MYRTLE BEACH — Drivers should expect their wallets to get lighter as gas increased for the fifth straight week in the Myrtle Beach area.
The average price per gallon of regular gas along the Grand Strand increased 14.3 cents over the past week – the biggest increase for a week over the past five weeks – to $3.32, according to fuelgaugereport.com. That’s 17.4 cents lower than a year ago, but 40 cents higher than a month ago.
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, says that good news in the economy is what is pushing up the prices.
“You had quite a substantial increase [in Myrtle Beach],” he said. “A lot of the reason for that is because there was some positive economic news last week which pushed up crude oil prices. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but when there is good news traders try to bet the market and invest in crude oil.
“Bad news pushes prices down and good news pushes them back up.”
Angela Daley, public relations manager for AAA Carolinas, says she believes prices will continue to increase, at least for a little while.
“They’ve been going up about a penny a day throughout July,” she said. “They will continue to go up until about Labor Day or so, and then we expect to see gas go down. That’s what happened last year so we are expecting to see a similar outcome.”
In South Carolina, the average price per gallon increased by 13.7 cents to $3.31, according to SouthCarolinaGasPrices.com. This increase pushed Arizona, $3.28 per gallon, and New Mexico, $3.31, ahead of South Carolina for least expensive gas in the country.
Gas in the Myrtle Beach area averaged $2.88 per gallon at its lowest point of the summer on July 3. The 44 cents saved on each gallon may not seem like a big deal, but that difference could have a major impact on families’ budgets. Someone typically filling a 12-gallon tank once a week spends a little over $5 every week, about $21 every month, and $253 every year more with the increase over the last five weeks.
Local residents like Quarrie Davis have noticed the dramatic increase and have resorted to alternative means to save money.
“Oh yeah, I’ve had to cut back,” Davis said. “I really try to catch a ride with friends a lot more than I used to.”
Cody Clark has also tried to find ways to conserve the gas in his tank.
“I try to plan out my day before I leave so I can do everything in one trip, and I’ll try to grab a ride with someone else,” Clark said.
The national average price per gallon of regular gas increased 9.3 cents in the last week to $3.60. The price has increased 19.1 cents over the past month nationally.
Contact BILLY CROSBY at 626-0310.