Nashville's per-gallon gas price average increases 5 cents

The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.43, up five cents from the mark of a week ago and up 21 cents from the $3.22 figure from four weeks ago, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.

Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $3.41 Sunday, up seven cents compared to the $3.34 figure from the previous week.

By contrast, the national average for gasoline ($3.58) inched up three cents in the past week.

Gasoline prices continued their spring push this past week amid tightened supplies and increasing demand. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is the highest since August. Prices in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee reached their highest levels since March (2013), September and August, respectively.

Prices in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are exceeding year-over-year levels, because at this time last year, pump prices were tumbling from an unusual late February peak. In 2011 and 2012, prices followed a more traditional trend peaking in May and April, respectively.

“Prices may move a little higher in the coming weeks,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “However, the end is likely in sight for many drivers across the country. The exception to this trend could be motorists in regions where unexpected refinery or distribution issues cause prices to temporarily spike.”

Every spring refiners are required to switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1, with gasoline required to be sold at the pumps by June 1, AAA reports. This seasonal refinery maintenance and the actual changeover itself increases the possibility of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in an area that is normally supplied by a limited or offline facility. Such refinery issues have been minimal this spring, but the coming weeks will bear close attention, AAA reports.

For comparison with Tennessee’s average of $3.41, Florida's average of $3.67 rose four cents from last week’s mark, while Georgia’s average of $3.51 increased nine cents.