CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gas prices continue to rise in the Carolinas and across the U.S., and you might notice they differ from station to station.
According to AAA, the average price of gas in North Carolina is $3.55, while South Carolina drivers are paying an average of $3.47. So how can the price vary by as much as 20 cents at neighboring gas stations?
Let's connect the dots.
According to The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, the price of gas is determined by a few things, and it can change from one station to another.
First, the price of crude oil accounts for nearly 70% of what you pay at the pump. It changes with supply and demand. Crude oil prices were spiking early Monday following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said. Russia is the world's second-largest oil producer and there are growing fears that sanctions could limit or even halt production.
"In addition to the unstable situation with the Russian invasion, we're also entering the time of year that seasonality pushes gasoline prices up anywhere from 25 to 75 cents by Memorial Day," De Haan said.
Second, distribution. Moving crude oil gets expensive. It goes from the refinery through a pipeline, or across an ocean, onto a truck that moves it to the station.
Once there, Individual contracts between rigs and gas stations can differ a lot. A convenient corner store at a busy intersection may get a better price than the mom-and-pop down the road.
Third, before a station puts up the numbers on the big marquee, they must add taxes, federal and state. Keep in mind, state gas taxes are usually higher in North Carolina than in South Carolina.
Finally, we can't forget the profits. Like any business, making money is the aim of station owners.
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