Charlotte, N.C. (March 8, 2021) – Pump prices in the Carolinas continue to increase on the week, with North and South Carolina state averages now being the most expensive daily average price since April 2019. North Carolina’s gas price average has climbed 22 cents since mid-February, while South Carolina’s average climbed 23 cents.
“Many factors are causing an uptick in prices at the pump including rising crude oil prices, a tightening of supply following last month’s winter storm and an increasing demand,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “I wouldn’t be surprised if prices went up another 5 to 10 cents in the coming days.”
North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.57, seeing a 1-cent increase on the week. This is 28 cents more expensive than a month ago and 36 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.51, seeing a 3-cent increase on the week. This is 29 cents more expensive than a month ago and 41 cents more expensive than last year. Both North and South Carolina are a part of the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets.
Today’s national gas price average has reached $2.77, seeing a nickel increase on the week, which is a 31-cent jump in the last month and nearly 40 cents more expensive compared to a year ago, which was right before state lockdowns.
Pump prices are increasing as refinery utilization is at an all-time low and crude oil prices surged by more than $2/bbl to $66/bbl on Friday, the highest price in nearly two years. The jump in crude followed OPEC’s surprise decision to minimally increase production in April.
The EIA’s report for the week ending February 26 shows refinery capacity at 56%, which is the lowest rate recorded by the agency. It is also 12 percentage points below last week and 18 percentage points lower than a year ago. EIA data also points to a decrease in gasoline stocks down to 243 million bbl, which is 3.5% below levels at the end of February 2020.
With refinery utilization at a record low, gasoline supplies tightening, demand modestly increasing and crude prices on the rise, cheap prices are in the rearview mirror for the immediate future.
At the end of last week, OPEC+ announced the decision to add only about 170,000 barrels per day to world markets in April. The industry had been expecting a production increase of about 1.5 million barrels per day in April, with more oil released in May, June, and beyond. This decision sent crude oil surging to the highest price point since April 2019. For this week, prices may continue to increase if the market remains optimistic about crude demand as vaccines become more widespread.
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.