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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

Tennesseans are finding the lowest prices at the pump since April. The state average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.56 – 17 cents less than this year’s high, and 28 cents more than this time last year.

Gas prices continued their downward trek last week, declining another 5 cents.  The state average declined for the 24th consecutive day on Sunday, for a total discount of 14 cents.

The most expensive gas price averages were in Nashville ($2.62), Morristown ($2.58), and Jackson ($2.58), while the least expensive gas price averages were in Cleveland ($2.46), Chattanooga ($2.48), and Knoxville ($2.52).

“Tennesseans are saving 20 cents per gallon, compared to when gas prices peaked during Memorial Day weekend,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Gasoline is becoming less expensive to produce and sell thanks to lower crude prices and cheaper-to-produce winter blend fuel. Retail prices have not quite caught up with declines on the wholesale side, so motorists should see another round of discounts this week. However, fuel prices definitely have the potential to reverse course based on any fluctuations in the stock market due to Election Day and the activation of U.S. sanctions against Iranian crude. Regardless, AAA believes the highest prices of the year are behind us.”

Crude oil prices are hovering near seven-month lows. On Friday, WTI settled at $63.14 per barrel – nearly $4.50 less than the week before, and the lowest daily settlement since April 6. The weekly average price for U.S. crude has declined the past four consecutive weeks. Before then, crude prices faced upward pressure amid growing concerns that U.S. sanctions against Iranian crude would cause a global supply shortage. However, those concerns are being quelled by increased production by countries like the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Crude production in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia all remain strong. U.S. oil inventories rose for the sixth consecutive week, according to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration. Domestic supplies rose 3.2 million barrels from the week before. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories dropped by 3.2 million barrels. Meanwhile, OPEC production levels for October reportedly reached the highest output levels since 2016 as some members boosted production in preparation of the Iran sanctions.