Average gas prices remain relatively steady

The average price consumers are paying at the pump for regular unleaded gas has remained relatively steady over the last couple of weeks, according to a spokeswoman for AAA’s The Auto Club Group.

Jessica Brady said Georgia’s average price is $3.12 per gallon, a 3-cent decrease from last week. Georgia experienced the largest decrease when compared to its neighboring states, Florida, and Tennessee. Overall, when compared with prices throughout the United States, the price of gas in Georgia has continued to be cheaper than the average price nationwide.

The nation’s average price is $3.23 a gallon, while motorists in Florida are paying an average of $3.25 a gallon. Florida’s is a one-cent decline from the previous week, and the current national price is a one-cent increase, Brady said.

While Tennessee’s average price is lower than the nation’s, Georgia’s and Florida’s –– at $3.06 a gallon –– it remained unchanged from the week prior.

“Although the national average for a gallon of gasoline rose one cent, state prices in the Southeast remain stable, with no increase,” Brady said. “However, the rate of decrease at the pump may begin to slow as we approach the New Year, and the market rallies, as more uplifting economic news is released.”

Various reports were released last week showing a positive boost for the U.S. economy, the AAA spokesperson added.

The stability in gas prices comes at a time when crude oil is nearing $100 a barrel, again. It settled at $99.68 a barrel, on Dec. 23, on the New York Mercantile Exchange — an increase of $6.15 from the week prior, Brady said.

United States Department of Labor reports show a rise in single-family home purchases in November to a seven-month high, as U.S. unemployment claims declined by 4,000 to 364,000 last week, she added.

Simultaneously, a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report showed that U.S. stockpiles of crude oil fell by 10.6 million barrels and consumer confidence increased from 64.1, to 69.9 during the latter part of November, which was more than the 67.7 that was anticipated, according to Brady.

Brady said another factor impacting gasoline and oil prices this week is the continuation of pressure on Iran’s nuclear program, as more countries join the effort to crush Iran’s nuclear efforts.