As the political turmoil in Africa and the Middle East continues, that uncertainty on the other side of the globe is hitting East Tennesseans in the wallet.
AAA reports the national average price for regular gasoline at $3.47 per gallon.
On February 4, the average price of regular gasoline in Tennessee was $2.94 per gallon. As of Friday morning, AAA's daily fuel gauge report indicated the average price in Tennessee has surged to $3.35 for a gallon of regular.
"These are the highest prices we have seen in our area since October 2008," said Don Lindsey with AAA East Tennessee. "This is all tied to the unrest overseas in the Middle East and Libya that has raised the price of a barrel of oil to more than $100."
Lindsey said there is no end in sight to the current surge in gasoline prices.
"It won't go down until the idea that the political process has settled itself and things are back to normal. There needs to be a feeling that the security of the oil fields and the oil refineries is there. Until that happens, we'll probably continue to see high oil prices. There's just no telling how long this will last," said Lindsey.
Lindsey said drivers should focus on what they can control.
"We need to do our best to use less gasoline. We also need to make sure we are using the gasoline in an efficient way." Lindsey added, "It is critical that we keep the cars in good shape. We should drive at a smooth and moderate speed because sharp accelerations burn more gas. We should unload our cars as much as we possibly can to reduce vehicle weight. Those simple boring things will make the most difference in how well we weather this situation."
Tennessee's highest recorded average price for a gallon of regular gasoline occurred on September 15, 2008. AAA's Fuel Gauge Report said the statewide average briefly spiked on that day to $4.11 per gallon. Knoxville topped the state on September 15, 2008, with a price of $4.65 per gallon of regular.
Mobile Gas Market
If you want to find the lowest gas prices in your particular area, there are several internet resources that help measure the local marketplace.
There are also several cell phone apps that help drivers find the cheapest gas while traveling. Gasbuddy.com provides the most widely-used application for smartphones and relies on users to report current prices at various stations.
AAA's fuel gauge report provides a more general overview of average gas prices on a national, state, and regional level.