Cary, NC – Local gas prices have climbed by as much as 10 cents in parts of the Triangle, though evidence shows this has little to do with Hurricane Florence. Also, while prices are climbing in Cary and the Triangle, nationwide gas price increases mean North Carolina has some of the cheapest gasoline in the country.
Higher Prices at the Pump
The end of Summer typically means a decrease in gasoline prices but prices are on the rise around not just Cary but the whole country. Last week, the average gasoline price in the Raleigh-Cary area was $2.694 per gallon and now the average price is $2.734 per gallon, according to AAA. The statewide average is $2.719 per gallon, up from $2.687 per gallon last week.
The kneejerk reaction may be to attribute this price increase to Hurricane Florence’s lingering effects. But in fact, Wake County has some of the more expensive gasoline in North Carolina currently, with Southeast North Carolina – the places hardest hit by the hurricane – having the cheapest average gasoline prices in the state. In New Hanover County, very badly damaged by Hurricane Florence, the average gasoline price is $2.673 per gallon, even cheaper than it was last week.
“The last quarter of the year has kicked off with gas prices that feel more like Summer than Fall,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This time of year, motorists are accustomed to seeing prices drop steadily, but due to continued global supply and demand concerns as well as very expensive summertime crude oil prices, motorists are not seeing relief at the pump.”
While these price increases are occurring in North Carolina, the state now has some of the cheapest gasoline in the country, where it was middle of the pack during the Summer. The national average gas price is now $2.902 per gallon, up from $2.867 per gallon last week and $2.837 a month ago.
What Are The Causes?
As we discussed in our post-Florence gas prices article, one of the reasons gas prices did not substantially rise after the hurricane is North Carolina has few gasoline refineries and mostly pipelines and terminals, which Hurricane Florence did not destroy or disrupt. And now, weeks removed from the hurricane, supplies are back across the state even while property damage, flooding and risk of infection in the area remain.
Overall gasoline supply is still high – a 7.2 million barrel year-over-year surplus just in the South according to AAA – but crude oil prices are still rising. This appears largely due to exports of Iranian oil dropping globally. New sanctions kick in November 4 for buyers to stop buying Iranian oil and buyers have already starting pulling away.
Now, crude oil prices are at their highest since 2014 and multinational bank HBSC says in its most recent Global Economics outlook that prices could reach $100 per barrel.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by AAA and Mike Mozart.