NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee’s gas prices are back on the rise and expected to stay that way as summer draws closer, according to the AAA.
The Auto Club Group issued a release Monday stating that the average cost of gas per gallon was $4.08 in the Volunteer State, a rise of 18 cents since the same time in April.
In early May 2021, the cost of gas was $1.37 less than the current average, AAA reports.
Johnson City is currently the most expensive metro market for gas in the state with an average price of $4.14 per gallon.
The release states that half of the gas stations in the state have prices over $4 and that the highest 10% of pump prices are around $4.42 for regular unleaded. In the last week, AAA says each metro area in Tennessee saw a double-digit increase in gas prices.
“A tight global oil supply combined with expectations of high summer gasoline demand and rising crude oil prices are pushing prices at the pump more expensive this week,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA. “Right now, the state gas price average is only four cents below the previous record set earlier this year in March. It’s unclear if we will surpass that record this week, but if market conditions persist, it’s likely we could set a new gas price record here in Tennessee.”
Diesel prices reached a new record-high nationally at $5.54/gallon.
That was felt locally with metropolitan areas across the Tri-Cities hitting their highest diesel prices on record Monday.
Adam Birchfield, a Johnson City roofer, drives diesel trucks for work and as his daily driver. He said the high diesel prices could mean a problem for his pockets.
“I’m 38 years old and this is the highest I’ve ever seen it,” Birchfield said. “You’re paying $120 for a half a tank of diesel. You get it to go to work two times a week and then you’ve got to fill up again. It’s insane.”
Cooper attributed the record prices to a volatile crude oil market and the global oil supply. The price of crude oil makes up most of the price at pump, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“The oil market is very similar to the stock market in that it is very susceptible to headlines and things that are going on politically and around the world,” Cooper said. “Last week, the European Union announced plans to over the course of the next six months, ban the import of crude oil from Russia.”
Cooper said the announcement of the import ban did cause a spike in crude oil prices.
With the summer travel season approaching, Cooper said does not see people avoiding their summer vacations, but did say planning ahead can reduce fuel costs.
She said planning stops on a trip and scouting out the cheapest gas stations ahead of time can help save money.
Michael Blankenship, a Washington County, Tennessee resident, is already finding the cheaper gas stations. He came into a Johnson City gas station Monday to fill up with cheaper gas for his lawnmower.
But Blankenship does not see a long-distance vacation happening this year if gas prices stay up.
“I’ll spend it around here doing little things and stuff,” Blankenship said. “As far as going to Florida, I couldn’t look to do that.”
AAA suggests combining errands to limit drive time and removing excess weight from vehicles. Drivers should also drive conservatively, as rapid acceleration and speeding reduce fuel economy. AAA also urges drivers to get their vehicles a tune-up to ensure that cars are making the most of the fuel in the tank.