ATLANTA — Newton County's average gas price was at the state's average Sunday after the cost rose at the pump compared to a week ago in Georgia.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas was $3.39 in both Newton County and statewide, AAA reported.
Cheapest prices in Newton County were found at retailers along Salem Road, where they ranged from $3.19 at the north end near Kroger, to $3.29 at a store at Salem Road's intersection with Ga. Hwy. 81, according to gas price analyst gasbuddy.com.
It now costs $50.85 to fill a 15-gallon tank of regular gasoline.
The average price in Newton County was 23 cents higher than on Jan. 16 after the 29-cent state gas tax was reinstated the previous week after 10 months.
Newton County's average price Sunday was higher than all its contiguous counties except its two southern neighbors, Butts and Jasper, where it was $3.43 and $3.41 respectively, according to AAA.
The statewide average was 14 cents more than a week ago, 67 cents more than a month ago, and 20 cents more than this time last year.
“Georgians continue to take a punch at the pump,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group (ACG) spokesperson. “The rise in crude oil prices continues to be the major culprit for higher pump prices nationwide.”
Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by 9 cents to $3.50.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said the national average price of gasoline rose for the fifth straight week as retailers passed along the rise in wholesale gasoline prices due to "continued challenges."
The challenges included refinery utilization not fully recovered from December's cold weather and "refinery maintenance season that's just around the corner," De Haan said.
"There appears to be little good news on the gas price front, with prices unlikely to turn around any time soon," De Haan said.
"Because of the surge in prices last spring, many refineries that had planned maintenance deferred maintenance until 2023," he said. "With the can kicked to this year, we may have similar challenges producing enough refined products to meet demand, especially with the European Union cutting off refined products from Russia starting Feb. 5."
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, gas demand rose slightly from 8.05 to 8.14 million barrels a day last week.
Although winter storms at the end of 2022 have contributed to tighter supply, the mild winter this month may have led to more drivers getting behind the wheel, pushing pump prices higher.
Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 1.7 million barrels to 232 million barrels. Rising gas demand and elevated oil prices have contributed to higher pump prices. If demand continues to grow, drivers will likely see pump prices increase this week, AAA reported.