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Handful of Albany gas stations drop below $3 a gallon

Average gas pump prices in Albany led state metro areas Monday

Several gas stations in East Albany, including this Enmark station on Clark Avenue, had regular gas for $2.999 Monday. Metro Albany had the lowest average price of any Georgia metro area on Monday. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

Several gas stations in East Albany, including this Enmark station on Clark Avenue, had regular gas for $2.999 Monday. Metro Albany had the lowest average price of any Georgia metro area on Monday. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

ALBANY — Metro Albany motorists saw a handful of gas prices Monday that haven’t been around for some time. It was only by a tenth of a cent, but the gas pumps were below $3 per gallon.

At least five Albany gas stations in East Albany were selling regular-grade gas for $2.999 a gallon Monday morning. Others were in the $3.019-$3.129 range. On the west side, most stations appeared to be in the $3.119-$3.149 range, with some still in the low $3.20s. At some stations, customers who used a loyalty gas card or who were members of a buying club saw prices as low as $2.949.

According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, Albany had the lowest average price of Georgia’s eight metro areas at $3.118, nudging out Macon ($3.119) by a tenth of a cent. Statewide Monday morning, motorists were paying $3.18 per gallon according to AAA, with GasBuddy.com reporting an average price of $3.171.

Both organizations saw a similar decline of just over 4 cents per gallon from the previous week and had the city’s average just over a penny better than a month ago. Year-to-year, AAA had Albany prices nearly flat, while GasBuddy reported them to be up just under a cent and a half.

Albany’s prices were down in all three categories, according to the Fuel Gauge Report. Monday’s per gallon average was 10.6 cents better than last week, a dime better than last month and 7 cents better than last year.

Nationally, motorists saw a weekly decline, with AAA’s survey showing a drop to $3.228 from $3.263, and GasBuddy’s survey showing Monday at $3.217, a decline from $3.242 last week. Both prices were up from a month ago — 2.2 cents, AAA; 0.6 cents, GasBuddy — with year-to-year declines of 2.9 cents, AAA, and 3.9 cents, GasBuddy.

Some experts expect the retail gas declines to continue.

“Another downward trend in gasoline prices has emerged as motorists hit the roads in the last full week before Christmas,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said Monday. “Historically, this is about the time of year that gasoline prices hit their yearly lows, but this time around, I have more optimism that prices may move even lower in the next few weeks.

“As we finish our 2014 forecast at GasBuddy in the near future, we can say that 2014 does offer some relief compared to what we’ll end up seeing in terms of average in 2013, but for the time being, the next week looks to see a continued drop in gasoline prices.”

Officials with AAA The Auto Club Group, however, were more cautious, suggesting that prices may rebound as early as next week.

“Drivers should see gas prices move lower this week. However, the decrease may be fleeting, since the Christmas holiday is next week,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, said late Sunday. “A few weeks ago, it looked like Thanksgiving travelers would pay some of the lowest pump prices of the year. Instead, millions of motorists watched gas prices spike.

“It’s not likely gas prices will jump as high as they did before Thanksgiving, but they may gain back any losses made during the two weeks prior to Christmas.”

In Georgia, metro prices following Albany and Macon were, in order, Augusta, $3.126; Valdosta, $3.136; Columbus, $3.142; Atlanta, $3.192; Savannah, $3.198, and Athens, $3.203, according to the Fuel Gauge Report.