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2-state gas watchers agree on good news for drivers ... for now

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 3:36 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The two most popular gas price observers say that gas prices have declined slightly, but will that continue?

Georgia gas prices decreased at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $2.93 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

Augusta’s average gas prices are slightly lower art $2.87 a gallon, down 3.7 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.91 a gallon.

Monday’s state average is 3 cents less than a week ago, 23 cents more than last month, and $1.21 more than this time last year. It now costs motorists $43.95 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; that is $7.05 more than what motorists paid in January of 2020 when pump prices hit their peak of $2.46 per gallon.

“Although the pipeline is currently operating, some gas stations across Georgia continue to see fuel outages as supply logistics work to return to normal, “said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA. “While pump prices are anticipated to increase due to high demand for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we don’t expect higher gas prices to deter motorists from hitting the road since many Americans are eager to travel.”

Georgia gas prices have fallen 1.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.89 a gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,883 stations in Georgia. Gas prices in Georgia are 2 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand $1.17 a gallon higher than a year ago.

GasBuddy said the cheapest station in Georgia is priced at $2.44 a gallon while the most expensive is $3.29 a gallon, a difference of 85.0¢ per gallon.

Across the river in South Carolina

GasBuddy’s daily survey of 3,028 stations in South Carolina says gas prices have fallen 2.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.83 per gallon across the state.

Gas prices in South Carolina are 24.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and analysts say they stand $1.16 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in South Carolina is priced at $2.51 per gallon Monday while the most expensive is $3.45 per gallon. This is a difference of 94 cents per gallon.

The national picture

The national average price of gasoline has fallen 1.9 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.02 a gallon Monday. The national average is up 14.0¢ per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.07 a gallon higher than a year ago.

“In the lead up to Memorial Day, we haven’t seen gas prices come down much, though with oil’s recent move lower, we should start to see more drops at the pump materialize in the days ahead,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “With the Colonial Pipeline situation continuing to improve in Southeastern states, fueling up for the holiday weekend shouldn’t be too challenging, save for a few pockets in GA, NC, and SC, where outages remain a bit higher than neighboring states. For those hitting the road, we should see prices inch lower in the coming week through at least Memorial Day, so motorists need not rush to fill their tanks as the drop in oil prices should manifest into lower gas prices as we begin the summer driving season.”

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by a cent to $3.03, AAA says.

After a week of pump price spikes, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline held steady at $3.04 for six days, following a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline that halted its operations and severely constrained the delivery of gasoline along the East Coast and Southeast. According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic refinery utilization increased slightly to 86.3 percent last week, while total domestic supply decreased by 2 million barrels to 234.2 million barrels and demand increased from 8.8 million barrels a day to 9.2 million barrels a day.

With the gasoline distribution system continuing to recover from the attack and grappling with a shortage of gasoline tanker drivers, higher refinery utilization rates will ensure refined products, including gasoline, continue to flow where they are most needed. As demand and supply move in sync, the national average is expected to continue stabilizing. However, we could see some fluctuation this week with the lead up to Memorial Day Weekend, during which AAA forecasts 34 million Americans to take road trips.

From reports by WALB and WCSC