Gas prices trickle lower, expected to drop more
(WRCB) -- As forecast, retail gas prices started to retreat last week and the downward trend is expected to continue throughout the rest of January.
Although pump prices will likely fall in the short term, AAA forecast they will peak in Spring when refineries begin the switch to the summer fuel blend and demand starts to pick up.
In 2012, the national average peaked at $3.94 in April, but is forecast not to surpass $3.80 this year. In addition, U.S. demand for oil dropped to its lowest level in 16 years, while refinery output rose the most in 150 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
"Demand for gasoline remains low and will likely decrease in the coming weeks as winter progresses, flu season worsens, and the tax increase hits worker paychecks," Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "Motorists could see gas prices drop another 3 to 5 cents this week."
A barrel of oil closed Friday at $95.56 on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$2 more than the week prior.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.30, 1 cent less than last week. Georgia's average of $3.30 and Tennessee's average of $3.17 both decreased 3 cents from last week, respectively.
In Chattanooga, the average pump price is $3.15, a drop of 4 cents from last week and 2 cents lower than the state average.