Albany average pump prices third-highest in state

ALBANY — Gas prices jumped at some of Albany’s gas stations last week and have stayed there.

Monday morning, a windshield survey of Albany gas stations found most stations at $3.259 per gallon or higher. The lowest observed price per gallon was at the East Albany Oglethorpe Chevron station, which had regular gas at $3.219.

On Oct. 7, that station and six others in East Albany were at $3.039, though prices had jumped 12-15 cents per gallon at those stations by nightfall.

Metro Albany opened the week on Oct. 7 with the lowest average gas price among the state’s eight metro areas at $3.123, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. On Monday, it had the third highest average of Georgia’s eight metro areas, trailing only Savannah ($3.272) and Valdosta (the state’s highest average at $3.291), the AAA report showed.

Metro Augusta had the state’s lowest average to open the week at $3.138, followed, in order, by Columbus, $3.19; Macon, $3.204; Atlanta, $3.249, and Athens, $3.25, according to the Fuel Gauge Report.

Statewide, motorists saw an uptick at the pump in AAA’s report, with the average price of a gallon of regular running $3.242, compared to $3.227 on Oct. 7. Nationally, the average price declined slightly, falling from $3.346 on Oct. 7 to $3.343 on Monday.

GasBuddy.com, which also closely watches pump prices, showed the national average Monday at $3.369. According to that website, the average price for a gallon of regular in Georgia Monday was $3.236, up from $3.221 on Oct. 7. GasBuddy does not include Albany in its list of Georgia metropolitan statistical areas.

Officials with AAA The Auto Club Group say that indications are that pump prices will continue downward, though action in Washington could result in an uptick.

“When the government reopens, motorists will likely see gas prices inch back up a bit on optimism the economy will get a jump start,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman. “Otherwise, supply and demand stats point to lower pump prices.”

AAA reported that the International Energy Agency last week cut its global oil demand outlook for 2014, at a time when the world’s oil production is on the rise. U.S. oil output jumped to a 24-year high of almost 8 million barrels a day in September, according to the Energy Information Administration data, AAA officials said.

Tropical weather hasn’t been a factor this year and there were no signs that would change in the near term. On Monday, the National Hurricane Center was tracking a low pressure trough several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles, but otherwise the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico were free of weather disturbances.

The low pressure trough was moving west-northwest, with forecasters giving it no chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within four days and a 10 percent chance of doing so within five days.

Meanwhile, prices continue to be significantly lower than they were on October 2012. On Oct. 14, 2012, the national average was $3.794 a gallon, with Georgians paying $3.629 and metro Albany motorists paying $3.66, according to the AAA report.

Compared to a month ago, drivers nationally are saving an average of 18.8 cents per gallon Monday, while Georgia motorists were averaging a 16.6-cent improvement in the pump price. Metro Albany drivers, meanwhile, were seeing prices that were only slightly down month to month, with the average cost 1.9 cents below last month’s $3.282.