Easter gas prices up 36 cents from Christmas

Most Carolinas residents will stay home for Easter, but those who hit the road will pay considerably more for gasoline than they did at Christmas, according to AAA Carolinas.

Gasoline prices have climbed 36 cents a gallon in the Carolinas since late December, but AAA said those rising prices are still a few cents lower than motorists paid last Easter.

Average prices per gallon at midweek were $3.59 a gallon in North Carolina and $3.42 in South Carolina. Those compare with $3.64 and $3.44 last Easter.

AAA’s Tom Crosby described Easter as “typically a family stay-at-home holiday,” but he said Easter gas prices typically climb in advance of the May 1 deadline for refineries to switch to a less-polluting summer blend.

By Easter, supplies usually become shorter and prices climb, Crosby said.

South Carolina’s prices are the fourth-lowest in the nation, while North Carolina’s rank in the middle of the 50 states.

Those who travel this weekend will not have to worry about highway construction projects, which are typically suspended on holiday weekends.

As for where people are going, the AAA said the most popular destinations are the Carolinas beaches, the Orlando, Fla., area, Europe and Caribbean cruises.