Gas prices still showing decline

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com

Gas prices fell on average another 1.5 cents this week bringing the Tennessee Gas Price average to $2.99 per gallon, although prices are dropping more slowly in Carter County.

According to AAA, the decline comes on the heels of the fear of the Omicron-driven economic slowdown coupled with news of a severe fire at the Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Baytown, Texas, last Thursday that injured four people.

The refinery is one of the largest refining and petrochemical facilities in the United States.

“We should learn more in the coming days about the extent of the damage to the refinery,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA. “If it can be back up and running in a few weeks, the effect could be minimal. But if repairs take months, consumers could begin seeing higher prices again at the pump.

“If the damage forces the plant offline for long, the disruption could push gasoline prices higher. Before the fire, the national average had declined steadily. Now the decline has slowed, but the national average for a gallon of gas still fell two cents on the week to $3.28.”

The drop in prices is one center cheaper than last month but still 95 cents more than this time last year according to AAA.

The higher prices in Carter County have made some travelers who came home for Christmas wonder why prices are cheaper in outlying areas less than what they are in the county.

“I filled up at an Ingles gas station in Athens and it was $2.77 on Christmas morning without any discounts,” said Jason Cardin, who came to Carter County to celebrate Christmas with his wife’s family. “It would make me want to stretch my gas a little further to see if I could get back to a gas station down the interstate in Greene County.

“I have never understood how gas prices work the way they do. It makes one wonder how one county’s gas prices can be so different from another county’s gas prices.”

Most gas stations in Carter County are averaging $2.99 per gallon while prices in Greene County are averaging $2.84 per gallon. Across the state line in Weber City, Va., a recent trip showed the average price of unleaded gasoline to be $2.88 per gallon.

The national average of $3.28 is 11 cents less than a month ago and $1.03 more than a year ago according to the report.