Nashville's per-gallon gas price average decreases 1 cent

The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.44, down one cent from the mark of a week ago and four cents from the price of four weeks ago, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.

Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $3.42 Sunday, unchanged compared to the figure from the previous week and one cent fewer than the mark from the same period one year ago.

For comparison, the national average Sunday was $3.66, one cent more than the figure of a week ago.

Gasoline prices in the Southeast were on a streak of declines before the current conflict in Iraq began. The average price for a gallon of gasoline fell 51 days straight in Florida, 44 days in Georgia and 12 days in Tennessee. However, the streaks ended Saturday as the violence in Iraq caused oil prices to jump.

“Motorists should be ready for gas prices to increase around 5-10 cents,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “The price hike could continue depending on the duration of this conflict.”

Crude oil prices had their biggest weekly gain of this year because of the violence in Iraq. The cost for a barrel of oil closed Friday at $106.91 on the NYMEX — $4.25 more than the figure from the week prior ($102.66).

Iraq is the second largest crude producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). According to AAA, the market is concerned that violence will spread to the main oil-producing areas in southern Iraq and threaten supplies. In addition, continued conflict could delay the re-opening of a key pipeline in the region that has been closed since March. Saudi Arabia, the top OPEC producer, could be urged to increase supplies to offset potential shortages and meet growing global demand, AAA reported.

For comparison with Tennessee’s average of $3.42, Florida's average of $3.57 fell one cent from last week’s mark, while Georgia’s average of $3.55 dipped one cent.