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STATE: AAA: Despite increase in demand, gas prices in Carolinas continue to decrease

Pump prices in the Carolinas continue to decline, with both North and South Carolina averages decreasing by 2 cents on the week – a total discount of 6 cents in the past two weeks.

“Demand is up and will likely continue to increase as the weather gets warmer and vaccinations become more widely available,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “We’ll see fluctuations throughout the spring season, but as of right now prices are trending cheaper.”

North Carolina’s current gas price average is $2.62, seeing a 2-cent decrease on the week. This is 6 cents more expensive than a month ago and 85 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s current gas price average is $2.58, also seeing a 2-cent decrease on the week. This is 8 cents more expensive than a month ago and 88 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina is also a part of the nation’s top 10 least expensive state averages.

The national average Monday was $2.87, which is more expensive on the week (+1 cent), month (+12 cents) and year (+94 cents).

One factor that may help to keep the national gas price average below $3/gallon is the price of crude, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the price at the pump. After hitting a 12-month high of $66/bbl last month, crude has been priced mostly at the $60/bbl mark recently. If it stays low, even with demand increasing, it will contribute to less frequent pump price jumps. However, at the end of last week, crude started to see higher movement following a production announcement by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus (OPEC+).

Crude oil prices saw gains at the end of the week following the OPEC+ announcement that they will modestly increase production by 350,000 bbl starting in May. The production increase is less than the market expected, but enough to send crude oil prices higher. This week prices are likely to fluctuate, but not spike.

For updated state and metro prices log on to https://gasprices.aaa.com/