An unwanted holiday gift for area motorists appears to be higher gas prices.
Price at the pump for unleaded regular rose four cents in Augusta from last week, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. That mirrors the state’s increase of 5.3 cents per gallon in the survey of 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia. The increase nationally was less, at 1.5 cents per gallon.
One analyst said the increase could impact holiday shopping.
“If you use gas prices to figure out the time of year it is, you’d probably think it’s spring based on the continued upward trend showing up in much of the country,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Absent is the beloved fall at the pump that we’re used to that accompanies the fall weather, but apparently this year is playing a trick on motorists. The cheapest price this year was in July while the most expensive showed up after the driving season concluded as Harvey hit, and we may get closer to that mark as gasoline inventories continue to drift to new multi-year lows.
“It’s been a lousy time for motorists, and I’d expect to see some cut their spending during the holidays as gas prices are up.”
Another gas price tracking company, AAA, spotted a similar trend. It reports that the national average has increased nine cents inside of 13 days and unleaded regular was $2.56 per gallon Tuesday.
AAA said strong fall consumer gasoline demand has continued into November and is chipping away at national gasoline inventory. The Energy Information Administration reports total gasoline inventories dropped by 3.3 million barrels in their latest report, the company said.
“Compared to the first half of November last year, gas prices this November are on average 39 cents more expensive,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman. “However, while November gas prices have come in like a lion, AAA expects them to go out like a lamb.”
Georgia (7 cents) and South Carolina (6 cents) were among the 10 states with the largest weekly change, according to AAA. Florida and Indiana tied with the largest increase at 13 cents. The average price Tuesday of a gallon regular unleaded in Georgia was $2.41 cents; it was $2.37 cents in the Augusta-Aiken area. In South Carolina, the average price was $2.29.