Georgia gas prices up 30 cents in a month

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Gas prices in Georgia have skyrocketed in the past month, with the state average price climbing 30 cents.

But the national average is up only 13 cents over the past month, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report at . The national average was $3.657 as of Thursday.

Georgia’s state average was $3.645.

In Coweta on Thursday, the cheapest regular unleaded was offered at the Valero on Ga. Hwy. 16 East, according to . Regular unleaded there was $3.59, according to the website.

Gas stations along Bullsboro Drive were offering regular unleaded for $3.62.

Nationally, prices had risen for 20 straight days, as of Monday, according to Mark Jenkins of AAA.

“The demand for gasoline is driving up the price of oil, which in turn is pumping up the price of gasoline,” said Jenkins. “Prices are expected to keep rising in the near future due to unexpectedly lower supplies and rising demand.”

Gasoline demand is at its highest level since January, according to the Energy Information Administration, and consumer confidence it at its highest level since July, according to Jenkins.

Those factors pushed the price of oil last Friday to its highest price in five weeks on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“When consumer confidence is up, the price of oil often follows, because speculators believe more people will be buying gasoline,” said Jenkins. “Meanwhile, refineries that reduced their output during maintenance season are working to return to full capacity. This supply shortage, coupled with the switch to the more expensive summer-blend fuel, are typical factors that result in higher gas prices this time of year.”

The EIA released its summer forecast this week, predicting that retail prices would average $3.57 per gallon during the summer driving system, one cent cheaper than last year. AAA has predicted that prices would peak between$3.55 and $3.75.

Analysts at Gasbuddy predict prices to rise for several more weeks. "Motorists face rising prices every spring for varying reasons, but most notably because of refinery maintenance that slows production of gasoline, and stations being required to sell cleaner burning blends of gasoline that cost them more,” said Gas Buddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

"We believe that gas prices nationally will average $3.52/gallon for the April through September time frame, which would be the lowest we've seen in a few years," DeHaan said.

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