Tennessee's per-gallon gas price average decreases 9 cents

The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Tennessee was $3.33 as of yesterday, a decrease of nine cents compared to the figure from the previous week, according to AAA.

This marks the seventh straight week the state has seen prices, on average, dip. Previously forecasted expectations that motorists in the Southeast would pay upwards of $4 a gallon this month are now being adjusted.

Fuel prices decreased further after the U.S. Commerce Department reported retail sales dropped in March and a report showed consumer sentiment is at a nine-month low, AAA reports.

At this time last year, retail gas prices were climbing their way to the year’s peak average of $3.94 nationally. During April 2012, motorists paid more than $3.80 a gallon for regular retail gasoline. As of Sunday, the national average price was $3.53, a seven-cent per-gallon decrease. More specifically, and to compare to Tennessee, Georgia’s per-gallon average of $3.40 decreased six cents.

In Nashville, the average per-gallon price of regular gas was $3.36 as of Sunday, a drop of six cents compared to the figure from the previous week. (See chart below.)

Fuel demand has lagged since the start of the year, causing both OPEC and the Energy Information Administration to cut their global oil demand outlook for the year, AAA reports. This comes at a time when U.S. oil output is at a 20-year high and supplies are plentiful.

"Oil and gas prices will likely continue on this downward trend until stronger economic figures are reported,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “Although the economic news is less than great, motorists will welcome the falling gas prices as the summer driving season begins.”

A barrel of oil closed Friday at $91.61 on the New York Mercantile Exchange — $1.09 cents less than the mark from the week prior.