Gas prices in Georgia are holding steady after rising an average total of 6 cents in the past 10 days. The average price for gasoline in Georgia is $2.10 per gallon, but that price could climb another 5 cents soon, based on recent strength in the oil market and rising wholesale gasoline prices.
Georgia motorists are paying 2 cents per gallon more than a week ago. However, the state average is still 5 cents less than last month, and 35 cents less than this time last year.
Despite the anticipated uptick, the state average remains 70 cents per gallon less than what drivers paid in October, and 74 cents less than last year's peak price heading into Memorial Day weekend.
Most expensive gas price averages: Brunswick ($2.19), Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($2.19), Atlanta ($2.13)
Least expensive gas price averages: Rome ($2.00), Augusta-Aiken ($2.00), Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($2.01)
"Rising gas prices are not uncommon during the month of January," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Last January, pump prices jumped 10-20 cents in various markets. The reason was the same then as it is now - rising oil prices. Oil has climbed $8 so far this year, largely due to reduced OPEC output and renewed optimism for a US-China trade deal. If oil prices make additional gains this week, motorists could see another round of rising prices at the pump. Regardless of the upswing, AAA still expects gas prices overall to average less than last year, with the national average peaking at around $2.75 by Memorial Day."
Additional increases are likely, in the coming weeks, as refiners enter maintenance season and prepare to switch to a more expensive-to-produce summer-blend gasoline. According to OPIS, two large turnarounds have commenced:
In the Northeast, some extensive work is being performed at Philadelphia Energy Solutions' complex on the Delaware River
At the Gulf Coast, ExxonMobil has started a major turnaround that may keep a 280,000-b/d crude unit out of action for 40-60 days
OPIS reports that Gulf Coast turnaround activity is expected to peak in March with about 1 million b/d of equipment scheduled to be sidelined. While the maintenance should cut demand for U.S. crude, stronger product prices could drag crude higher. Gasoline is a perceived beneficiary of the refining downtime.
In the latest short-term energy outlook, EIA expects U.S. regular retail gasoline prices to follow changes to the cost of crude oil, dipping from an average of $2.73/gal in 2018 to $2.47/gal in 2019, before rising to $2.62/gal in 2020.