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Tennessee gas prices drift lower

Staff Reports • Updated Aug 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Prices at the pump held steady, declining only fractions of a penny last weekend. 

Tennessee gas prices averaged $2.15 Sunday. The state average was 1 cent more than last week, and 24 cents more than last year.

The most expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Memphis at $2.21, Nashville at $2.16 and Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol at $2.14. The least expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Chattanooga at $2.08, Clarksville-Hopkinsville at $2.08 and Knoxville at $2.13.

“Pump prices are moving slightly lower as refineries keep the market well supplied with gasoline,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “Gasoline supplies are outpacing demand as we enter the final weeks of the summer travel season. This should prevent any major gains in gas prices, unless oil prices rise in response to unexpected disruptions in supply due to international conflict, refinery issues or a hurricane.”

Gasoline demand is on par with this time last year, yet gasoline supply levels were 2 percent stronger. Refiners are at record highs, thanks to favorable profit margins. As a result, gasoline inventories swelled, and crude stocks dropped, according to the most recent supply report from the Energy Information Administration for the week of Aug. 4. Commercial crude oil supplies slipped for the fifth consecutive week, hitting the lowest level since October.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil averaged $49.11 last week; 40 cents less than the week before. Meanwhile, the price for gasoline on the New York Mercantile Exchange finished the week 10 cents less than the four-month high reached two weeks ago. 

The highest national average price for gasoline, so far this year, was April 21 at $2.42; the lowest was July 5 at $2.23. The highest average price in Tennessee, so far this year, was April 20 at $2.18; the lowest was July 5 at $1.99.

The national average for gasoline was $2.23 per gallon from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2016. The national average fell from $2.38 in June, to as low as $2.12 in August. So far this summer, gas prices averaged $2.30 per gallon since June 1. 

The Tennessee average for gasoline was $2.03 per gallon from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2016. The state average fell from $2.20 in June, to as low as $1.88 in early August. So far this summer, gas prices averaged $2.06 per gallon since June 1. 

Gasoline prices declined in line with the falling price of crude. Daily West Texas Intermediate settlements dropped from $51.23 in June, to as low as $39.51 in early August. This summer, oil prices averaged $46.45 per barrel, after ranging from $42.53-$50.17.

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