11:39am

Mon February 20, 2012
Prices May Dent Tennessee's Economic Recovery

Conflict with Iran Driving Gas Prices Higher

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The nation has seen a rapid rise in fuel prices in recent weeks. The Triple “A” Fuel Gauge report says the average price for regular gas in the U.S. now stands at is $3.55.

The average price here in Tennessee is up to $3.48. Middle Tennessee’s prices are some of the highest in the state at $3.52.  Memphis and Knoxville stand at $3.46 and regular gas in Chattanooga is selling for $3.49.

Dr. Murat Arik, an economist with Middle Tennessee State, says if gas prices remain higher for any length of time, it could put a serious dent in the state’s economic recovery.

"I would actually put it at around $500 million additional spending in energy in Tennessee. That means consumers will actually shift their expenditures from other items to the energy."

Dr. Arik says the rise in gas prices is being driven by supply concerns as a result of the West’s escalating conflict with Iran, a major oil producer.