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Newton gas prices dropping as supplies return
Some stations still without fuel despite pipeline returning to operation; prices expected to rise again with typical holiday demand
gas pump
Several gas stations across Newton County were left with empty tanks Thursday, May 13, 2021, days after the Colonial Pipeline was forced to shutdown due to a cyberattack. (Mason Wittner | The Covington News)

Newton County and Metro Atlanta gas prices this week decreased at the pump compared to the previous week as supplies continued to recover from the recent East Coast pipeline shutdown.

However, motorists also prepared to hit the road for the Memorial Day holiday which has traditionally resulted in gas prices increasing. 

Newton County gas stations today, May 25, were charging an average of $2.97 per gallon for regular unleaded gas — 6 cents lower than the $3.03 average of a week ago but higher than $2.88 on May 10, according to information from AAA-The Auto Club Group.

That was on par with stations throughout Metro Atlanta that are charging an average of $2.98 per gallon of regular unleaded, which is a drop from $3.02 a week ago, AAA reported.

After a week of pump price spikes, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline held steady at $3.04 for six days, following a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline that halted its operations and severely constrained the delivery of gasoline along the East Coast and Southeast. 

In Newton County, a review of the gas availability tracker today showed a few stations still without gas but most with full or partial supplies.

“Although the pipeline is currently operating, some gas stations across Georgia continue to see fuel outages as supply logistics work to return to normal,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. 

“While pump prices are anticipated to increase due to high demand for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we don’t expect higher gas prices to deter motorists from hitting the road since many Americans are eager to travel.”

Motorists in Georgia are now paying an average price of $2.93 per gallon for regular unleaded which is 3 cents less than a week ago, 23 cents more than last month and $1.21 more than this time last year.

It now costs motorists $43.95 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; which is $7.05 more than what motorists paid in January 2020 when pump prices hit their peak of $2.46 per gallon.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic refinery utilization increased slightly to 86.3% last week, while total domestic supply decreased by 2 million barrels to 234.2 million barrels and demand increased from 8.8 million barrels a day to 9.2 million barrels a day. 

With the gasoline distribution system continuing to recover from the attack and grappling with a shortage of gasoline tanker drivers, higher refinery utilization rates will ensure refined products, including gasoline, continue to flow where they are most needed. 

As demand and supply move in sync, the national average is expected to continue stabilizing. However, there could be some fluctuation this week with the lead up to Memorial Day Weekend, during which AAA forecasts 34 million Americans to take road trips, a news release stated.

Since May 17, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by 1 cent to $3.03.

The most expensive Georgia metro markets were Atlanta ($2.98), Athens ($2.97), and Gainesville ($2.95).

The least expensive Georgia metro markets were Warner Robins ($2.81), Columbus ($2.82), and Albany ($2.83).