Gas Prices Back on the Rise

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Knoxville (WVLT) - News from the gas pumps isn't good tonight as we head into the Holidays. While the price of crude oil has fallen from it's record high of more than 90 dollars a barrel on Friday, it isn't falling much. Not at all, it's only down by about two dollars.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy's been looking into the situation.

Could these higher crude oil prices pump up gas prices? AAA says it's hard to tell, but if oil prices don't drop, most likely. Right now the average price for a gallon of unleaded in Tennessee is $2.69. That's 12 cents less than the national average, which is the highest since early August. Drivers say they same gas that fuels their cars fuels frustration.

Nelson Hall's T'd off, and that doesn't mean tanked off.

"It does get to a point where it kind of does tick you off," Hall said.

At a Tennessee state average of $2.69 for a gallon of unleaded, he says his weekly fill-up takes away more money and more fun.

"I have to cut back the entertainment, like going to movies, hanging out with friends," Hall said.

"We hit 90 dollars a barrel on oil prices last week. And that's far and away above any average we've had before," AAA spokesman Don Lindsey said.

That's also what's kept prices up on gas station signs.

"If the price of oil keeps going up, it could be that we're going to have to have some increase in the gas prices, but when and how much is anyone's best guess," Lindsey said.

Besides draining his wallet, used car dealer Mike Hamdallah says gas prices have drained his business.

"It's cut my business by 20 to 30 percent because people aren't trading cars, they can't afford to trade cars," Hamdallah said.

But pumps could be pricier. Crude oil prices have been high for six months. That usually cranks up the gas prices.

"Gas prices haven't followed suit like they used to," Lindsey said.

Lindsey says low post-Labor-Day demand and plenty of inventory has let gas companies keep prices stable.

"They've cut into their profit margins because they're selling gasoline at a price that's lower than what they buy oil for to make gasoline," Lindsey said.

But option soon could run out of gas. Tired of paying more at the pump? A-A-A says pay attention to your tire pressure.

"If everybody in this city had their tire pressure at the proper pressure, I'd almost guarantee we'd see a drop in price because we'd be using a lot less," Lindsey said.

Hall's plan:

"You just have to be ready for it and learn how to budget more," Hall said.

To keep his S-U-V full of G-A-S.

AAA says before you complain too much about gas prices, only five states boast cheaper average gas prices than Tennessee: Delaware, Missouri, New jersey, South Carolina and Virginia.

Normally, we see more of price drop off after Labor Day. Last year, it was 52 cents. This year prices dropped 3 cents in the same period. That's, again, thanks to the higher crude oil prices.

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