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Gas prices fluctuate as coronavirus impacts crude oil market

Staff Report • Mar 2, 2020 at 10:30 PM

NASHVILLE — Gas prices have been fluctuating the last couple weeks, but that’s nothing new for this time of year, according to AAA.

Tennessee’s average gas price fell 2 cents last week to $2.21 after a slight increase the week before. Monday’s average price is 3 cents less than one month ago but the same as this time last year.

At $2.43, the national gas price average is just one penny more expensive than this time last year. Gas prices have not been cheaper year-over-year since before Thanksgiving last November, AAA reported.

“Healthy stock levels and cheaper crude prices have alleviated pump price pains,” said Megan Cooper, AAA spokesperson, in a press release. “However, maintenance season and the upcoming switchover to summer blend could break the downward trend in coming weeks, but we are also watching the impact of the coronavirus and what that could do to demand.”

Local averages

• Kingsport-Bristol ($2.18)

• Johnson City ($2.17)

Most expensive gas prices in the state

• Memphis ($2.26)

• Jackson ($2.25)

• Morristown ($2.24)

Least expensive gas prices in the state

• Cleveland ($2.06)

• Chattanooga ($2.09)

• Clarksville ($2.15)

What about oil?

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude decreased by $2.33 to settle at $44.76, AAA reported. Crude prices have not been this low since December 2018.

The significant decrease in crude prices has been led by the growing impact of the coronavirus. The market continues to worry that the impact of the virus will lead to a reduction in global economic growth and global travel, with crude demand expected to decrease.

Until it appears that the international public health threat from the virus decreases and China’s industrial sector recovers from the impact of the virus on production, crude prices are likely to continue facing downward pressure.

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

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