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Albany motorists start week with lower gas pump prices

Albany retail gas prices are third lowest of the eight Georgia metro areas

The Homerun Foods and Flash Foods convenience stores at East Oglethorpe Boulevard and Thornton Drive near the Liberty Expressway were among the lowest prices retail gas outlets observed in Albany Monday, with a gallon of regular gas priced at $3.139. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

The Homerun Foods and Flash Foods convenience stores at East Oglethorpe Boulevard and Thornton Drive near the Liberty Expressway were among the lowest prices retail gas outlets observed in Albany Monday, with a gallon of regular gas priced at $3.139. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

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The Pitt Stop convenience store on Sylvester Road was among the lowest-priced gas stations in Albany on Monday, with regular-grade gas selling for $3.139 per gallon. Albany had the third-best average price Monday of Georgia’s eight metro areas. The highest average proce was in metro Atlanta. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

ALBANY — Metro Albany opened the week Monday with the third-lowest average retail gas price among the state’s eight metro areas, with the lowest observed price at $3.139.

According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report for Monday, Albany motorists were paying an average of $3.166 at the pump for a gallon of regular gas. The lowest price seen during a windshield tour Monday morning was $3.139 at the Homerun and Flash Food stations at East Oglethorpe Boulevard near the Liberty Expressway, and at Pitt Stop further east on Sylvester Road.

Elsewhere in Albany, most stations were posting prices between $3.149 and $3.169. Some stations also had nickel-off discount prices for club members or customers who used the station’s loyalty cash card.

The cheapest gas in the state was in metro Macon, where motorists were paying an average of $3.116 at the pump, followed by metro Valdosta at $3.155. Albany barely nudged out Columbus, at $3.168, for third place. The highest average cost for gas was in metro Atlanta, where motorists could expect to pay $3.258, according to the Fuel gauge Report.

Statewide, motorists were looking at an average gas price of $3.228, according to the Fuel Gauge Report, and $3.22 Sunday, according to GasBuddy.com, which surveys, 5,883 stations in Georgia daily. Nationally, the average was $3.252 Monday, according to AAA, and $3.26 Sunday, according to GasBuddy.

Experts with AAA said they expect the gas pump price slide to continue through the rest of the month. A stronger dollar last week and an Energy Information Administration report showing an increase of 4 million barrels of oil in U.S. stockpiles helped push the price of a barrel of oil to $94.61 at the end of last week. That’s the first time oil has settled below $95 a barrel since June.

“Oil supplies continue to increase even as production wanes, which is helping to push both oil and gas prices lower,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “Retail gas prices are expected to move lower again this week — a trend that will likely continue throughout the month.”

GasBuddy officials agreed the fundamentals were moving prices downward, particularly benefiting the states in the center of the nation.

“The downward movement in national gasoline prices has continued for yet another week, thanks to a fall in commodity prices,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Oil prices continue to shed value, leading the way to lower gasoline prices. Five states — all in the nation’s midsection — are now seeing their average prices under $3/gallon: Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas, and motorists in those states certainly have a ‘there’s no place like home’ advantage.”

Since last week, Albany motorists have seen a 3 cent decline in the pump price, though it is a penny a gallon higher than it was a month ago. Last year on Nov. 4, Albany motorists were paying an average of $3.273 a gallon, more than a dime higher.

Georgia also saw about the same decline — 2.9 cents — over the week, and the average Monday was just under a penny cheaper than last month. Year-to-year, Georgia motorists were paying 7.5 cents less per gallon Monday, according to the AAA report.

Nationally, the average dropped 3.2 cents in the past week and was down 10.5 cents from last month. year-to-year, motorists were seeing a 22.3 cent improvement Monday, according to the Fuel Gauge Report.

One of the factors that can influence oil and retail fuel costs are weather systems that affect production in the Gulf of Mexico. So far this hurricane season, which officially ends Nov. 30, has been one in which tropical storms have been non-factors. The Atlantic continued to be quiet Monday, with a low pressure system in the central Caribbean showing less than a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm over the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.