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Gas prices vary widely in region, state

Madison Mathews • Dec 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Gas prices in Johnson City rose to $3.27 a gallon Thursday — an increase of 2 cents from last week — while prices steadily decreased elsewhere in the Tri-Cities, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

Stephanie Milani, public affairs specialist for AAA of East Tennessee, said the Tri-Cities region has seen fluctuating gas prices over the last several weeks.

“As far as the Tri-Cities goes, for the past several weeks you’ll look at one city and they’re up this week and the other two are down, so there’s been some small movement in the Tri-Cities over the last few weeks,” she said.

On Thursday, the average price per gallon in Kingsport was $3.09, down 8 cents from last week.

Bristol’s average price for a gallon of gas was $3.11, down 6 cents from last week.

The state average Thursday was $3.09.

On Monday, Milani said gas prices in the Tri-Cities fell below the state average of $3.11.

“What’s interesting is that’s the first week in several weeks the Tri-Cities has been below the state average. The Tri-Cities had been above the state average for at least two weeks,” she said.

Some areas in the state fell below $3, such as Chattanooga, where the price fell $2.95.

Milani said this time it’s typical to see gas prices dip before the holidays, and lower unemployment numbers across the country have helped in keeping oil prices low.

“We have the continued low demand here in the U.S. and that’s helping to drive prices lower, as well as high supply. We do still have quite a bit of crude supply here in the U.S., so both of those things are helping to push prices lower,” she said.

While it’s hard to gauge whether gas prices will rise as holiday travel begins, Milani said people should enjoy the lower prices while they’re around.

“Even when prices are high and going up, we don’t ever tell people it’s a good idea to drive out of your way to get a cheaper gallon of gas because you’re probably wasting the money if you’re going out of your way. Enjoy it while it’s here and keep our fingers crossed that it will stay for a few weeks,” she said.

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