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AAA: Carolina gas prices see slight increase as Independence Day travelers prepare to hit the road

Pump prices in the Carolinas are seeing slight increases in the lead up to Independence Day, as 1.2 million North Carolinians and 635,800 South Carolinians prepare to hit the road for the holiday weekend. The prices this Independence Day will be almost a dollar more than last year, as prices were severely suppressed due to low demand because of the pandemic.

“Although motorists will pay the most to fill up for the holiday since 2014, gas prices in the Carolinas are seeing minimal changes,” said Tiffany Wright, public affairs director, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “It’s typical to see prices increase ahead of a holiday, but as of now increases are slight.”

North Carolina gas prices are averaging $2.87 per gallon, while South Carolina gas prices are averaging $2.81 per gallon.

North Carolina’s gas prices decreased by 1 cent on the week, leaving the average 3 cents cheaper than a month ago but 81 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s gas prices increased by 5 cents, leaving the average 3 cents cheaper than a month ago but 87 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina is also a part of the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets.

The national average is more expensive on the week (+2 cents), the month (+5 cents) and the year (+92 cents). The latest weekly increase follows the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, which showed that gas demand increased from 9.36 million b/d to 9.44 million b/d, while total domestic gas stocks decreased by 3 million bbl to 240 million bbl.

Crude oil, and in turn gas prices, are more expensive compared to years past mostly due to three major factors: confidence in worldwide vaccination rollout, global oil demand spikes, and the easing of travel restrictions leading to optimism for leisure travel. Last week, crude oil sold at $74/bbl, the highest price in nearly three years. Motorists can expect little relief at the pump following the holiday. With crude oil prices likely to continue climbing, gas prices are most likely to see increases through the end of summer.

Crude prices increased last week due to optimism that vaccine rollout will continue to help crude demand recover. In fact, the price of crude crossed the $74 per barrel threshold and prices have not been at this level since October 2018. Additionally, crude prices were bolstered by EIAs latest report revealing that total domestic crude supplies decreased by 7.6 million bbl to 459.1 million bbl. For this week, another reduction in domestic crude supply could push prices up further after EIA’s next weekly report is released.

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