NASHVILLE — Gasoline remains in short supply at some stations after last week’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, though prices in many areas are stabilizing.
Tennessee’s average gas price jumped 18 cents last week to $2.90, with prices in the Tri-Cities among the highest in the state. The national average is the most expensive in six years at $3.04, AAA reported.
“The Southeast will continue to experience tight supply this week as terminals and gas stations are refueled,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, in a press release. “Over the weekend, gas prices started to stabilize, but are expected to fluctuate in the lead-up to Memorial Day weekend.”
Most expensive gas prices in the state
- Johnson City ($2.95)
- Nashville ($2.94)
- Kingsport-Bristol ($2.93)
Least expensive gas prices in the state
- Chattanooga ($2.82)
- Cleveland ($2.85)
- Jackson ($2.86)
What about oil?
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate crude increased by $1.55 to settle at $65.37, AAA reported. Market optimism that crude demand will recover, despite an uptick in coronavirus infection rates in some countries, helped to lift prices last week.
Prices increased after the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude oil inventory decreased by 400,000 barrels to 484.7 million barrels. If EIA’s next report shows another decrease in total domestic crude supply, crude prices could increase further.
Memorial Day travel
AAA forecasts 34 million Americans will take a road trip 50 miles or more from home from May 27 to May 31 to celebrate the unofficial kickoff to summer. That is a 52% increase compared to last summer, but nearly 9% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Regardless, motorists will be met with the most expensive gas prices since 2014.
“This is going to be an expensive summer for motorists,” McGee said. “However, we do not expect it to deter travelers from hitting the road. AAA finds that despite the higher pump prices, Americans still take their road trips but just may not travel as far as originally planned, or go to their planned destination and spend a little less.”