Gas prices have dropped in the past week. (Photo: MGNOnline)

State and local gas prices have declined in the past week, thanks to dropping energy prices, but competing circumstances likely mean volatile costs going forward.

“Gas prices have the potential to drop 10–15 cents, based on what happened last week,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a prepared statement. “However, refinery maintenance season is fast approaching and could spoil this big break for motorists.”

Every year between February and April, reduced oil refinery output and the switch to summer-blend gas cause a price increase of 30 to 70 cents, Jenkins said.

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But dropping oil prices could lessen that impact.

“Expect volatility at the pump as these forces collide,” Jenkins said of the dropping oil prices and the maintenance season that generally leads to increases.

In Chattanooga, the current average is $2.35, which is 2 cents lower than this time last week and 11 cents more than it was a month ago.

This time last year, the cost of regular gas in Chattanooga was 36 cents lower than it currently is.

Overall, Tennessee gas prices declined 2 cents in the past week. Sunday’s state average of $2.39 was 9 cents less than a month ago and 34 cents more than this time last year, according to AAA.

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