Gas prices have declined, but summer increase likely

Gas prices have seen a gradual decline, but that doesn’t mean a summer increase isn’t just around the bend.

 

According to AAA, prices have dropped 14 of the past 16 days. On Sunday, gas prices in Georgia averaged $2.17, which is 2 cents less than last week and 1 cent less than a month ago. Last year it was $1.93. The Augusta area is one of the least expensive Georgia markets with average prices of $2.07.


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Experts warn that the decline won’t last..

“Gas prices are falling now, but fundamentals are pointing higher,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. “Gulf Coast refineries are moving into their peak maintenance season, causing them to reduce gasoline production at a time when demand is slowly rising. This seasonal trend could push gas prices 25-50 cents higher by June unless oil prices do not recover as expected.”

Although prices were lower this time last year, the mid-March gas report in Georgia has been all over the board the past several years, ranging from under $2 in 2016 to nearly $4 per gallon in 2012.

“While some states did see minor increases, the bulk of the country saw prices moving lower at a time of the year that such a move is about as likely as a 16th seed team winning the NCAA tournament,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said of the recent decrease. “While the drop at the pump is welcome, we’re nearly guaranteed to see prices rebound well in time for Memorial Day and the start of the summer driving season. For now, there’s a minor tug of war going on with oil prices - a move higher or lower in the week ahead could determine the direction of prices the next weeks or longer.”

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Reach Bianca Cain Johnson at (706) 823-3486

or bianca.johnson@augustachronicle.com.

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