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Newton gas price drops again but may rise from hurricane's impact
Gas pump

Newton County's average gas price dropped again last week as it has since June but analysts foresee a price increase related to the hurricane expected to hit the southeast U.S. this week.

The average price for unleaded regular in Newton County was $3.09 Sunday, down 4 cents from $3.13 on Sept. 19.

Newton's average price was lower than all contiguous counties except Walton ($3.07). It also was lower than the statewide average of $3.11 and the Metro Atlanta average of $3.18.

Metro Atlanta averages for all grades were $3.18 for regular, $3.55 for mid-grade, $3.93 for premium and $4.62 for diesel.

Drivers statewide were paying 7 cents less than a week ago, 29 cents less than a month ago, but 12 cents more than this time last year. 

It now costs $46.65 to fill a 15-gallon tank of regular gasoline in Georgia. Drivers are now paying almost $5 less to fill-up at the pump compared to a month ago.

The most expensive Georgia metro markets were Savannah ($3.22), Atlanta ($3.17) and Brunswick ($3.13).

Least expensive Georgia metro markets were Gainesville ($2.93), Dalton ($2.92) and Warner Robins ($2.88).

Downward Streak for National Average Ends

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by 4 cents to $3.71 (subject to change overnight). 

After declining for 98 consecutive days, the national average reversed course as fluctuating oil prices and tight supply due to planned and unplanned maintenance work at refineries on the West Coast and Midwest and the effect of Hurricane Ian contribute to rising pump prices. 

Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman, said the hurricane "could potentially shut down oil refineries production which could lead to higher pump prices."

"So far Georgia gas price average has not been impacted by the threat of a major storm,” she said.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said he could not recall seeing "a wider gamut of price behaviors coast to coast in my career."

"A slew of unexpected refinery disruptions, including fires and routine maintenance, have seemingly all happened in a short span of time, causing wholesale gas prices to spike in areas of the West Coast, Great Lakes and Plains states — and some of those areas could see prices spike another 25-75 cents per gallon or more until issues are worked out. 

"In addition, as (Hurricane) Ian nears the U.S. coast, some refiners could see limited disruption." 

According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand decreased from 8.49 million barrels a day to 8.32 million barrels a day last week.

Moreover, according to the EIA, total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 1.6 million barrels to 214.6 million barrels. Although gasoline demand has decreased, tight supply, threat of a major storm, and fluctuating oil prices have increased the national average. However, if gas demand remains low and continues to drop, pump price increases will likely be minimized as supply increases, Waiters said.