Why are gas prices jumping dramatically in Charlotte area?

Why are gas prices jumping dramatically in Charlotte area?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Drivers have probably noticed that they’re paying more at the pump than they were just a few days ago. Across the country, the average price of gas has jumped the most in a one-week span since Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

According to the website GasBuddy, prices in the Charlotte metro area Tuesday were more than 15 cents higher than last week, and almost 26 cents higher than last month.

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GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said there are two main reasons for the spike:

  1. More places such as schools are reopening, so demand is up.
  2. Supply is down due to the winter storms in Texas.

“The extreme cold in Texas resulted in the shutdown of about 20% of the nation’s refinery capacity,” he told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

De Hann thinks prices will go up another 5 cents or so over the next week, and then level off before going up again in mid-March.

He said prices typically go up in March because gas stations switch to “summer gas,” which is more expensive but required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

He said more people drive when the weather is warmer, which also creates more demand.

De Haan thinks as more people are vaccinated for COVID-19 and more businesses reopen, more people will be venturing out, which will also drive up demand.

Charlotte driver Kyle Clements said he recently returned from a road trip to Daytona, Florida. He said gas cost $2.35 per gallon before he left. On Tuesday, he paid almost $2.50 per gallon in Charlotte.

“Luckily, for the next week, I don’t have to drive. I’ll be self-quarantining, so it won’t affect me directly,” he said. “Hopefully, by the time I’m back to full mobility, I’ll have a more reasonable price at the pump.”

Stoogenke noticed that prices vary a lot around the Charlotte area. He suggests that drivers shop around since going a few streets over can make a huge difference.

Drivers can compare prices on GasBuddy, Google maps, Waze and WSOCTV.com.

Here are current prices per gallon in the Charlotte area:

  • York County - $2.37
  • Lancaster County and Mecklenburg County - $2.45
  • Gaston County and Lincoln County - $2.47
  • Union County - $2.48
  • Cabarrus County and Iredell County - $2.49
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