Gas prices are up slightly in Georgia, ringing in the last week of January with an average of $2.48, an 18 cent increase from a month ago and 30 cent increase from this time last year.
AAA reports Georgia has the 20th lowest state average in the nation. Stock market gas prices had peaked at levels similar to that during Hurricane Harvey, driving prices up and causing refinery outages.
"There appears to be a recipe for even higher gas prices brewing, and the rising price of oil is just one of the key ingredients," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "During the next few months, refineries will randomly conduct maintenance on their equipment and switch to a more-expensive-to-produce summer blend gasoline. During their downtime, these refineries reduce the amount of gasoline they put out into the market. Historically, that has caused gas prices to rise 30-75 cents, as a result. It's unclear exactly how the market will absorb these shifting fundamentals, but motorists may want to be ready. One remaining beacon of hope is that domestic oil production would ramp up sooner than later, and end the upward momentum on oil prices."
Triple A also predicts gas prices could return to the $2.50s unless prices retreat this week.
GasBuddy.com agrees, indicating their records show an increase of 3.6 cents and a state average at $2.46. Georgia's price is still lower than the national average of $2.50, GasBuddy reports.
"With oil maintaining strength, gasoline prices have continued to climb in many places, rising to their highest level since Hurricane Harvey dealt a blow to Texas and a significant portion of U.S. refining capacity," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "This time around, oil prices have been the culprit for gasoline prices rising to their highest level in over 130 days, and with U.S. crude oil inventories plummeting for 10 straight weeks, I see diminishing chances of the traditional winter relief that accompanies the year's coldest months. Without gas prices falling, the current price environment may be the floor for what could become a more expensive year than anticipated, barring any change to OPEC policy that has led to today's climate of lower supply and higher prices."
Prices peaked in Atlanta and Savannah at $2.51 and in Brunswick at $2.50. Lower prices were spotted in the Augusta-Aiken area at $2.40 and $2.41 was recorded in both Warner Robins and Catoosa-Dade-Walker.