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Gas prices up slightly from last week

The Chevron station at 1800 E. Oglethorpe Blvd. had the lowest posted price for regular self-serve gasoline observed in Albany Tuesday afternoon at $3.359. Other stations in the area were a penny or two a gallon higher, with some offering discounts with use of a gas card. (Jim Hendricks)

The Chevron station at 1800 E. Oglethorpe Blvd. had the lowest posted price for regular self-serve gasoline observed in Albany Tuesday afternoon at $3.359. Other stations in the area were a penny or two a gallon higher, with some offering discounts with use of a gas card. (Jim Hendricks)

ALBANY — Gas pump prices in Albany Tuesday averaged 3.2 cents higher per gallon than a week ago, but were better than the average prices for both Georgia and the United States, according to the weekly AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The average price of a gallon of gas Tuesday morning in metro Albany was $3.413, up from $3.381 on Aug. 27. A month ago the cost was $3.387. The average price was significantly lower than Sept. 3, 2012, when a gallon of self-serve regular gas cost $3.726.

The lowest observed gas price in Albany Tuesday afternoon that did not require a station gas card or club membership was $3.359 at a Chevron station at 1800 E. Oglethorpe Blvd. Several other stations in East Albany were at $3.369 and $3.379.

Among Georgia eight metro areas, Albany was near the middle in cost. The cheapest gas Tuesday was in metro Augusta, where the average cost was $3.336 per gallon. Augusta was followed by Macon, $3.376, and Columbus, $3.39. The highest cost for fuel was in metro Atlanta, where self-serve regular gas was averaging $3.597 a gallon.

Statewide, the average cost was $3.52, up 6 cents from a week ago and 3.3 cents from a month ago. On Sept. 3, 2012, the average cost in Georgia was $3.841.

Nationally, the average price was $3.591, up a nickel from the previous week and down 2.5 cents from a month ago. The national average last year on Sept. 3 was $3.827.

Another organization that watches pump prices, GasBuddy.com. said its survey of 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia indicated retail pump prices had risen 5.7 cents per gallon in the past week, reaching $3.52 as the state average Monday. The national average, GasBuddy said, was up 4.1 cents week-to-week, hitting $3.61 a gallon on Labor Day.

GasBuddy said average gas prices in Georgia on Labor Day were 31.5 cents per gallon lower than Sept. 2, 2012 and were 3.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 2.4 cents per gallon during the last month, the organization found, and stood 18.7 cents per gallon lower than Sept. 2, 2012.

Officials with AAA The Auto Club Group said tensions over possible U.S. intervention in Syria prompted oil prices, which closed Friday at $107.65 for a barrel on the NYMEX, to increase, resulting in a jump at the gas pump as well. Oil rose to $108.25 a barrel Tuesday afternoon.

“Since U.S. threats against Syria have eased and there are no major storms on the horizon, motorists should start to see gas prices retreat,” AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said. “Now begins the U.S. refinery switch from the summer to winter blend fuel, which typically means lower gas prices are on the way.”

That easing may be reversed soon as President Barack Obama is asking Congress to support a strike against Syria.

So far, there have been six named tropical storms in the Atlantic, with none reaching hurricane force. Tuesday, there were three tropical weather-makers — a tropical wave moving westward at the Yucatan Peninsula, a disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms near Dominica and a second tropical wave just off the west coast of Africa. The first two had a 20 percent chance of developing into cyclones, according to the National Hurricane Center, while the African storm had a 10 percent chance.

“American motorists faced with slightly higher gasoline prices going into Labor Day weekend still had good reason to be happy as they returned home,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said. “Over just the long weekend, Americans saved nearly $300 million over what was spent for the four day weekend last year.

“The national average was close to 20-cents per gallon lower this year, and while Syria has dominated the news and so far caused a relatively small blip in gasoline prices, this summer driving season closed with the lowest prices since 2010.”