The state average declined for the 24th consecutive day Sunday, for a total discount of 9 cents during that time.
The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Tennessee was $2.095 Sunday, 24 cents less than the national average, according to AAA, in which data is collected from credit card swipes and direct feeds from 120,000 gas stations nationwide, in cooperation with OPIS and Wright Express. Gas prices were only 4.5 cents more than this time last year.
The most expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Knoxville at $2.12, Nashville at $2.12 and Memphis at $2.10. The least expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Chattanooga at $2.02, Clarksville-Hopkinsville at $2.06 and Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol at $2.07.
“This unseasonable pump price plunge continued through the weekend, but shouldn’t last much longer,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “Although gas prices could slip a little lower this week, rising oil and gasoline futures prices have already caused that downward shift to stall in some markets. As we get closer to Memorial Day, the market will continue to be influenced by crude prices, refinery production rates and gasoline inventories as key indicators that will steer retail prices into the summer.”
Energy prices pushed higher last week following updated EIA data showing increased demand and the biggest one-week drawdown in crude stockpiles since December. This shift in fundamentals sent oil and gasoline futures prices high enough to likely cutoff downward momentum of prices at the pump. Oil prices settled at $47.84 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday – an increase of $1.62 from the week before.
Meanwhile, gasoline futures prices settled at their highest price in two weeks. The energy market will continue to be swayed by supply and demand data released by the EIA. The outcome of an OPEC meeting later this month on whether to extend or modify production cuts will also have a major impact on the direction of prices.
U.S. crude stocks dropped 1 percent, the largest weekly decline since the first week of December. Inventories currently sit at 522.5 million barrels – the lowest amount since the end of February.
Refinery utilization rates dropped by nearly two percentage points, hitting the lowest efficiency levels in about a month. Gasoline demand grew by 2.7 percent compared to the previous week, but remained 2.4 percent below year ago levels.
Domestic crude production soared past the 9.3 million-barrels-per-day mark. Goldman Sachs predicts levels could exceed 10 million barrels per day in the second quarter of 2018. Gasoline production rose to the highest level since December last week.