Are low gas prices expected to last?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The holidays are approaching and that means you'll need to save up money for gifts but you may also want to save up for gas.

Gas prices may be low right now, but AAA is anticipating a slight increase in the coming weeks as we head into the holidays.

"Traditionally road travel increases greatly around the holidays. Demand goes up so that usually effects the prices, so we should see an increase a little closer to the holidays," says AAA regional branch manager Tracie Lawrence.

Now's a good time to fill up while prices are low, below $3.00 a gallon at most stations.

The average price to fill up in our area is $2.96, but a lot of local stations have prices up to 10 cents less than that.

AAA credits this to crude oil prices, which have dropped to almost $10 a barrel. This is because supply in the U.S. is up and demand is down.

Low South Carolina gas taxes are the reason why the state average for gas is $3.03, but this comes at a cost.

"There is an up and down to the gas prices staying low. With that lower tax base the roads don't get the resurfacing sometimes that they need," says Lawrence.

South Carolina has the third lowest tax on gas in the country, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

AAA says you can take measures in your own hands when it comes to saving money at the pump.

If you keep your car in good condition, you won't have to constantly fill up. When your tires are worn out, your car needs to work harder which means it uses more fuel, keep air in your tires.

Also, avoid waiting for your car to hit empty before filling up again. Fuel evaporates and this occurs less when you fill up at the halfway point.

Overall, this low price trend is the first we've seen in nearly three years.

This time last year, average gas prices in Myrtle Beach were over three dollars. The highest recorded price for gas in South Carolina, in 2008, is over four dollars.

Horry County residents don't expect these low prices to last.

"If the gas goes up, I wouldn't even like it, you know, it's hard enough that we have to struggle out here every day just to get by and with this gas now it's unpredictable," says resident Michelle Senatti.

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