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Oil prices plummet; gas prices falling

Staff Reports • Updated Jun 15, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Tennessee gas prices fell after oil prices suffered big losses last week. 

The state average declined for the 13th consecutive day Sunday, for a total discount of 3 cents since May 29. 

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Tennessee was $2.09 Sunday, according to AAA, whose data is collected from credit card swipes and direct feeds from 120,000 gas stations nationwide, in cooperation with OPIS and Wright Express. The state average is 2 cents less than a week ago and 10 cents less than this time last year. 

The most expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Nashville at $2.13, Memphis at $2.10 and Clarksville-Hopkinsville at $2.08. The least expensive gas price averages in Tennessee are in Chattanooga at $1.99, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol at $2.05 and Knoxville at $2.08.

“Unexpected growth in oil and gasoline supplies sent prices into a downward spiral,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “Oil prices plunged to lows that should translate to a total discount of 5-10 cents at the pump, but motorists shouldn’t expect that discount to hit overnight. It usually takes a week or two before gas prices fully adjust to major shifts on the crude oil market.”

Last month, OPEC extended production cuts in hopes of balancing the oil market. Yet it appears the market glut is getting worse, according to the latest supply data from the government, thanks in large part to increased production in the United States. Crude inventories unexpectedly rose for the first time in nine weeks, increasing 3.3 million barrels per day to a total of 513.2 million barrels. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks grew for the first time in five weeks, by nearly 3 million barrels. Both stock levels are well above last year’s levels.

All this growth, combined with weaker demand figures, pushed oil prices to their lowest point in five weeks. Thursday’s daily settlement of $45.64 was the lowest since May 4, 2017. The weekly average of $46.56 was the lowest since November 2016. Oil prices have fallen $4 since Labor Day weekend.

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