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Gas prices continue to plummet both regionally and nationally

Johnson City Press • Updated Mar 30, 2020 at 5:06 PM

The Tennessee gas price average continues to decline, having dropped nearly 13 cents since this time last week. The Tennessee gas price average is now $1.77, which is 45 cents less than one month ago and nearly 71 cents less than one year ago.

“Tennessee motorists are seeing dramatic declines in pump prices. The state average is down 45 cents since March 1,” said Megan Cooper, spokewoman for AAA — The Auto Club Group. “More discounts are expected in the coming week as gasoline demand continues to decline.”

An astonishing 94% of filling stations have sub-$2 gas prices. The prices have declined for 33 consecutive days for a total discount of nearly 47 cents per gallon and eight metro areas have seen double-digit decreases at the pump in the last week. 

All the metro areas in the state have average prices below $2 per gallon. 

At $2.01, the national gas price average is 11 cents cheaper on the week, 43 cents less expensive on the month and 68 cents less than a year ago.

Crude oil continues to price low — in the $20-per-barrel range — as U.S. gasoline demand decreases to numbers typically seen during the winter driving season. In fact, there is an atypical amount of winter-blend gasoline supply still available, which has caused the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the sale of winter blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20.

The agency said they will continue to monitor and, if necessary, extend the waiver again.

“Delaying the switch-over to summer-blend gasoline will contribute to sustained lower prices as summer blend is more expensive to produce,” added Cooper.

The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasolines is how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline, the easier it evaporates.

Winter-blend fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. Summer-blend gasoline has a lower volatility to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise.

Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that can contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels.

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