You might want to fill up now before you hit the road for your summer vacation.
Fuel prices in Georgia are down to a relatively low $2.64 per gallon of regular gas, four cents less than a week ago and 14 cents less than this time last year, according to AAA.
Experts at AAA chalk that up to reduced demand following inclement weather in other parts of the country, but AAA spokesman Montrae Waiters said drivers can expect prices to go back up.
“The drop in gasoline prices could be a result of recent unpredictable weather in the Rockies and the Midwest,” Waiters said. “However, with summer on the horizon, motorists should not be surprised if pump prices increase during the run-up to Memorial Day.”
One reason gas prices tend to rise in the summer is that the fuel at the pump is actually a different blend in the hot season, according to AAA.
Winter-blend gasoline needs to be able to evaporate at a lower temperature for cars to start and run properly in the cold, but it also produces more emissions than summer-blend gas.
Summer-blend gas is slightly more expensive to produce, and refineries switch between the two twice each year, which requires production to be shut down. That means the cost increases get passed on to drivers.
You’ll pay a little more than the state average if you fill up in Cobb, where the average price is $2.68 per gallon, but Georgia’s pump prices are doing better than the national average, $2.64 compared to $2.85.
The priciest pumps of the state can be found in Atlanta, where the average price is $2.69, and the cheapest gas in the state is in northwest Georgia. In Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties, you can get a gallon of regular for $2.47.
At the BP on South Marietta Parkway near Fairground Street in Marietta Monday afternoon, drivers were coming in and out to fill up their tanks. Among them was Nancy West, a traveling piano teacher from Midtown with students in Marietta.
As her pump clicked off, she lifted the hose above her head to make sure every last drop ended up in her tank. Because she travels for work, she feels the pressure when gas goes up, but she’s learned strategies to save money.
“It hits me hard. It does,” she said. “At Publix, once a month, you can buy a gas card at half price if you buy $50 worth of groceries, so I’m always doing that special. Some of the places are offering loyalty points and stuff, so I’m thinking of switching over to a gas card to get some money back.”
At another pump, Marietta homemaker Annelisa Livingston was filling up for the first time in a long time. Her family recently returned from their summer trip to Minneapolis.
“This is crazy right now,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve put gas in in at least two months, because my husband usually does it. But $2.67 for regular? That’s crazy.”