Nearly 450,000 South Carolina residents are expected to take to the state’s highways for the Labor Day holiday weekend, a five percent increase from last year. AAA Carolinas says an improving economy, higher consumer confidence and lower gas prices are the reasons for the increase.
AAA spokesperson Angela Daley says pleasant weather will also be a factor.
“Last year we saw Hurricane Isaac was churning in the Gulf and even though it didn’t come close to the Carolinas it definitely affected the weather, so last year we didn’t see as many people travelling. This year gas prices are significantly lower and the weather looks great after a rainy summer.”
Since rising to a summer high of $3.34 on July 21, South Carolina gas prices have fallen to $3.24 which is nearly eight percent lower than the $3.49 average heading into Labor Day weekend last year.
Daley says gas prices will follow the usual pattern : lower prices in the Upstate with a slight rise as you move toward the coast.
“Charleston is among the highest in the state usually, and right now we see that Myrtle Beach is a little bit higher at $3.27. It’s usually cheaper in the Upstate, Spartanburg is the cheapest right now at $3.18; that’s because it’s right on the pipeline.”
South Carolina continues to have the lowest gas prices in the nation.
Daley says as usual many will be flocking to the beaches for that last vacation fling of the summer, but many will also choose the expected cooler temperatures in the foothills and mountains.
Daley says gas prices remain low in spite of Mideast tensions due to abundant oil supplies, refineries operating at high-capacity and no current threat of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’re dealing with more supply issues concerned that other countries could get involved in the conflict. There is no immediate threat to gas prices right now based on what’s happening in the Middle East, but if the situation escalates it could cause crude oil prices to spike. “