Prices at the pump increased last week as anticipated, yet pointed lower again as the new week started.
Gas prices in Tennessee increased 4 cents last week. Sunday’s state average of $2.65 was 4 cents more than a month ago and 51 cents more than last year.
Gas prices in July averaged $2.61 per gallon. That was the highest monthly average for July since 2014. Summer gas prices are poised to be the most expensive in four years. Since June 1, Tennessee gas prices averaged $2.63 per gallon – 55 cents more than the average price last summer.
The most expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Jackson at $2.69, Nashville at $2.69 and Memphis at $2.66. The least expensive gas price averages in Tennessee were in Chattanooga at $2.58, Johnson City at $2.58 and Kingsport-Bristol at $2.58.
“Prices at the pump have pinballed around this summer, but fortunately have remained within a 20-cent range,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “The limited swings in pump prices and a strong economy has led to one of the biggest driving summers in history. Prices should slip lower this week due to falling future prices on the stock market. However, demand historically remains strong through August, which should prevent prices from slipping anywhere near the lows we saw last year.”
Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday showed signs the summer driving season remained in full throttle. Weekly gasoline demand numbers reached near-record highs. That strong demand cut deeply into supply levels, which declined five consecutive weeks for a total decline of nearly 5 percent.
As demand surges, refineries are working hard. Gasoline production for the week ending July 27 was 2 percent stronger than a year ago and the fifth-highest weekly rate in history – the highest was the week of Independence Day 2018.
Crude production remained about 16.3 percent stronger than last year. Although oil inventories increased nearly 1-percent, supplies remain 15 percent below last year.