MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Gas prices are "springing" in time for spring. As we prepare for spring and summer travels, gas prices typically trend higher every spring because of increased demand. Prices at the pump are up from last year's average across the nation and here in the Grand Strand as well.
For drivers, your wallets might be hurting a little more this time of year and experts are saying it hasn't even reached the peak yet.
Right now, according to GasBuddy.com, the national average at the gas pump is about $2.32 per gallon, that's about 22 cents above the last year's average.
According to GasBuddy.com on Tuesday, the current average gas price by the gallon in Myrtle Beach is about $2.32, that's about 26 cents up from last year's average during this time of year.
Senior Petroleum Analyst at GasBuddy, Dan McTeague, said it's likely gas prices will move a little higher given the demand over the next several weeks. He said one thing driving prices up is because refineries are currently going through their winter-spring maintenance. This means, they're switching over from winter blends of gasoline to summer blends of gasoline. Doing that puts a number of refineries out of commission and not producing as much gasoline.
McTeague said if we don't stabilize at this point, we could possibly see prices increasing 3 to 5 cents a gallon at the most.
Some locals said they don't plan on taking any extended road trips anytime soon and have definitely noticed a bigger bite out of the wallet when at the gas pump recently.
"Well, I can only do it when I get my paycheck, otherwise I'm putting like five here and there. I can't fill it up right away. It just takes up all my money.. and then when I have to go to the DMV its all the way across Carolina Forest Blvd and ugh.. it eats up my gas sometimes," said a motorist named Destiny.
Some tips AAA has for drivers to save at the pump this year, is to slow down. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. The Department of Energy says, every five miles-per-hour over 50 is like paying an additional 18 cents per gallon.
They also say try not to use your trunk for storage, because the heavier your car the more fuel it uses.
McTeague said the U.S. is selling and exporting a lot more gasoline to Latin America and even Europe, so the demand is a lot higher. He said that's part of the reason we'll see prices swing up.
"So there's no doubt that gasoline will likely head up beginning in the first weeks of April we tend to think of March from a gasoline perspective here as going in like a lamb and coming out like a lion.. a little bit like the weather in some places. Prices tend to pop around that time and that's why in the beginning of the month is sort of the calm time. But at the end of the month we could see prices move up right across the state and right across America," said McTeague.
For a county-by-county listing of the cheapest price per gallon in your area, click here.