Gas price average sets another new year record

2013 will go on the books as the least expensive year for motorists since 2010

ALBANY — The national average price of a gallon of gas set a New Year’s Day record for the fourth consecutive year at $3.32.

But 2013 turned out to be a good year for motorists compared to recent years. The average price for regular-grade retail gas nationally for the year was $3.49, according to officials with AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That was the lowest average since 2010.

While the national gas price average for Monday was up a bit compared to Jan. 6, 2013, Georgia and metro Albany’s average pump prices were down year-to-year.

Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA The Auto Club Group, says motorists can expect more pain at the pump in the short term before some relief sets in.

“Gas prices inched up again last week and they will likely do the same this week,” Brady said. “The increase in gas prices shouldn’t be steep, nor is it likely to last very long.

“Demand typically drops in the coming weeks as fewer people travel in the cold weather. Gas prices typically fall between mid- January and February, before refineries begin seasonal maintenance.”

Oil settled at below $95 a barrel Friday after surging past $100 as demand dropped in late December, declining 7.2 percent for the month, AAA officials said. That resulted in higher stockpiles that paired with a stronger dollar to push oil costs down.

On Monday, according to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national average was up a half-penny from Dec. 30 at $3.317, That was 1.8 cents more than the average on Jan. 6, 2013 and a 5.4-cent increase over last month. Georgia’s average was well below the nation’s at $3.226, up 1.9 cents from last week. Unlike the national average, Georgia’s was lower month-to-month by seven-tenths of a cent and year-to-year by 9.8 cents.

In Albany, motorists were paying an average of $3.245 a gallon, down a cent and a half from last week but still the third-highest average among Georgia’s eight metro areas. Albany’s average was down 0.9 cent month-to-month and 12.3 cents year-to-year.

Of the state’s metro areas, the average price was highest Monday in Savannah at $3.323, followed by Valdosta at $3.290. The Fuel Report had the lowest averages for the metro areas, in order, as Augusta, $3.182; Columbus, $3.190; Athens, $3.204; Macon, $3.208, and Atlanta, $3.218.