Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Jim Strickland says gas prices are the highest they have been since 2014 and are still climbing.

Pain at the pump: Metro Atlanta gas prices on the rise

With Atlanta gas prices rising to their highest level since the hurricane-propelled spikes of mid-2017, there is a growing chance of hitting $3 a gallon.

The average price of regular gas in the region on Friday was $2.76 a gallon, four cents a gallon below the national average, according to Gas Buddy’s AtlantaGasPrices web site.

“I underestimated how quickly crude oil inventories would drain,” said Patrick DeHaan, Gas Buddy’s senior petroleum analyst.

Average gas prices in Atlanta have risen 9 cents-a-gallon in a week and 22 cents-a-gallon in the past month. Prices are 49 cents a gallon higher than a year ago. In the southeast, Georgia has the second-highest prices, according to AAA. Only Florida’s prices are higher.

Several months ago, he predicted this spring’s high price would be about where it is now.

Now, he says the peak will depend on June’s upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. “I think $3-a-gallon is a stronger possibility now, perhaps a 40 percent chance of the average hitting that in Atlanta.”

OPEC has much less influence than in decades past, partly because of the U.S. surge in oil production through the Midwest. But demand and supply are balanced closely, so if OPEC raises production, it would mean an increase in supply globally and a drop in oil prices, which would eventually flow through to the pump.

The price of mid-grade and premium is already above $3 a gallon and some stations in metro Atlanta have raised even regular past that mark.

A Shell station in Acworth was charging $3.19 a gallon for regular Friday morning, according to Gas Buddy.

A Sam’s Club in Woodstock had the lowest price for regular: $2.45 a gallon.

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