Gas Prices Expected to Remain Stable Over Easter Weekend
After increasing 10 cents over the past month, gasoline prices in North and South Carolina have stabilized and are unlikely to increase dramatically for the Easter holiday weekend.
"No one can predict with certainty what will happen to gasoline prices this summer," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "But the good news today is we are currently paying $1.20 per gallon less this Easter than last year and more than 60 cents a gallon less than two years ago."
The average price for a gallon of unleaded self-serve gasoline in North Carolina on Wednesday was $2.01 and $1.899 in South Carolina. A month ago, North Carolina's average price was $1.901 and $1.796 in South Carolina.
Asheville had the highest-priced gasoline in North Carolina at $2.059, and Boone had the cheapest at $1.967.
Charleston had the highest-priced gasoline in South Carolina at $1.92, while Spartanburg had the cheapest at $1.845. South Carolina has 16 cents-a-gallon gasoline tax, while North Carolina's tax is 30 cents a gallon.
The Easter holiday isn't a traditionally heavy travel weekend; however, April typically signals increased gasoline prices as refineries do their heaviest maintenance of the year, reducing supply, and motorists begin driving more, increasing demand.
However, this year motorists on average are driving less, and crude oil inventories, which are a hedge against increased prices, are the highest they have been in 16 years.
"These factors should help modulate gasoline prices between now and Memorial Day," Parsons said. "While U.S. refineries will reduce output as they retool to produce cleaner-burning summer blend gasoline and perform their regular maintenance, plentiful gasoline from overseas is expected to keep supply ample."
The Easter holiday offers a price barometer for the upcoming summer, when gas prices are expected to rise for the summer driving season but are unlikely to increase even to the level of two years ago when prices hovered between $2.70 and $3.00 a gallon.
Anyone who does travel this holiday will find all major highways open in South Carolina, and in North Carolina lanes closures will occur on I-85 between mile markers 206 and 214 in Vance County and at exit 113 in Guilford County.
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