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Motorists to see cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in nearly two decades

Staff Report • May 19, 2020 at 8:30 PM

NASHVILLE — Even though gas prices are rising across the country, Memorial Day travelers will still see the cheapest prices for the holiday in nearly 20 years.

After breaking a 10-week decline last week, Tennessee gas prices continue to inch higher. The state average of $1.63 is a 2 cent increase over last week and a 3 cent increase over last month. Even so, Tennesseans are experiencing gas prices that are 92 cents cheaper than this time last year, AAA reported.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kickoff to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Megan Cooper, AAA spokesperson, in a press release. “Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.”

Quick facts

• Tennessee is the 10th least expensive market in the nation.

• In the Volunteer State, 23% of gas stations have prices below $1.50.

• The lowest 10% of pump prices are $1.42 for regular unleaded.

• The highest 10% of pump prices are $1.95 for regular unleaded.

Most expensive gas prices in the state

• Nashville ($1.75)

• Jackson ($1.64)

• Chattanooga ($1.61)

Least expensive gas prices in the state

• Kingsport ($1.52)

• Johnson City ($1.55)

• Memphis ($1.56)

Across the nation

Pump prices continue to increase across the country, with nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on the week, on average by 4 cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.

The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2 a gallon was 17 years ago in 2003. That year motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill up. Gas prices this year won’t be as cheap as 2003, AAA reported, but the national average is a dollar cheaper than one year ago.

What about oil?

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas intermediate crude increased by $1.87 cents to settle at $29.43 per barrel, AAA reported. Crude prices increased last week amid growing market optimism as more states reopen and demand for gasoline has grown in recent weeks.

For this week, crude prices may continue to rise if the market believes that the 9.7-million-barrel-per-day production reduction agreement for May and June between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major crude exporters, including Russia, is helping to rebalance the global oil market.

To view daily gas price averages, visit gasprices.aaa.com.

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