MYRTLE BEACH — Gas prices continue to rise in the Myrtle Beach area, and are expected to keep going up until Labor Day before they go back down.
The average price per gallon of regular gas along the Grand Strand increased 7.2 cents over the past week, to $3.39, according to fuelgaugereport.com. That price is 1.9 cents higher than a year ago and 36.8 cents higher than a month ago.
Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, said the lower supply of crude oil and the worst drought in 50 years are what are pushing up the prices.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the supply side,” Laskoski said. “Crude oil and gasoline inventories were healthy three weeks ago, but not today. They have decreased in the last two weeks. With a lot of pressure on supply, the country is going through the worst drought in 50 years, which pushes corn prices up. Corn is the key ingredient in ethanol, and most gas in the country contains up to 10 percent of ethanol.”
Crude oil is trading at $92 to $93 a barrel, making it hard for gas prices to come down,” Laskoski said.
He and Angela Daley, public relations manager for AAA Carolinas, said prices will continue to go up until about Labor Day before they are expected to go down, the same that happened last year.
“As we get closer to Labor Day weekend, prices will increase somewhat in increments,” Laskoski said. “Once we get Labor Day behind us and later in September, prices will hit a plateau and start to come down because refineries will go back to winter-blend gasoline. That gasoline is cheaper to produce. Cheaper gas and less demand helps bring prices down. We will see that going into October.”
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said “prices will likely bottom out between Thanksgiving and Christmas, perhaps in the low $3 per gallon range.”
Gas prices have been going up about a penny a day throughout July and will continue to increase, at least for a little while, Daley has said.
In South Carolina, the average price per gallon increased by 4.6 cents to $3.38, according to SouthCarolinaGasPrices.com. This increase pushed Arizona, $3.33 per gallon, ahead of South Carolina for least expensive gas in the country.
The national average price per gallon of regular gas increased 5.4 cents in the last week to $3.67. The price has increased 24.8 cents per gallon over the past month nationally.
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.