CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gas prices in South Carolina and North Carolina are at their highest levels since 2014, according to the latest data from AAA. The average price for regular unleaded fuel in South Carolina is $2.86, while North Carolina drivers are paying $2.90 for a gallon of regular gas.
The increased fuel prices come after the Fourth of July holiday weekend saw a major increase in travelers across the region. AAA says more businesses reopening has led to more people driving to work, thus driving up demand and prices at the pump. Currently, the average price for a gallon of regular in Charlotte is $2.90, right in line with the statewide average.
AAA says the average price for a gallon is up more than 40% from the start of the year, and the trend is expected to continue. Drivers can expect gas prices to increase by 10-20 cents through the end of August, pushing the national average well above $3.25 this summer.
"Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher," said AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee. "We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend OPEC negotiations fell through with no agreement reached. As a result, crude prices are set to surge to a seven-year high.”
Despite higher prices locally, drivers in the Carolinas still enjoy some of the cheapest gas prices in the U.S. South Carolina's $2.86 average is the seventh-cheapest price nationwide. North Carolina's average of $2.90 is the 11th-cheapest price. California has the country's highest gas prices with an average of $4.30 for a gallon of regular unleaded.