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Rising crude oil prices push up gas costs in Newton County, Georgia
Gas pump

Newton County and Georgia gas prices have increased alongside rising crude oil costs in the past week because of increasing demand and OPEC holding back production, according to two analysts. 

Motorists were paying an average of $3.13 per gallon in Newton County today, Oct. 18, for regular unleaded gas, up about 7 cents per gallon since Oct. 11, according to AAA.

Prices on Sunday in Newton County ranged from lows of $2.99 per gallon at a Marathon station on Georgia Hwy. 81; to $3.19 at stations on Main Street in Porterdale and on Georgia Hwy. 36, according to a GasBuddy survey.

Slightly lower average prices for regular unleaded were seen in two neighboring counties, Rockdale ($3.11) and Butts ($3.12). Henry, Jasper and Walton counties all had the same average price as Newton, while Morgan’s average price was $3.17, according to AAA.

Metro Atlanta averages were $3.16 for regular unleaded, $3.48 for mid-grade, $3.81 for premium, and $3.39 for diesel.

Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $3.13 to $3.15 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. The national average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.19. 

Today’s statewide average is 9 cents more than a week ago, 18 cents more than last month and $1.15 more than this time last year, AAA reported.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 2.9 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.31 per gallon today. The national average is up 11.1 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.15 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy, historical gasoline prices in Metro Atlanta and the national average going back 10 years:

• October 18, 2020: Atlanta $1.99/g (U.S. Average: $2.15/g)

• October 18, 2016: Atlanta $2.28/g (U.S. Average: $2.23/g)

• October 18, 2011: Atlanta $3.38/g (U.S. Average: $3.46/g)

Montrae Waiters, spokesperson for AAA-The Auto Club Group, said, “The key driver for the rise of gas prices is crude oil, which typically accounts for between 50% and 60% of the price at the pump.

“Unfortunately, it’s still too early to tell when Georgians will see some type of relief regarding gas prices this season.”

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said, ”The national average closed the week by climbing to yet another fresh seven-year high, as the price of oil continues to drag gas prices along for the wild ride, leaving motorists on empty. 

"With OPEC holding back oil production and strong global oil demand, the situation will no doubt pave the road with even higher gas prices in the weeks ahead. 

“Until several bottlenecks ease, including supply chains and low global inventories of oil, natural gas and coal, we'll be stuck feeling the pinch of rising oil and gasoline prices," he said. “The bad news is that for now, all I see is the upward trend at the pump continuing into the weeks ahead with no sign of relief just yet."

According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2 million barrels to 223.1 million barrels last week. 

Gasoline demand also fell from 9.43 million barrels a day to 9.19 million barrels a day. Typically, lower demand alongside a decline in stocks would result in downward market pressure on pump prices. But high crude prices (above $80 per barrel) remain the main culprit for rising pump prices. As crude prices remain elevated, pump prices will likely follow suit, according to AAA.