ATLANTA — Georgia gas prices continue to decline, according to the auto club AAA.
Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $2.52 per gallon for regular unleaded, the club said. Monday’s state average was 5 cents less than a week ago, 18 cents less than this time last month and 26 cents less than this time last year.
It now costs $37.80 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline. That is $4.80 less than what motorists paid last May, when pump prices hit their 2018 peak of $2.84 per gallon, AAA said.
“Refinery utilization in the United States is at its highest level since early January, resulting in overall gasoline stocks at healthy levels to meet robust summer demand,” said Montrae Waiters, a spokeswoman for AAA. “Prices are dropping due to cheaper crude oil and at the same time U.S. supply is keeping pace with demand — an indication that pump prices may be even cheaper this summer.”
As the region continues to carry among the cheapest gas price averages in the country, every state’s average is cheaper by at least a dime compared to last month, AAA said. The largest monthly decreases in the country were in Georgia (-18 cents), Texas (-17 cents), Louisiana (-15 cents), Florida (-15 cents) and South Carolina (-15 cents). These states rank among the top 10 states with the biggest change in pump prices compared to last month.
The most expensive metro markets in Georgia were Hinesville- Fort Stewart at $2.60 per gallon, Savannah at $2.57 and Atlanta at $2.56.
The least expensive metro markets were Catoosa-Dade-Walker at $2.31 per gallon, Albany at $2.37 and Dalton at $2.38.
Motorists in Butts County on Monday reported paying $2.59 per gallon, according to the price-tracking website GasBuddy.com.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.40 to settle at $53.99. Crude prices increased Friday after Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told an audience at a conference in Russia that OPEC and its partners are close to an agreement to extend their current 1.2 million barrels per day production reduction pact through the end of 2019, AAA said. The cartel is expected to formally announce its decision at its upcoming meeting in Vienna on June 25 and 26.
The price increase followed a week of losses for crude due to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly petroleum status report showing that total domestic crude inventories rose by 6.8 million barrels last week. At 483.3 million barrels, the current level is 46.7 million higher than last year’s level at this time, AAA said. An oversupply of crude has increased concerns that the market has a glut of oil — even as U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have worked to reduce global supply. Market observers will await OPEC’s meeting to determine how much global crude supplies may tighten further. If the glut persists, crude prices will likely continue to decline, AAA said.