Gas prices increased in Georgia late last week for the first time in more than a month, according to the latest fuel price report from AAA.
A 39 day streak of declines in prices at the pumped ended Thursday. Since then, prices rose four cents.
Gas prices averaged $2.12 a gallon on Sunday, four cents more than last week and one cent more than a year ago, but 14 cents less than the national average.
The least expensive prices are in Augusta-Aiken at $2, Macon at $2.01 and Albany at $2.02. Atlanta is the most expensive at $2.17 with Savannah following at $2.13 and Columbus at $2.04.
"AAA forecasted the streak of gas price declines would come to an end last week," said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. "What came as a bit of a surprise was the abrupt U-turn oil prices made after Independence Day. Instead of building on the momentum that pushed oil above $47 a barrel, the rally suddenly ran out of steam and oil stumbled back below $45. What that means to motorists is a short lived bump in prices at the pump."
The report also showed gas prices for the first 40 days of summer (June 1 - July 10) have averaged the lowest in more than a decade. Prices this summer averaged $2.15 in Georgia, which is the lowest for the 40-day period in 12 years.
Oil prices made steady gains, increasing from $42.53 to $47.07 over the course of 13 days, raising the cost of producing gasoline. However, prices at the pump barely had time to respond before oil slumped back below $45 on Wednesday.
Despite data from the EIA showing strong demand and reduced inventories, fuel production and supply levels remain especially high for this time of year, preventing oil prices from gaining solid footing.
Long term, analysts think demand levels will not surpass last year's record highs. In a statement Wednesday, Wells Fargo said they expect oil prices to remain below $50 a barrel for the next 12 months, which would put a ceiling on gas prices of about $2.50 if the forecast holds.