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Pump prices surge across country

Staff Reports • Updated Apr 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Gas prices are rising across the country. 

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded jumped 7 cents in the past week. Sunday’s average of $2.39 was the highest since September 2015.

Also in the past seven days, gas prices rose 12 cents in Florida, 8 cents in Georgia and 7 cents in Tennessee. Florida’s average price of  $2.42 is the highest since August 2015. Georgia’s average price of $2.28 is the highest since October. Tennessee’s average of $2.14 is the highest since January.

“This is the type of volatility we’ve come to expect this time of year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “The major factors weighing on the market right now are supply and demand. People are beginning to drive more as the weather improves, causing an uptick in demand and a decline in gasoline inventories. Also, many refineries have begun producing and selling summer-blend fuels which are more expensive to produce. AAA forecasts the national average to peak around $2.70 this summer.”

The crude oil market has largely recovered after spending nearly three weeks under $50 a barrel. Friday’s daily settlement of $52.24 per barrel is the highest since March 7. Primary factors contributing to increased crude oil prices included the seasonal uptick of driving demand, continued uncertainty around an extension of OPEC production cuts and increased U.S. production. 

Oil prices also received a temporary boost last Friday, following the U.S. launch of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield base. Although Syria has little oil production, its location and alliances with other oil producing countries led to speculation about how further geopolitical unrest may affect global oil supply. Traders will keep a close eye on political dynamics of the Middle East and any further discussions between OPEC and non-OPEC producers. 

Tennessee gas prices rose an average of 7 cents; the 15th-largest weekly spike of any state in the country. Sunday’s state average of $2.14 was the highest since January.  

The most expensive metro markets in the state were Memphis at $2.17, Nashville at $2.16 and Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol at $2.10. The least expensive metro markets in the state were Clarksville/Hopkinsville at $2.09, Chattanooga at $2.10 and Knoxville at $2.10.

Florida gas prices rose 12 cents in the past week; the third-largest spike of any state in the country. Sunday’s state average of $2.42 was the highest since August 2015.  

Georgia gas prices rose 8 cents last week; the ninth-largest spike of any state in the country. Sunday’s state average of $2.28 was the highest since October.

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