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Georgia gas prices jump six cents

May 21, 2018--7:12 a.m.

NEWS RELEASE

As the national average continues to push toward $3 a gallon, gas prices in the southeastern United States are among the lowest in the country. Sunday's national average of $2.92 is 5 cents more than a week ago and 57 cents more than this time last year.

As of Sunday, gas prices averaged above $3/gal in 14 states. The majority of them are in the northeast and western United States.

Georgia gas prices increased 6 cents during the past week. Sunday's state average of $2.78 is the most expensive daily average in more than three years (November 2014).

Georgia motorists are paying 59 cents per gallon more than this time last year. It now costs $42 to fill an average-size tank of gasoline - an increase of nearly $9 from a year ago.

The most expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Atlanta ($2.81), Brunswick ($2.80), and Athens ($2.79)
The least expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Augusta-Aiken ($2.68), Columbus ($2.68), and Warner Robins ($2.69)
Rising crude costs, switchover to more-expensive-to-produce gasoline by the federal deadline on June 1, tighter supplies and robust gasoline demand continue to help lift pump prices across the nation.

"Current fundamentals will likely lead gas prices higher before the Memorial Day weekend," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Regardless of higher prices at the pump, AAA still forecasts the most holiday road trippers in more than a dozen years. Those with smaller gasoline budgets will find other ways to finance their travel plans, like cutting back on discretionary expenses like shopping or dining out." 

Crude oil is $20 more than a year ago, raising the cost of producing gasoline. Oil prices reached a new 2018-high of $71.49 per barrel on Thursday, becoming the highest daily settlement since November 2014.

One significant reason for higher crude prices is tightening global oil supplies. After being oversupplied for several years, AAA's partners at OPIS believe global demand will exceed global supplies by about a million barrels per day in the middle-third of this year. In addition, the average family is expected to pay a total of $200 more for gasoline this summer than last year, and $250 more than summer 2016. Because of the tightening supply market, OPIS believes oil prices could reach as high as $90 per barrel before the end of the year. While that high is not guaranteed, gas prices would be 50 cents higher, if it happened.

Upward pressure on oil and gasoline markets continued last week, after the EIA's weekly report revealed declines in fuel inventories, despite growth in domestic production.

Crude oil inventories declined 0.3 percent, and is 17 percent below last year's levels
Gasoline inventories dropped 1.6 percent and remains 3.6 percent below last year's levels
Gasoline demand fell by 2.5 percent, yet remains 2.8 percent above last year
Crude oil production rose by 0.2 percent and remains about 15 percent higher than a year ago
Gasoline production increased 4.6 percent on the week and is about 2 percent above year-ago levels
Finished motor gasoline exports surged nearly 50 percent from the week before, reaching 925,000 barrels per day
Crude oil exports reached a record-setting 2.57 million barrels per day - after soaring 37 percent from the week before

The surge in exports is attributed to growth in domestic crude production, which hit a record high last week, and Congress and the Obama Administration lifting the 40-year crude export band in 2015. Amid rising global demand and reduced output from OPEC and its partners, including Russia, the U.S. has been able to sell more crude to foreign buyers.