After a somewhat volatile month for prices at the pump in November, gas prices opened December on the decline. Here in the 'Boro, several discounters opened the week with regular gas at $2.13. Gas prices in Tennessee have declined 21 consecutive days for a total discount of 5 cents.
The current Tennessee gas price averaged is $2.283, 1 cent less than last week, 1 cent higher than a month ago, and 28 cents more than last year.
Today the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline is $2.48, according to AAA, whose data is collected from credit card swipes and direct feeds from 120,000 gas stations nationwide, in cooperation with OPIS and Wright Express. Nationally, gas prices are 3 cents less than last week, 4 cents lower than one month ago, and 30 cents higher than one year ago.
OPEC CUTS INFLUENCE OIL MARKET
Gas prices faced upward pressure last week, due to an OPEC meeting and its affects on the oil market. At the close of Friday's formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 96 cents to settle at $58.36. Oil prices rose following Thursday's meeting between OPEC and some non-OPEC producers led by Russia. The group agreed to keep its production cuts in place until the end of 2018. Participants in the agreement, which was supposed to end in March 2018, have reduced output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in order to drain the global glut of oil that has suppressed oil prices. The agreement initially went into effect in November 2016, when oil prices were around $45 a barrel.
Increased production from producers outside of the production reduction agreement - like the United States - have slowed efforts to drain the global glut, which is why OPEC decided to extend its current agreement. In EIA's latest weekly report for the week ending on November 24, oil production rose to 9.62 million barrels per day, the highest on record. Moving into 2018, market watchers will track domestic oil production investment in the U.S. to determine how much OPEC's latest announcement will influence the market.
"Gas prices have been falling in recent weeks, but it has been a slow drip," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Oil prices are at their highest point of the year, preventing the typical seasonal plunge at the pump. Any strong gains in oil this week should push pump prices higher. However, the overall story this month should be lower gas prices, as demand declines. That's because Americans drive less in the winter due to shorter days and cooler weather."
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