SC gas prices reach 7-year high, experts expect continued surge

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:48 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gas prices have soared to a seven-year high in South Carolina, and experts with AAA believe that prices could get worse before they get better.

According to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices daily, a gallon of gas is averaging $3.08 on Monday in the state.

Many drivers are feeling the pressure at the pump.

“We gotta do something about this, we can’t afford this,” Jessica Richards, a driver, said. “We gotta do something because this is crazy.”

She’s not alone in her outrage over soaring gas prices.

“So I’m a manager at McDonald’s and I bartend at night,” Richards said. “And even with having two jobs, it’s a lot. Like $70 to fill up a V6, that’s a lot. That’s how much it used to cost to fill up my Tahoe truck, now you’re putting that same amount in a car.”

“I just put $12 in my tank, I didn’t even get a quarter of a tank,” Isaiah Green, a driver, added.

Gas prices have risen 5.8 cents per gallon in the last week, more than 16 cents in the last month, and 22 cents over the past three months, according to GasBuddy.

Antonio Jackson, a DoorDash driver, says high prices at the pump make life harder for many families.

“Currently I’m a DoorDash driver so I’m driving all the way around the city so, yea, gas prices being high it affects more people because there’s a whole lot of DoorDashers out here. And I have to make a budget up for how gas I use because I have to make a certain amount of money to make sure that I’m winning. Because I still have bills to pay, I still have food to go and buy for my family.”

AAA Carolinas Spokesperson Tiffany Wright says a driving force behind the surge is the price and availability of crude oil, which accounts for more than half of the price of gas per gallon. It’s trading at $82 dollars a barrel this week, which is the highest it’s been in seven years.

For context, crude oil cost was in the low $60s per barrel in August.

Additionally, the recent decision by OPEC not to increase production means that crude oil demand is outpacing supply.

“Unfortunately, with crude oil prices being where they are right now, I think we’re in for prices to go a little higher or remain right where they are for the foreseeable future, next few weeks I would think,” Wright said. “And time’s going to tell. It’s all going to depend on crude oil prices on just how far gas prices are going to go up.”

While Wright is unsure how long these high prices will persist, she does not believe it will deter people from traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Big reason for that, obviously we have a lingering pandemic and so we know that people are going to be traveling by vehicle,” she said. “So we know there’s going to be a ton of road trips, and we’re talking about the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday. People want to take control of as much as they can as possible so air travel is not going to be where it typically is. Road trips will reign supreme.”

Some tips from AAA to be more fuel-efficient include: ensuring your car isn’t overloaded with bike racks and other carriers, and avoiding accelerating quickly and speeding. They also say you can save on fuel by not using your car air conditioning system more than you need to, and combining errands to limit car trips.

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