Cary, NC – July often sees some of the highest gasoline prices of the year but this driving season looks to have passed the local area by as prices have dropped since June in Cary and across the state.
Relatively Low Prices for Summer
The average gasoline price in the Triangle area, according to AAA Carolinas, is $2.68 per gallon – nearly 10 cents cheaper than it was a month ago.
This is unusual because July, and particularly the July 4 holiday, usually sees more demand for gasoline as more people go on road trips or drive for fun since their school or work load is lighter.
Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA Carolinas, said demand is still high week-to-week but that has not resulted in a significant price spike for the local area.
“Today motorists across the Carolinas are experiencing a relief from the peak prices we have been used to, but are still paying over 50 cents higher than this time last year,” Wright said.
While prices did not jump over the July 4 holiday, gasoline may start getting more expensive soon as the state average went up two cents since last week, although the average price in the Triangle area has not increased noticeably.
What’s Caused Prices to Stabilize?
Unlike past abnormalities in gasoline prices, this stabilization is less easy to explain. It would be easy to say high prices earlier in the Summer turned drivers away from taking trips but AAA Carolinas still has demand rising alongside rising crude oil prices.
Gasoline inventories in the South are still very high, at about 83 million barrels, which helps balance the supply with the demand. Similarly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its recent report that the U.S. oil inventories increased by more than one million barrels, which is the first time in the Summer that inventories have gone up week-to-week.
It is also important to note that, relative to last year, prices are between 50-60 cents higher, meaning drivers are paying nearly $300 more in fuel this Summer than they were in 2017.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by AAA Carolinas and Mike Mozart.