Despite demand mostly increasing this month and reaching its highest measurement – 8.9 million b/d for the week ending April 9 – in more than a year, pump prices in the Carolinas have continued to remain steady, not seeing any changes on the week.
“With refinery utilization almost back to pre-pandemic levels and the lower crude oil prices, motorists have benefited from the steady gas prices lately,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Crude also started to see some upward movement this week, which could translate to small increases at the pump by the end of the month.”
North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.62, the same as last week’s average. This is 7 cents less than a month ago, but 94 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.58, also the same as last week’s. This is 7 cents less than a month ago, but 97 cents more expensive than last year. Both states are still a part of the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets.
Today’s national average is $2.87, seeing little movement and fluctuating up or down by only a penny. While the national average is $1.05 more than last year at this time, it is on par with averages from April 2019.
At 85%, refinery operations are at their fullest capacity since the week of March 23, 2020, according to Energy Information Administration’s data. Should this positive utilization trend continue, it could help to offset increases in demand and help the national average stay under $3/gallon.
Although prices ended the day down, due to the market consolidating pricing contracts, the price of crude gained over $3.80 per barrel last week. Continuing market optimism that crude demand may increase more than expected due to increasing vaccine rollouts helped to lift prices. Additionally, EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventory decreased by 5.9 million bbl to 492.4 million bbl, contributing to price increases. If crude prices continue to rise and remain high, pump prices will likely follow suit.
For updated state and metro prices log on to https://gasprices.aaa.com