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Charlotte gas prices are rising, but don’t blame the Syria attack – yet

Throughout the Charlotte region and nationally, gas prices are making their typical springtime surge as the industry switches over to summer-blend gasoline and more people hit the road for vacations, according to AAA Carolinas. Meanwhile, experts say it remains to be seen if the U.S. missile attack on Syria will influence prices at the pump.
Throughout the Charlotte region and nationally, gas prices are making their typical springtime surge as the industry switches over to summer-blend gasoline and more people hit the road for vacations, according to AAA Carolinas. Meanwhile, experts say it remains to be seen if the U.S. missile attack on Syria will influence prices at the pump. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Gas prices are making their typical springtime rise as the industry switches over to summer-blend gasoline and more people hit the road for vacations, according to AAA Carolinas.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if the U.S. missile attack on Syria will influence prices at the pump, experts say.

Although oil prices surged following Thursday night’s military action, no impact is expected yet on North American gasoline prices, according to GasBuddy, a website that tracks gas prices.

However, “the situation could rapidly change,” Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst, said in a statement.

Oil prices still remain well within their recent range of around $50 a barrel, according to Mark Vitner, a Charlotte-based senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

“I really doubt that we will see much impact at the pump” Vitner said via email.

“Syria produces very little oil and does not export to the world market. The conflict has been going on there for years and has had little impact on global oil supplies, which remain abundant. U.S. oil production is continuing to rise and we a have a relative abundance of crude oil and gasoline right now.”

Nationally, gas costs typically rise in April, and that’s seen in the Carolinas, where there’s been a gradual uptick in prices since the end of March, according to Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA Carolinas. Prices now are the highest since January. “We’re definitely on an upward trend as we head into the summer driving season.”

Charlotte’s current average per gallon is $2.21, a 5-cent hike from last week, according to AAA Carolinas. Last year’s average this time of year was $1.95.

South Carolina still has the lowest gas in the nation. Its average of $2.09 marks a 7-cent rise from last week, and 25 cents higher than a year ago.

With the Syria attack just happening, “it’s still too fresh to say what the impact is going to be,” Wright said.

“Gas prices should continue their normal trend this time of year, which is an upward trend.”

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