If you paid a bit more at the pump with your last fill up, you noticed the latest trend in gasoline prices.
AAA Carolinas issued a news release last week about the spike in prices, noting that the average price of gasoline in North Carolina had jumped 16 cents over the past month. It’s gone up another 10 cents since then.
The daily fuel gauge report showed the average price of regular unleaded gas in the state at $3.64 cents a gallon, up from $3.38 from this time last month. Those purchasing mid-grade gas will pay about $3.81, while premium is at $3.98.
In the Havelock area, prices for regular unleaded gas range from about $3.69 to $3.72. Prices increased 10 to 13 cents per gallon in one day last week.
Prices fell during the fall months and reached a low of $3.22 on Dec. 20 before moving upward again. Prices began to rise more rapidly in mid-January, the AAA release said.
The surge in gas prices is said to be due in part to higher crude oil prices, driven by positive economic news both domestic and global.
There is also a seasonal impact that comes with refineries preparing to switch to summer-blend gasoline.
Angela Daley, public relations manager with AAA Carolinas, said they typically see an increase in gas prices between February and April. During the switch to summer-blend, she said, refineries are not operating at full capacity.
“It makes the supply a little tighter,” she said.
And with it comes a bit of both bad news and good.
“The unfortunate news is we expect gas prices to continue to rise incrementally in upcoming weeks,” David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, said via the news release. “However, barring any unforeseen supply issues or instability in the Middle East, we don’t expect increases to reach last year’s levels.”
Gas prices in North Carolina rose to a high of $3.91 in April last year.
As of Tuesday, the average gas prices remained seven cents lower than the same time last year.
Gas prices nationally averaged $3.69, up 16 cents from a year ago and up nearly 40 cents a month ago.