

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