STATE: Icy temps fuel spikes at pump in Carolinas, AAA reports

Published 3:09 pm Monday, February 22, 2021

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Motorists in the Carolinas are seeing some of the most expensive gas prices in over a year. With the forced shutdown of Gulf Coast and some Midwest refineries due to last week’s winter weather, gasoline stocks have tightened and pump prices have skyrocketed.

“Crude production is offline because refineries are now closed,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Until operations resume and production is back to normal levels, we can expect to see the spike in prices stick around.”

North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.48, seeing a 13-cent increase on the week. This is 26 cents more expensive than last month and 18 cents more expensive than a year ago. South Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.42, seeing a 14-cent increase on the week. This is 25 cents more expensive than last month and 22 cents more expensive than a year ago. South Carolina is also still a part of the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets.

Today’s national average is now up by 13 cents to $2.63 – the most expensive national average since October 2019.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports gasoline stocks sit at 257 million bbl. Just 2 million bbl short of a year ago, stock levels are relatively healthy. That will allow ample supply to get to impacted areas. EIA’s latest demand measurement of 8.4 million b/d is the highest reported since early November of last year. However, AAA expects that number to be lower in this Wednesday’s report as last week’s winter storm took motorists off the road.

Crude prices took a step back last week amid market concern that crude demand may not rebound as expected, but prices did push higher earlier in the week due to supply and delivery impacts from the winter storm. Crude prices were also bolstered by EIA’s latest weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 7.3 million bbl, bringing the supply level to 461.8 million bbl. For this week, crude prices will likely rise if EIA’s next weekly report shows another decrease in total stocks, but price gains could be limited again if demand concerns persist.

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Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at