Gas prices expected to climb through Easter travel holiday
Posted April 16, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina’s gas prices continue to climb as travelers take to the highways for Easter weekend, but fueling up for vacation costs less than last Easter.
Gas prices in the state are 5.6 cents per gallon lower on average than they were last Easter, according to AAA Carolinas. But North Carolina fuel costs have steadily inched upward since hitting a low of $3.28 per gallon in early February.
The statewide average is $3.59 per gallon, compared with $3.646 last Easter.
Drivers headed to beach and mountain destinations should brace for higher fuel prices on either side of the state. Asheville’s prices top those in North Carolina at $3.65 per gallon on average, while the Wilmington area pays the second highest price for fuel at $3.62.
Although prices remain slightly lower this year overall, they are expected to continue rising in the next few weeks. Gas prices generally rise after Easter because of the May 1 national deadline for refineries to start producing summer blends of fuel, which pollute the environment less but drive costs up, AAA Carolinas said.
“Gasoline prices will continue to be a major factor this summer for travelers and commuters,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Unrest in the Middle East and overseas could adversely affect prices, but as we continue to develop our own resources, the potential international impact lessens.”
North Carolina gas prices are in the middle of the national range, but the state’s neighbors offer much cheaper rates. While North Carolina has the 25th highest gas prices in the nation, Virginia’s and South Carolina’s prices are among the top 10 lowest.
Drivers can estimate their gas costs for the weekend with an online fuel cost tracker. To save fuel, drivers should follow the speed limit, monitor driving behavior, avoid accelerating or decelerating quickly, ensure tires are properly inflated, keep vehicles properly maintained, avoid excess weight in the car and consolidate trips when possible.