CHARLOTTE – Pump prices in the Carolinas are continuing to trend upward as gasoline demand reached a new Energy Information Administration record last week, which partially reflects July 4 holiday weekend travel.

The price of crude oil fluctuated last week following OPEC’s failure to reach an agreement on production increases, and continues to be a dominant factor in determining how high prices will go this summer. Last week ended with higher crude prices than the start, though still under $75/bbl. AAA believes those prices have the potential to increase this week, which will only lead to more expensive pump prices, especially amid robust demand.

“We’re in the midst of peak summer driving season with motorists hitting the roads for vacation and gas prices aren’t backing down,” said Tiffany Wright, public affairs director for AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “On average, motorists are paying nearly a dollar more per gallon than last summer to fill up.”

North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.90, seeing a 1-cent increase on the week. This is 2 cents more expensive than a month ago and 86 cents more expensive than last year.

South Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.86, seeing a 5-cent increase on the week. This is 7 cents more expensive than a month ago and 92 cents more expensive than last year. South Carolina is also a part of the nation’s top 10 largest increases and top 10 least expensive markets.

Today’s national gas price average is now up to $3.14 per gallon.

Crude prices declined early last week due to a stronger dollar and market concerns about excess crude supply. However, prices increased following the release of EIA’s report that showed total domestic crude inventories decreased by 6.9 million bbl to 445.5 million bbl. If EIA’s next weekly report shows another decline in total domestic crude inventories, prices could climb further this week.

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