Charlotte, N.C. (March 22, 2021) – After weeks of seeing almost daily increases, gas price averages in the Carolinas are showing signs of stability, increasing by only one cent on the week.
“While prices continue to trend higher across the Carolinas, increased gasoline stocks are slowing the rate of rising costs at the pump,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Refinery utilization has also resumed and despite an increase in demand, we could be seeing some stability.”
North Carolina’s current gas price average is currently $2.68, seeing a 1-cent increase on the week. This is 20 cents more expensive than last month and 73 cents more expensive than a year ago. South Carolina’s current gas price average is $2.64, also seeing a 1-cent increase on the week. This is 22 cents more expensive than last month and 77 cents more expensive than a year ago.
The national gas price average has also shown signs of stability, holding steady at $2.88 for the last 5 days. Still, today’s average is the highest price since May 2019 and is more expensive on the week (+2 cents), month (+25 cents) and year (+74 cents).
In its latest weekly reports, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows demand decreased from 8.7 million b/d to 8.4 million b/d, indicating that Americans are slowly returning to the road, likely due to more schools opening and spring break. Furthermore, supply increased from 231.6 million bbl to 232 million bbl. While still one of the lowest levels of 2021, the increase in supply is promising especially alongside increasing refinery utilization rates, which jumped from 69% to 76%. That is just 7 percentage points away from utilization levels before February’s Texas winter storm.
Further aiding the more modest jumps at the pump in the last week is the lower price of crude oil. Crude averaged around $63/bbl – down $2/bbl from the previous week’s average of $65/bbl. In the week ahead, motorists can expect fluctuation at the pump. However, large jumps are not likely for the majority of consumers.
Although the price of crude increased (Friday) after Saudi Arabia reported a drone attack on an oil facility that caused a fire but no injuries or damage, crude prices declined on the week due to market concern that demand may stumble as some countries restart coronavirus restrictions to curb growing infection rates. The decrease in crude prices was also supported by EIA reporting that total crude inventories increased by 2.4 million bbl to 500.8 million bbl. For this week, crude prices may decline further if demand concerns persist.
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.