Nov. 26–Updated at 5:50 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, with more information.
As the owner of 9-truck shipping company in Blue Ridge, Georgia, Randall Caylor says he has plenty to be thankful for when he fills up his vehicles after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
While filling his work car at the Ooltewah RaceTrac station for $1.98 per gallon, Caylor estimated Monday he is saving $300 a month compared with what he paid in October for fuel.
“This has been busy a month and I’m loving these prices,” Caylor said. “I hope they go even lower.”
Caylor and other motorists may get their wish, according to petroleum experts who expect lower oil prices and the after-holiday driving decline to push prices still lower at the pump.
Despite a rebound in oil prices Monday, fuel prices remain the lowest in nearly a year and helped cut the price of regular gas at a handful of stations in Ooltewah and Lookout Valley below $2 for the first time in more than seven months on Monday.
The stations are among those in 18 states in the U.S. today where gas prices fell below $2 a gallon following the busy Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, according to GasBuddy.com
The online gas price tracking service said Monday that the average price of regular gas in the Chattanooga area fell by nearly 9 cents a gallon in the past week to $2.16 — the lowest of any major metro area in Tennessee and 37 cents per gallon below the U.S. average of $2.53.
The drop in local gas prices pushed fuel prices 1.3 cents per gallon below the same time a year ago in Chattanooga, marking the first time in 2018 that gas prices were lower than a year ago. Prices at the pump were still higher than this time two years ago when gas averaged $1.85 a gallon or three years ago when gas averaged only $1.80 a gallon at this time of the year.
“The $1.99 club has seen its membership swell in the last week with the number of states with stations priced at that level or lower spiking to 18and the good news is it won’t end there,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil prices have seen another weekly rout, with WTI crude oil shedding over $6 per barrel or some 14 percent to close the week at a mere $50 per barrel.”
DeHaan said Trump Administration’s reluctance to punish Saudi Arabia for it’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi “is likely leading Saudi Arabia to push against large cuts in crude oil production, fearing potential fallout from Trump.”
Oil prices posted their biggest 1-day rise Monday in eight weeks, but DeHaan still expects motorists in most states will likely see further drops in gas prices,” saving U.S. motorists an average of $125 million a day compared prices at the pump paid at the start of October.
According to a separate survey by the AAA Auto Club, the cheapest average gas prices in Tennessee are in Cleveland followed by Chattanooga. Gas prices in Southeast Tennessee average 16 cents per gallon less than the statewide average, AAA said.
Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the AAA -Auto Club Group, said just as retailers cut prices on Black Friday, crude oil prices dropped by more than 10 percent last week. That should continue to lower prices at the pump this week.
“Tennessee motorists should see gas prices drop another 5-15 cents,” Jenkins said Monday. “The state average will likely log a new 2018-low within the next 10 days. These falling prices are mostly due to record crude production rates from the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia. Unless the oil market quickly recovers, these low gas prices should hang around through the end of the year.”
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