Oil prices hit their highest level in more than a month. Since last Sunday, state averages for a gallon of gas rose 4 cents in Georgia and Tennessee, and 1 cent in Florida.
The average price of gasoline is $2.09 in Florida, $2.06 in Georgia, and $1.95 in Tennessee. On Sunday, the state average rose for the fourth consecutive day in Florida, third consecutive day in Georgia and the sixth consecutive day in Tennessee. Although gas prices rose slightly this week, they are still well below year-ago levels by 31 cents in Florida, 35 cents in Georgia and 32 cents in Tennessee.
"Gas prices are likely to get more expensive through the rest of the week as retail prices adjust to the oil price hike," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "The weekly average for oil rose about $4 which could translate to a 10 cent hike at the pump. It usually takes a couple of weeks for retail prices to fully adjust to the oil price shift. Although oil prices will continue to influence prices at the pump, AAA forecasts that retail prices should remain relatively low through the rest of the year."
The price for a barrel of crude settled at $48.52 on Friday, after rising six consecutive days. Prices are rising as OPEC and other key exporters plan to meet next month to discuss freezing output levels, which would help balance a global market that has remained over-saturated with oil. This type of meeting happened earlier this year, causing oil prices to rise, but an agreement wasn't reached and oil tumbled. It's possible the same thing could happen again.
U.S. crude oil inventories are at historically high levels for this time of year at 521.1 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week, but are well above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week.