Gas prices up, AAA expects them to start dropping

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Gas prices in the Charlotte area are about 16 cents more compared to this same time last year, according to AAA Carolinas.  Drivers are paying an average of $3.60 a gallon for regular gas.

"Gas prices are too high," Ronald Knox, a Charlotte driver said. "Certain sides of town they're higher."

And they are lower in neighboring states. South Carolina's low state gas tax always makes gas noticeably cheaper.

"For people in the Charlotte area, gas is about 16 cents a gallon cheaper in South Carolina," Tom Crosby with AAA Carolinas said. "If you're planning to go into South Carolina, fill up there."

While gas in North Carolina is costly now, AAA Carolinas said, prices have peaked and should start dropping soon.

"The refineries have retooled for their summer blend gases, inventory is building," Crosby said. "Generally speaking supply comes up."

Prices go up temporarily while refineries transition from winter to summer blends, Crosby said.

"They need to come down," Margie Prioleau a Charlotte driver said. "When I started coming to this gas station the price was like $3.55 and it's up to $3.59. But it's still cheaper than anywhere else."

AAA says normally, gas prices stabilize by Memorial Day weekend.  But this year, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could force European nations or the United States to issue sanctions against the oil and gas industry.

"Uncertainty rattles gas prices and that always tends to drive them up, certainly never down," Crosby said.

If sanctions are issued, the U.S. could have to supply oil to more countries, lowering domestic supply, but not demand.