Christmas shoppers may be paying more for many of their gift items this year, but Chattanoogans are getting some reprieve this fall in what they pay for energy.
Gasoline and electricity prices are both down from the peak levels reached last year and are likely to continue to fall for the rest of the year, according to reports released Monday.
The average price of gasoline in Chattanooga fell last week another 4 cents a gallon to the cheapest price in more than two years, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga released Monday. Regular gasoline sold Sunday in Chattanooga for an average of $2.67 a gallon, or 31 cents a gallon less than a year ago.
Nationwide, gas prices have dropped nearly 37% from the peak of $5.09 a gallon reached in June 2022, GasBuddy.com said.
Chattanooga gas prices averaged 54 cents a gallon less than the current U.S. average of $3.21 a gallon Sunday. The Circle K station on Ashland Terrace in Red Bank was selling regular gas Monday at $2.43 a gallon — one of the lowest prices anywhere in Tennessee.
"With the national average price of gasoline declining for the 10th straight week, motorists are enjoying the longest downward trend at the pump since the summer of 2022," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in Monday's report. "The timing couldn't be better as Americans head into the holidays, leaving them with more in their wallets at a time of year many start to spend on gifts for loved ones."
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for January delivery fell 68 cents to $74.86 per barrel in trading Monday. Brent crude for January delivery fell 60 cents to $79.98 per barrel.
The price of electricity in Chattanooga also will dip slightly next month with the December fuel cost adjustment from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which passes along cheaper natural gas and coal prices to consumers.
For the typical Chattanooga household that uses 1091 kilowatthours of electricity a month, the average residential bill next month will total $132.44, or 88 cents less than the price for the same amount of power this month, according to EPB.
Electricity prices in Chattanooga for December 2023 will be up by nearly 1.2% from a year ago but still 1.3% less than the prices in the summer of 2022 when fuel costs jumped for TVA in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine. A drop in fuel costs in the past year will more than offset the 4.5% increase in wholesale base rates adopted by TVA, starting Oct. 1 and a separate rate increase adopted this spring by EPB directors.
"The lower fuel rate is mostly due to lower purchased power and gas prices, relative to the three-year time frame," TVA spokesperson Scott Brooks said in an emailed statement Monday. "This is the lowest fuel cost since March of 2022."
From the peak inflation rate of 9.1% reached in June 2022, the rate of overall inflation dropped to 3.2% last month, due in part to cheaper gasoline prices and power rates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Despite the dip in electricity prices, colder weather is projected to boost the monthly power bills for most households heated with electricity in Chattanooga.
To help consumers limit their power consumption, EPB provides free energy audits from its EPB Energy Pros. EPB customers may schedule a phone consultation or in-person Home Energy Check-up with EPB Energy Pros at epb.com/energypros or by calling 423-648-372.