State's per-gallon gas price average remains at $3.17

Tennessee saw a $3.17 per-gallon average price of regular unleaded gas last week, unchanged from the previous week, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The national average price was $3.39, 4 cents less than that of last week.

The average per-gallon price in Tennessee this time last year was $3.09.

"Although gas prices are forecast to remain relatively stable throughout the month, if a plan is announced to resolve the nation’s debt issues, we could see gas prices inch back up,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group, said in a release. "Gas prices are still about 10 cents higher than year-ago levels."

History has shown that by Dec. 31, the market tends to rally on economic optimism for the New Year, AAA said. The rally usually causes both oil and gas prices to increase at the start of January.

A barrel of oil closed Friday at $88.91 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, 63 cents more than the week prior.

The yearly national average is running at $3.63 per gallon for 2012, according to gasbuddy.com. It's all but guaranteed that 2012 will be the year with the highest average ever, the site said.

“We did the math and the numbers don’t lie,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, said in a release. “Last year’s average price of gasoline nationwide was $3.51 per gallon. The national average price of gasoline in the U.S. would have to drop to $2.35 per gallon or lower for every day for the remainder of 2012 in order for the 2012 yearly average price to fall below last year’s level.”