South Carolina motorists enjoyed the lowest average gas prices in the country for the second year in a row in 2013, according to AAA Carolinas.
The average of $3.24 for 2013 is the state’s lowest in three years – down 11 cents from the 2012 average and down 7 cents from 2011. In 2010, gas prices in South Carolina averaged $2.60.
“Increased refinery capacity, more fuel-efficient vehicles and higher production of North American crude oil helped push prices lower in 2013,” said David E. Parsons, the president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “We expect these trends to continue into 2014.”
South Carolina gas prices started 2013 at $3.15 and peaked at $3.62 on Feb. 22. The lowest price was $3.03 on Nov. 14.
In 2012, South Carolina prices peaked at $3.74 on April 9 and bottomed out at $2.91 on July 3.
For 2013, the highest annual metro average in South Carolina was in Charleston at $3.29 and the lowest was in Greenville/Spartanburg at $3.19. Myrtle Beach averaged $3.22 and Columbia $3.24.
The national average for 2013 was $3.49, down 11 cents from 2012. California had the highest in the continental U.S. at $3.89.
Georgia’s average was $3.40, 9 cents below 2012 and 3 cents less than the 2011 average.
For 2013, prices peaked in the Peach State at $3.77 on Feb. 22 and bottomed out at $3.17 on Dec. 20.
Gas prices in South Carolina started 2014 at $3.12 – 3 cents lower than the national average and 10 cents lower than Georgia’s average.
South Carolina prices are expected to remain low through January because of decreased demand, but they typically rise in February as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance.
Gas prices are expected to average slightly less in 2014 as refineries continue to expand production
capacity and increasingly rely on North American crude oil.
These factors should provide a supply cushion that helps to limit dramatic price spikes caused by supply and demand. However, unexpected global events or
significant economic growth could result in higher prices.