Reopening demand pushes gas prices higher

Johnson City Press • May 11, 2020 at 11:14 PM

The state’s weekly gas price average was up this week after 10 weeks of decline, a sign of increased demand as business restrictions and stay-at-home orders loosening during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Statewide, the average price per gallon is $1.60, six cents more than last week, four cents less than last month and 98 cents less than last year.

According to information released Monday by AAA The Auto Club Group, 33% of Tennessee’s fuel stations advertised prices are below $1.50 per gallon.

Kingsport ($1.48), Memphis ($1.51) and Johnson City ($1.50) were the metropolitan areas with the least expensive gas. Nashville ($1.75), Jackson ($1.61) and Chattanooga ($1.60) were the most expensive.

“Tennessee motorists are seeing the first increases at the pump since late February,” said AAA spokesperson Megan Cooper. “The boost in demand as the state begins its phased reopening is helping to push pump prices higher across the state.”

Crude prices increased last week amid growing market optimism that crude demand is rebounding as states re-open businesses and demand for gasoline has grown in recent weeks. For this week, crude prices may continue to rise if the market believes that crude oil inventories are beginning to balance. However, if crude storage levels continue to increase, crude prices could decline if the market continues to worry that the global market is oversupplied.

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