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Gas prices expected to rise as oil hits three-month highs

Staff Report • Feb 18, 2019 at 7:30 PM

NASHVILLE — Gas prices in Tennessee rose 5 cents last week, and drivers should see additional increases this week.

Crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices have surged to their highest levels since November. The large gains could soon drag the Tennessee state average up another 10 cents, according to AAA.

Tennessee gas prices are already at their highest levels so far this year. Sunday's average of $2.09 per gallon is up 12 cents compared to this year's lowest daily average of $1.97, set during the second week of January.

Despite the recent gains, the state average remains 25 cents less than this time last year, AAA reported.

“Oil and wholesale gasoline prices made significant gains last week, which will likely lead to higher prices at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, in a press release. “Prices rose after news that OPEC is making good on its promise to cut production and reports of refinery issues at multiple plants in the northeast.

“One of the other key reasons for rising prices right now is refineries entering maintenance season. This is a time of year when refineries do ‘spring cleaning’ and to prepare for the switch to summer-blend gasoline. The process causes refineries to temporarily go offline, reducing the output of gasoline into the market.”

Most expensive gas prices in the state

• Nashville ($2.14)

• Jackson ($2.12)

• Cleveland ($2.08)

Least expensive gas prices in the state

• Johnson City ($2.02)

• Morristown ($2.03)

• Clarksville-Hopkinsville ($2.04)

What about oil?

On Friday, crude oil reached its highest price since mid-November, according to AAA. The closing price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was $55.59 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, an increase of nearly $3 per barrel compared to the week before.

That increase alone has the potential to carry a 7.5-cent jump at the pump, AAA reported. However, oil prices remain about $6 per barrel less than this time last year, a primary reason that gas prices remain lower than last year.

To view daily gas price averages, visit GasPrices.AAA.com.