Charlotte gas prices continue to climb

Gas prices continue to climb in the Charlotte metro area, though drivers continue to pay less on average at the pump compared with state and nationwide prices.

As of early Wednesday, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Charlotte is $2.24, up from $2.19 a week ago and $2 a month ago, according to auto group AAA. At $2.22 a gallon, the Fayetteville metro area has the cheapest gas in North Carolina.

Statewide, gas costs average $2.27, compared with $2.21 a week ago and $2.09 a month ago. The U.S. average price of gas is $2.33, up from $2.27 a week ago and $2.04 a month ago. At $2.09 a gallon, South Carolina’s average gas price is one of the cheapest in the U.S.

Nationally, prices at the pump have gone up for more than four weeks straight as oil refineries conduct seasonal maintenance that can limit fuel production and drive gas prices up, according to a AAA report released this week. Prices recently have started rising faster, narrowing the year-over-year discount on gas.

Still, savings at the pump remain high by historic standards. Charlotte drivers, for example, now are saving $1.09 at the pump compared with this time last year, and the national savings average is $1.08 a gallon.

Economists say collectively, lower gas prices have saved Americans more than $750 over the past half year or so.

Whereas at the start of February when 25 states had gas below $2 a gallon, now only two do -- Utah and Idaho. At the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii and California have the highest gas prices at $3.04 and $2.95 a gallon, respectively.

Fluctuating oil prices weigh on costs at the pump. At just under $59 a barrel, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, remains volatile and benchmark U.S. crude, which last week posted its first loss in a month, remains below $50 a barrel.

Peralta: 704-358-5079;

Twitter: @katieperalta