AAA: Motorists in the Carolinas Could Face Another Round of Rising Gas Prices

Last Updated on October 19, 2021 9:54 am

Charlotte, N.C. (October 18, 2021) – Gas prices in the Carolinas are increasingly higher than a week ago and another surge could be on the way if crude continues to rise after already setting new 2021 highs last week. Though gas prices held relatively steady the past few days, the price of crude increased by 4 percent.

“Prices at the pump could get worse before they get better,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Compared to a year ago, it now costs motorists about $17 more to fill up their tanks – with the driving factor continuing to be the cost of crude oil.”

Crude oil is now closing daily above $80 per barrel. In August, the price of crude was in the low $60s per barrel.

North Carolina’s current gas price average is now $3.10, having a 4-cent increase on the week. This is 13 cents more than a month ago and $1.09 more than last year. South Carolina’s current gas price average is now $3.08, having a 6-cent increase on the week. This is 17 cents more than a month ago and $1.17 more than last year.

The national gas price average is now $3.32, rising a nickel over the past week. This average is 13 cents more than a month ago, $1.16 more than a year ago and 67 cents more than in 2019.

Based on new data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration), last week’s total domestic gasoline supply fell by 2 million. Gasoline demand also fell but the agency calculates it is still way above last year. Usually softening demand should result in some easing of pump prices, but the higher cost for crude oil is blocking this. With oil prices remaining elevated, gas prices will follow suit because the cost of crude oil accounts for more than half of the price of each gallon of gas.

Forecasts from the International Energy Agency for more robust oil demand, especially heating oil this winter, are also keeping crude oil prices elevated.

Crude prices increased last week despite the EIA reporting that total domestic crude inventories increased by 6.1 million bbl last week. The current storage level is nearly 13 percent lower than the level at this same time last year. Given supply concerns, the market continues to bolster prices higher because of tight supply. Prices could climb further this week if EIA’s next report shows a decline in stocks.

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