CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A sharp drop in gasoline prices since spring may be the spark North Carolina motorists need to travel during the Christmas holiday.
AAA Carolinas says 2.4 million motorists are expected to drive 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period beginning Friday and lasting through Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Since May 6, gasoline prices in North Carolina have dropped 64 cents. The average price statewide is the cheapest since it hit $3.14 a gallon in early February, and the lowest since peaking at nearly $3.88 on May 6.
The motor club also says gas prices in North Carolina are averaging 13 cents less than before Thanksgiving. Prices are expected to remain stable or slightly decrease due to a decline in demand and the congressional budget impasse.
In January, North Carolina's gasoline tax is going by almost 4 cents a gallon.
Revenue Secretary David Hoyle announced Tuesday the state motor fuels tax would grow by 3.9 cents per gallon to a record 38.9 cents starting Jan 1. State law directs the tax be recalculated automatically twice a year based on a formula linked to wholesale gas prices. The tax rose by 2.5 cents per gallon in July.
The upcoming tax increase falls in line with estimates made by the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal staff.