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We'll be paying less for gas this Christmas

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM

A welcome Christmas surprise as Tennesseans head over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house: Fuel will be cheap.

AAA estimates the 107.3 million Americans taking planes, trains and automobiles between Dec. 23 and New Year’s Day will not increase gas prices in Northeast Tennessee, which averaged $2.23 per gallon of regular-grade as of Sunday.

In fact, spokesperson Stephanie Milani said prices will continue to decrease, falling somewhere near last year’s average of $2.07.

“Holiday travel does not typically have a huge impact on the prices. We do see (a price increase) during the summer when there’s an extended amount of time when people travel on vacations. That extended high demand does tend to drive up gas prices,” Milani said. “With demand being pretty low other than a couple weeks at the end of the year, we don’t see a spike.”

Milani said refineries often flood the market toward the end of the year, decreasing fuel prices. This season, they could stay low into the first weeks of 2018.

“At the beginning of the year in January, we typically see it as a fresh slate for oil and gas prices,” she said.

The rebound by major Gulf Coast refineries’ after hurricanes Harvey and Irma contributed to the recent price decrease, said Mark Jenkins, an AAA spokesperson.

"Gulf Coast refineries have completely recovered from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and are now flooding the market with fuel in anticipation of strong demand during the year-end holidays," he said in a press release. "AAA forecasts a record-setting 97.4 million Americans will take a road trip during the final 10 days of the year. However, the strong supply of gasoline should help stave-off any gas price hikes that would otherwise be caused by such a surge in demand."

Last Monday, the average national gas price was $2.46. The lowest national price average in the last 88 years was 18 cents, which would be around the equivalent of $2.52 this year.

As the year draws to a close, these were the highs and lows of 2017:

National: The highest average price for gasoline was $2.67 on Sept. 8. The lowest was $2.23 on July 5.
Tennessee: The highest average price was $2.60 on Sept. 10. The lowest was $1.99 on July 5.

For more updates about gas prices, visit www.gasprices.aaa.com. 

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