Average gas prices in Albany, which led the Georgia metro areas on Dec. 16, had risen 7.2 cents a gallon from that date on Monday. Several stations, including this Woodall’s station at East Oglethorpe Boulevard and Broadway St., were at $3.259. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)
ALBANY — A lot can change in a week in the retail gas market and for metro Albany motorists, it wasn’t a change for the better.
And some retail gas experts think it’ll be on the rise nationwide shortly after the new year arrives.
Metro Albany, which had the lowest average cost for retail gas among the state’s eight metro areas on Dec. 16 at $3.118, was the third highest metro area on Monday at $3.19 a gallon, up 7.2 cents in a week. That rise came as average gas prices for Georgia dropped during the same period, declining from $3.18 on Dec. 16 to $3.174 Monday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
Only Valdosta, at $3.197, and Savannah, at $3.262, had higher averages than Albany on Monday.
Nationally, the Fuel Gauge Report found prices were up. Motorists across the United States were paying an average of $3.25 for a gallon of gas, 2.2 cents more than a week ago. While that is below last month’s $3.262, it’s above the $3.246 that U.S. drivers were averaging a year ago.
In Albany, Monday’s average price was a 6.7 cent improvement over last month and 4.3 cents lower than last year. Georgia’s average was down 8 cents from a month ago and four-tenths of a cent from last year.
Another organization that keeps close tabs on pump prices reported similar trends. GasBuddy.com had Monday’s U.S. average at $3.239, up 2.4 cents from a week ago, but 1.2 cents cheaper than last month and seven-tenths of a cent cheaper than last year.
In Georgia, GasBuddy’s survey found an average price of $3.164, down three-tenths of a cent from last week, 9.1 cents better than last month and four-tenths of a cent lower than a year ago.
Officials with AAA The Auto Club said that indications are pump prices will start ticking up shortly after the ball drops in New York next week.
A barrel of oil rose to $99.32 last week after reports showed larger than expected economic growth in the third quarter, AAA reported. The market, AAA officials said, is approaching the New Year rally, which means motorists could see gas prices jump in the first few weeks of 2014.
“Gas prices will likely remain relatively stable until the new year,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokesperson. “The stability may not last long.
“Oil prices recently jumped on a growing U.S. economy and it’s likely pump prices will rise after the first of the year on optimism fuel demand will increase in 2014.”
On Monday, the cheapest average gas price among Georgia’s metro areas was found in Augusta, where the Fuel Gauge report said motorists were paying an average of $3.095. August was followed, in order, by Columbus and Macon, tied for second at $3.136; Atlanta, $3.175, and Athens, $3.183. Albany, Valdosta and Savannah round out the list.
Half of the metro areas — Athens, Atlanta, Augusta and Columbus — saw decreases ranging from 0.6 cent to 3.1 cents in the week. Albany experienced the biggest jump of the four metro areas with increases.
In Albany Monday, the best advertised prices observed that did not require a club membership or a station loyalty card was $3.159, with most stations selling in the $3.179-$3.189 range. Some stations in west Albany had increased to $3.259 by noon Monday.