Charlotte, N.C. (March 1, 2021) – Gas prices in the Carolinas continue to increase as the spike is a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U.S. refineries offline and pushed utilization from an average of 83% down to an atypical low of 68% according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
“March could very well bring us the most expensive pump prices of 2021,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “If crude oil prices show signs of stability, with the exception of hurricane season, by the end of the month we could see some relief at the pump.”
North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.56, seeing an 8-cent increase on the week. This is 27 cents more expensive than a month ago and 29 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.48, seeing a 6-cent increase on the week. This is 30 cents more expensive than a month ago and 31 cents more expensive than last year.
Today’s national average is up 9 cents on the week to $2.72 – a 30-cent increase from the beginning from the beginning of February, 28 cents more than a year ago and the most expensive daily national average since August 2019.
AAA forecasts the national gas price average to hit at least $2.80 in March. For motorists, this means they can expect a continued spike of at least 5 to 10 cents in local markets until refinery operations are stable. In its latest data, the EIA reported demand at 7.2 million b/d. Both utilization and demand rates have not been reported this low since last May.
Although a stronger dollar and market concerns regarding interest rates pushed crude prices lower to end the week, prices increased over $2 earlier in the week, due to growing market optimism that as vaccines become more available, crude demand will recover. Crude prices rose midweek despite the EIA’s latest report revealing that total domestic crude inventories increased by 1.3 million bbl last week, brining the supply level to 463 million bbl. For this week, crude prices could rise if next week’s EIA report shows a decrease in total stocks.
For updated state and metro prices log on to https://gasprices.aaa.com/
About AAA – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.