Charlotte-area gas prices are once again the cheapest in the state, though they’re still rising.
As of early Tuesday, a gallon of unleaded regular gas in the Charlotte metro area was $2.31, up from $2.22 a week ago and $1.99 a month ago, according to auto group AAA. The state average price per gallon is $2.33 and the national average is $2.44.
Gas prices around the country are rising because of increasing crude oil costs, refinery maintenance and unplanned production problems, AAA said in a report Monday. Nationwide, gas prices fell for a record 123 days straight until Jan. 26 and have been rising every day since.
“Gasoline remains much cheaper than in recent years, but drivers may not appreciate that fact given the steep increase in price over the past month,” Avery Ash, AAA spokesman, said in the report.
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In Charlotte, the average price of a gallon of gas is still more than $1 cheaper than it was at this time last year. That’s the case for the statewide average, too.
At $2.14 a gallon, South Carolina’s gas remains among the cheapest in the country. But no state pays less than $2 a gallon on average for a gallon of gas anymore, according to AAA.
Looking ahead, the national average price of gas could rise by 20 cents per gallon or more in March as refinery maintenance continues, AAA said.
Since late January, globally traded Brent crude has risen by more than $12 a barrel and domestic West Texas Intermediate has risen by more than $4 a barrel. Every $1 rise in the cost of crude oil, AAA said, can lead to a nearly 2.5 cent per gallon increase in the price of gasoline.
Still, AAA expects drivers should still pay less than $3 a gallon on average this year.