YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- Drivers preparing for spring trips need to be prepared to pay more at the pump.
AAA forecasts gas prices will be on the rise this spring. On average, drivers are already paying a quarter more than this time last year. However, gas prices in the Carolinas are lower than the national average of $2.53.
In North Carolina, the average is $2.41 a gallon and it’s $2.28 a gallon in South Carolina.
AAA said in a release that the national average is expected to jump almost 20 cents from its current rate to $2.70 this spring. It’s a price that AAA says Americans haven't paid since summer 2015 when prices hit $2.81.
"Right now, regular is $2.31,” said Blake Schmehl, a driver filling up in Charlotte, said. “That's too high. I've seen it up to $2.60."
AAA predicts the gas prices will start to spike in early April and continue into the start of summer due to a more expensive summer-blend gas and high demand in warmer weather. It’s making many Carolinians decide where to cut costs.
"It's definitely an added bill to pay for more gas,” Schmehl said. “I mean it's already more just to fill up your car in general."
A survey from AAA shows a majority of gas buyers change their driving habits or lifestyles when gas prices go up. Twenty-five percent start making changes at $2.75, and 40 percent say $3.00 is their tipping point.
"I think I'm going to have to start putting in more hours at work just so I can get around,” Schmehl said.
Gas prices aren't expected to reach record highs but Carolinians say even a slight hike at the pump is too big a price.
"I never like it, but I got to do it to pay the bills,” said Josh Barker while filling up at the pump. “So just makes it harder to do."