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Newton gas price rise attributed to rising crude oil prices, OPEC decision
Gas pump

Newton County's average gas price is now up to at least $3.02 per gallon following an increase this weekend.

The lowest prices in Newton County on Sunday were at locations on Salem Road ($2.95 and $2.96), Alcovy Road ($2.96) and U.S. Highway 278 ($2.97), according to's daily survey of stations.

The price in the county increased about 4 cents in a week and mirrors Metro Atlanta's and Georgia's averages, according to two regional gas price analysts.

They followed rising crude oil prices and OPEC's recent decision not to increase production, according to information from AAA-The Auto Club Group and the website

Metro Atlanta motorists are now paying an average price of $3.02 to $3.06 per gallon for regular unleaded gas. 

GasBuddy surveyed a total of 2,134 stations in Metro Atlanta, which showed gas prices in Atlanta are 7.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand $1.05 per gallon higher than October 2020.

AAA surveys up to 130,000 stations based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express.

Today's state average is 4 to 8 cents more than a week ago, 8 cents more than last month and $1.07 more than this time last year, AAA reported.

Motorists now are paying $45.90 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline — $9.00 more than what motorists paid in January 2020 when pump prices hit their peak of $2.46 per gallon.

The most expensive Georgia metro markets were Savannah ($3.18), Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($3.15), and Brunswick ($3.11)., while the least expensive markets were Catoosa-Dade-Walker in northwest Georgia ($2.98), Columbus ($2.99), and Augusta-Aiken ($3.00). 

Prices increased this week despite the federal Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) latest report showing that total domestic crude inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels to 420.9 million barrels last week, according to AAA.

Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman, said the probable cause for the increase "appears to be an uptick in demand and the high price of crude oil, which is stubbornly staying above $70 per barrel."

"High crude prices will likely contribute to gas prices remaining elevated this season,” Waiters said.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said OPEC's decision not to raise production more than it already agreed to in July drove prices to their highest level since 2014.

"Last week saw oil prices advance to their highest in seven years, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil surpassing the critical $80 per barrel level," he said. 

"The OPEC decision caused an immediate reaction in oil prices, and amidst what is turning into a global energy crunch, motorists are now spending over $400 million more on gasoline every single day than they were just a year ago. 

"The problems continue to relate to a surge in demand as the global economy recovers, combined with deep cuts to production from early in the pandemic. If Americans can’t slow their appetite for fuels, we've got no place for prices to go but up," De Haan said.

AAA reported that the increases came after OPEC+, which comprises the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and their allies, chose not to move forward with an agreement to produce 800,000 barrels a day in November. Instead, OPEC+ decided to keep its 400,000 barrels a day planned production increase intact for now. 

The U.S. Department of Energy also dispelled speculation that the Biden Administration would sell crude oil held in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which drove prices up. 

The move could have put more crude into the domestic market, but it is unlikely to have had a sustained downward impact on oil prices, AAA stated in its news release. 

Gasoline demand also increased slightly from 9.40 million barrels a day to 9.44 million barrels a day. The slight increase in gas demand has contributed to the rise in the national average. However, the main culprit for rising pump prices remains high crude prices above $70 per barrel, AAA reported.