CHARLOTTE, NC (News Release) – Gas prices in the Carolinas have decreased on the week amid growing stock levels and cheaper crude oil prices.
“Recent crude oil prices are a positive sign that less expensive gas prices could be around the corner,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “But this still isn’t enough to indicate a steady trend just yet.”
On the week, North Carolina’s gas price average decreased by 4 cents, currently sitting at $2.64 – this is 8 cents more expensive than a month ago and 80 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s gas price average also decreased by 4 cents on the week, currently sitting at $2.60 – this is 12 cents more expensive than a month ago and 83 cents more expensive than last year.
At $2.86, the national gas price average has also decreased week-over-week for the first time since November of last year. Today’s national average is 2 cents cheaper on the week, 15 cents more expensive on the month and 84 cents more expensive on the year.
Demand is another factor influencing pump prices. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that demand was up by 174,000 b/d to 8.6 million b/d. That reading is just 222,000 b/d short of levels one year ago, when demand started to dip. If demand continues to increase, prices could follow. Gasoline stocks also saw a moderate increase with a build of 200,000 b/d. However, refinery utilization hit 82% indicating we could see a larger build in stocks this week, a factor that could help keep pump prices in check.
Stock levels and demand readings are likely to widen in coming weeks, as this time last year gas prices and related factors started to take a sharp turn due to the pandemic.
Crude prices fluctuated throughout the week from a low of $57.76 to a high of $61.55 in reaction to world news, including concerns of new European Union lockdowns and tight vaccination supplies throughout local economies. Also affecting the price of crude was news Thursday of a stranded container ship, which continued to block the Suez Canal, a major international oil-supply route.
Reports out early today indicate that the ship has partially been refloated. While ships started to re-route last week, oil deliveries could be delayed. This is likely to have limited impact here as US oil production should be able to keep stateside supply balanced and in turn, prices stable until the canal clears.
For updated state and metro prices log on to https://gasprices.aaa.com.