During the past week, the state average dropped 5 cents, with Sunday’s state average standing at $2.34 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. Still, gas prices throughout the state are about 34 cents more than they were this time last year.
Some of the most expensive gas is in the Tri-Cities, with Johnson City’s prices averaging around $2.37 as of Monday. Some of the least expensive gas is in Knoxville and Chattanooga, at $2.30 a gallon.
But the recent drop in gas prices might not last, according to AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.
"Gas prices declined as forecast, based on significant gains in both oil and gasoline production in the United States," Jenkins said in a press release. "Although motorists may see additional discounts at the pump this week, this downward trend has a limit. AAA expects gas prices will shoot up 20-30 cents between March and May, as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance and switch to summer-blend gasoline."
Spring refinery maintenance season usually puts upward pressure on gas prices, which often drives prices to their highest point of the year, according to the report. This year’s period began Feb. 1 and is expected to peak in the last week of March and April.
During this time, refineries reduce output while they conduct scheduled maintenance, and this spring could be more active than previous years due to the fact that many refineries skipped their scheduled maintenance as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the Gulf Coast.
On the stock market, oil and gasoline prices regained strength, which could cause the recent downward pressure to slow down. Two weeks ago, analysts cited significant growth in domestic production and inventories. Last week's figures showed only minor gains in production and inventory levels.