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Gas prices spiking as summer season set to kick off

Gas prices continue to rise as over 698,000 Tennesseans are forecast to hit the road for Memorial Day road trips this weekend. On average, gas prices are up eight cents compared to last week. The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $4.28 which is 43 cents more expensive than one month ago and $1.41 more than one year ago.

“Road trippers can expect to pay the most expensive gas prices on record for Memorial Day this weekend, ” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Unfortunately, due to a combination of tightening global oil supplies alongside strengthening demand, the unprecedented pain at the pump is likely to continue throughout the summer driving season.”

Quick Facts

  • 35% of Tennessee gas stations have prices below $4.25
  • The lowest 10% of pump prices are $4.11 for regular unleaded
  • The highest 10% of pump prices are $4.54 for regular unleaded

National Gas Prices

The national average for a gallon of gas has not fallen for nearly a month. Gasoline has either remained flat or risen every day since April 24 and has set a new record daily since May 10. That was the day gas eclipsed the previous record high of $4.33, set earlier this year on March 11. The national average for a gallon of gasoline is now $4.59 and all 50 states are above $4 per gallon.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 4.8 million barrels to 220.2 million barrels last week. Meanwhile, gasoline demand increased from 8.7 million barrels a day to 9 million barrels a day. Tighter supply and increased demand have pushed pump prices higher. This supply/demand dynamic and volatile crude prices will keep upward pressure on pump prices.

Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $4.59, which is 47 cents more than a month ago, and $1.56 more than a year ago.

National Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.02 to settle at $113.23 — nearly $3 per barrel higher than the closing price at the end of the previous week. Crude prices rose after EIA reported that domestic crude supply decreased by 3.4 million bbl to 420.8 million bbl. The current level is approximately 13.4 percent lower than during the second week of May 2021. Additionally, market optimism for China’s efforts to end some COVID-19 restrictions by June 1 helped to bolster the market, which has continued to worry that global crude demand will decline as a result of continuing restrictions. For this week, however, crude prices may decline amid heightened economic uncertainty as the likelihood of a recession increases. A recession would likely cause crude demand to drop amid decreased economic activity and as a result crude prices would decline.

Drivers can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Money-Saving Tips for Road Trippers

  • Leave early to avoid congestion and more time on the road.
  • Reduce food costs by packing snacks and water.
  • Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort. This limits driving and paying a la carte for entertainment and dining.
  • Compare gas prices with the free AAA Mobile app. Filling stations near airports and attractions often have the highest prices.
  • Determine how much you can expect to spend on gasoline during your trip by using AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator.
  • Use loyalty programs like the AAA membership, which provides discounted rates on hotels, dining, even gasoline.

Ways to Save on Gasoline

  • Combine errands to limit driving time.
  • Shop around for the best gas prices in your community.
  • Pay with cash. Some retailers charge extra per gallon for customers who pay with a credit card.
  • Remove excess weight in your vehicle. Every 100 pounds taken out of the vehicle improves fuel economy by 1-2 percent.
  • Drive conservatively. Aggressive acceleration and speeding reduces fuel economy.

Tennessee Regional Prices 

  • Most expensive metro markets – Jackson ($4.33), Memphis ($4.32), Nashville ($4.32)
  • Least expensive metro markets – Knoxville ($4.25), Chattanooga ($4.25), Morristown ($4.27)