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Albany gas pump prices jump; state, national averages lower

ALBANY — While gas pump prices nationally and in Georgia have declined over the past week, motorists in metro Albany have seen a nine-cent average price hike.

According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, metro Albany, which on Aug. 12 had the cheapest average cost for a gallon of self-serve regular gas at $3.28 per gallon has seen that mark jump today to $3.37. The metro Augusta area was the cheapest today at $3.271, down three-tenths of a cent from Aug. 12, and metro Macon was second at $3.332.

Year-to year, the average cost of a gallon of gas in Albany is 20 cents cheaper than it was last Aug. 19 and the average is down 14 cents from July 19.

For Georgia, the Fuel Gauge Report said that the average this morning was $3.437, down from July 19’s $3.545 and the $3.643 that Georgians were paying on Aug. 19, 2012.

Nationally, both AAA and GasBuddy.com found in their surveys that gas pump prices as a whole were down today compared to last week despite violence in Egypt that has pushed up crude oil prices.

AAA said that retail gas prices fell 2 cents from last week and remain 15-20 cents less than last year.

The organization cautioned, however, the increased violence in Egypt had pushed oil prices higher and would continue to keep upward pressure on fuel prices until it ceases. The Egyptian unrest is creating more concern that supplies in the region will be disrupted, specifically those that pass through the Suez Canal, which transports about 2.5 million barrels of oil a day.

A barrel of crude on the NYMEX closed Friday at $107.46, a $1.49 jump from the previous week’s closing.

“As long as the Suez Canal remains open and oil is transported daily, motorists should not see a huge spike in gas prices as a direct result of violence in Egypt. That also means not to expect large drops in gas prices either,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “Tensions in the Mideast and North Africa will continue to keep oil prices elevated because the region provides such a high percentage of the world’s oil supply.”

In the first quarter of the year, the Middle East provided 35 percent of the world’s oil output, according to the International Energy Agency.

AAA says the national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.54, which is 2 cents less than last week. Florida’s average of $3.51, Georgia’s average and Tennessee’s average of $3.32 all fell 2 cents from last week.

GasBuddy’s weekly survey of 5,883 outlets in the state found that the average retail gasoline prices in Georgia had fallen a half-cent in the past week, averaging $3.43 per gallon Sunday. The national average in that time that has fallen 0.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.57 per gallon, the organization said.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, GasBuddy said, was prices Sunday were 20.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and were 11.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 10.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 13.0 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago, GasBuddy found.

“Americans are now shelling out $50 million less per day than they were last year when pump prices averaged 13 cents more per gallon,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said. “Most states are seeing their average below last year, and as summer slowly fades, gasoline prices may as well in many communities.

“Cooler weather typically brings relief as demand declines and discretionary travel ebbs. I expect that pump prices may drift lower over the next few days, much focus remains on the tropics.”