The Flash Foods convenience store at East Oglethorpe Boulevard and Thornton Drive, along with two competitors, tied for the lowest price for gas not requiring a club membership or loyalty card Monday. The $3.079 per gallon price was well below the metro Albany average of $3.219. (Staff photo: Jim Hendricks)
ALBANY — Metro Albany motorists saw a slight drop in average retail gas prices compared to last week, while drivers in Georgia and the nation saw a small uptick. Motorists should see less pain at the pump compared to last year as they go into the Thanksgiving holidays, experts say.
“Gas prices are still looking good for the upcoming holiday weekend,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “Pump prices have stabilized a bit, but remain below last year’s averages.
“Even if gas prices were to move higher in the next couple of weeks, they’re not expected to have a major impact on holiday travel plans.”
The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge for Monday morning had the average cost of a gallon of retail gas in Albany at $3.219, 2.3 cents above the state average. After being in the top three metro areas of the state for several weeks in regard to lowest average pump price, Albany dropped to No. 5 among the state’s eight metro areas.
A windshield tour of Albany stations Monday morning found the cheapest price — $3.079 — at the Pitt Stop on Sylvester Road and at the Homerun Foods and Flash Foods stations at Oglethorpe Boulevard and Thornton Drive near the Liberty Expressway.
The cheapest average price in the state Monday, according to the Fuel Gauge Report, was in metro Augusta, where motorists were enjoying an average cost of $3.109 per gallon, nearly a nickel cheaper than runner-up Macon’s $3.157 average. They were followed by Columbus, $3.187, and Atlanta, $3.200.
The most expensive average price for gas in Georgia on Monday was in Savannah, where motorists were paying $3.264, followed in declining order by Valdosta, $3.243, and Athens, $3.231.
Statewide, motorists were paying an average of $3.196 a gallon Monday, the report stated, while the national average ticked in at $3.208. While Albany’s average price declined 1.5 cents per gallon from last week, both the state and nation saw increased, with Georgia and national motorists paying an average of 2.2 cents more per gallon.
Year-to-year numbers show gas is less expensive this year. Since Nov. 18, 2012, the average prices has dropped 21 cents per gallon nationally, 4.9 cents in Georgia and eight-tenths of a cent in Albany.
Officials with GasBuddy.com, which surveys 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia, came to similar conclusions. Their survey found that Monday’s average price in Georgia was $3.187, a 2.2 cent increase from the previous week and 6.4 cents per gallon cheaper than the same date in 2012.
Nationally, GasBuddy found an average of $3.205 Monday, up a penny from the previous Monday and 23.1 cents cheaper than the Nov. 18, 2012.
“Surprisingly, the decreases we’ve seen in the national average have all but dried up,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “I admit, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher to have seen wholesale gasoline prices perk up last week, and it’s a bit premature to say we’ve seen the end of decreases in gas prices for the time being, so I’m hopeful that an uptick in the national average is merely temporary, but then again, this year has featured trends in prices that have all been earlier than expected.”
AAA officials noted that crude oil fell for a sixth-straight week last week, staying under $95 per barrel, while they cited Energy Information Administration data in stating that U.S. stockpiles rose for the eighth-consecutive week and refineries were producing fuel at a 24-year high rate. Stockpiles increased 388 million gallons to 2.6 million and refinery output increased by 123,000 barrels.
In East Albany, the predominate gas prices ranged from the metro-low of $3.079 to $3.109, with three stations in the $3.269-$3.299 range. Prices were higher on average in West Albany, where the range was $3.189-$3.249.