Gas prices on the rise; still low enough to entice summer time d -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Gas prices on the rise; still low enough to entice summer time driving vacations

(WMBF) - The month of May starts with Carolinians paying the highest gas prices of the year, according to AAA Carolinas.Friday, South Carolina's average price for a gallon of gas was $2.32 - an increase of 22 cents from a month ago. Gas prices in North Carolina average $2.45, compared to $2.29 a month ago, according to the travel club. 

"Gas prices have climbed to the highest levels of the year in our area due largely to rising crude oil costs," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "As prices keep climbing, it's becoming more difficult to believe that gas was below $2 per gallon at the majority of pumps throughout the Carolinas earlier this year."

Despite recent price increases, drivers should still pay the lowest gas prices for the summer driving season in at least five years, and it is even possible that gas prices will reach the lowest summertime levels in a decade if the cost of crude oil drops again.

In just one month, drivers in South Carolina are paying $0.20 more for gas, when prices were $2.08 April 1, according to

"We could see record summer travel because the economy is stronger and gas prices are much cheaper than in recent years," continued Parsons. "Lower gas prices will make travel more affordable and could motivate Carolinians to take a summer road trip."

South Carolina's lowest metro average is in the Greenville-Spartanburg area at $2.30, with the highest coming from the Charleston area and Myrtle Beach at $2.35.

In North Carolina, Asheville has the highest average at $2.57. The Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area has the lowest metro area average at $2.40 per gallon. 

Friday's national average price of gas is $2.59 per gallon, which is the highest so far in 2015. Average U.S. gas prices are up 56 cents per gallon since reaching a low of $2.03 per gallon in late January, making it the largest seasonal increase in gas prices since 2012.

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