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Gas prices trickle lower, AAA says

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jun 4, 2018 at 3:44 PM

While some of the least expensive gas in the state is right here in Johnson City, standing at $2.63 per gallon as of Monday, gas prices still remain 60 cents more than last year’s average. 

But AAA analysts say we could continue to see downward pressure on gas prices after a 3-cent decline over the last week. As of Monday, national gas prices averaged at $2.95 per gallon, with Tennessee’s statewide average at $2.70.

Crude oil prices hit seven-week lows last week as the dollar gained strength and U.S. oil rig count reached the highest level since March 2015. These factors compounded the downward pressure on crude, which analysts say was initiated when Russia and Saudi Arabia revealed an interest in raising crude oil output.

The price of oil sank to $65.81 on Friday, after reaching a four-year high of $72.24 per barrel just two weeks ago.

"Gas prices could drop 10-15 cents, based on recent oil price declines," spokesman Mark Jenkins said. "The discount will not happen overnight, because it usually takes a couple weeks for shifts like this to play out at the pump. However, any downward potential would be wiped out if futures prices suddenly bounce higher."

While gas prices remain 10 cents higher than last month, spokeswoman Stephanie Milani said motorists could see these lower pump prices once gas stations sell the gas they purchased at higher prices previously. 

“It does typically take weeks to make its way to the pump. One of the reasons behind that is that retailers have bought the gas at higher prices and that’s what consumers are buying now,” Milani said. “They want to make sure they aren’t losing money on that gasoline.

“We do typically see a volatile spring followed by that plateau period during the summer driving season.”

Hurricane season, however, could complicate things as far as downward pressure on oil prices go, according to Milani. Still, in the coming months, Milani said analysts have some optimism prices could go down to where they were a year ago.

“There are some factors at work putting downward pressure on oil prices, so as long as these factors continue, we could see those prices drift downward,” she said. “Hopefully we will start to see these prices drift lower and get a bit closer to the prices we saw last year.”

In the meantime, AAA has some fuel-saving tips to help motorists save money at the pump: 

Aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and too much braking, wastes gas, so drive sensibly.

– Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage rapidly declines at speeds above 50 mph. 

 – Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle. Using your trunk for storage can cost you by way of lower fuel economy, and an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle reduces your miles per gallon by about 1 percent. 

– Use cruise control on the highway to maintain a constant, consistent speed. Constant throttling at high speeds consumes gasoline much faster. 

– Avoid excess idling, which uses a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. 

– Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. 

– Combine trips to save time and money. 

– Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure to improve your gas mileage up to 3 percent. 

For more information on local, state and national gas price trends and ways to save money at the pump, visit www.gasprices.aaa.com

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