High Fuel Prices Estimated to Rise

Kenne Medley • Jan 23, 2019 at 10:20 AM

Gas prices are holding steady in Tennessee with an average price of $2.01 per gallon. This is up 1 cent from last week, and still below the national average of $2.25 per gallon.

“The national average price for gasoline has seen little change in the last week in most areas, but this period remains the calm ahead of the storm,” said Patrick Dehaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com, the popular crowd-sourced fuel information website.

Johnson City holds the number three spot for highest prices in the state matching the average. Prices can vary from station to station for a myriad of reasons. Consumers are encouraged to compare prices before heading to a gas station.

Mark Jenkins, Spokesman for AAA- The Auto Group, stated in a press release that an industry normal rise in prices begins in January and will continue through Memorial Day. Pump prices are expected to rise 35 to 75 cents during this time period according to AAA and GasBuddy.com. Multiple factors will determine the rise in prices this year including a trade deal with China.

“Last January, pump prices jumped 10-20 cents in various markets,” Jenkins stated in the press release. “The reason was the same then as it is now – rising oil prices.”

According to the Oil Price Information Service, two other factors likely to raise prices are maintenance season and the switch to a summer-blend gasoline. OPIS reports that two large projects, extensive work at a Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ complex and ExxonMobil closing a 280,000 barrels-per-day crude unit on the Gulf Coast for up to 60 days, will attribute to a rise in prices.

Anna Baker, ETSU Student, of Gate City, Virginia, said the higher prices and projected increases are rough.

“Money is rough for college students,” Baker said. “I usually go home on the weekends. I am going to have to drive less when in Johnson City.”

Baker believes that the prices are higher in Johnson City because of the population density. She also attributed higher prices to the medical facilities and tourism. She believes that because more people travel to Johnson City the stations raise the prices of fuel.

Wendy Berry, an employee of the privately owned Greer Convenience Center #2, located on Walnut Street near ETSU campus, agrees with Baker. Berry lives in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and said the prices there are 5 to 6 cents cheaper.

“Our [Johnson City] prices are based on the college and the people coming in,” said Berry.

She went on to say the Greer Convenience Center prices are set by the owner and the gas company. They survey the prices of Johnson City and set their prices accordingly.

Shell and British Petroleum (BP) station managers refused to comment on gas prices. University Parkway BP Station Manager Ryan Beagle said he could not comment on gas prices or projected spike in prices. The Shell Station, on State of Franklin across from ETSU Campus, Manager said prices are set by corporate, GPM Investments, and that he could not comment.

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