While the government shutdown may affect the economy in unforeseen ways, Americans can at least expect relief at the gas pumps.
Lowcountry pumps are charging less, but Charleston actually has some of the priciest gas compared to other South Carolina metro areas. Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg have averages between $3.05 and $3.07, according to fuelgauge.com. The cheapest gas is in Myrtle Beach, where it’s about $3.04 a gallon.
The national average price for gasoline was $3.35 a gallon as of Monday, down 47 cents from a year ago, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
The Charleston average is $3.10 per gallon, about 18 cents cheaper than last month, and 46 cents cheaper than last October. Some stations in North Charleston and Goose Creek are charging less than $3 a gallon for regular unleaded.
Keshia Grate of Orangeburg filled up at the Spinx Gas Station at 3109 W. Montague Ave. Thursday, paying $2.98 per gallon.
“I think it’s excellent,” she said. “$3.05 is the cheapest I’ve seen in Orangeburg.”
A few pumps over, Michael Deleon of Mount Pleasant said the lower prices were a nice change from what he’s used to seeing closer to home, where gas costs about 15 to 30 cents more per gallon.
“This is actually really cheap for me,” he said. “My office is in Goose Creek, and the prices are cheap there, too. I get gas there or on the way through North Charleston.”
Goose Creek had the cheapest gas in the region on Thursday, with Kangaroo at 210 Saint James Ave. charging $2.87 per gallon.
Several factors play into the fall in prices this month.
Summer is a big driving season, so when it ends, gas gets cheaper, said AAA spokeswoman Angela Vogel Daley.
“When September is over, we see demand go down, and as demand falls the cost of gas goes down,” she said.
Plus, refineries can start producing cheaper gas once the cooler weather sets in.
“The summer blend is cleaner burning, and it’s more expensive to produce,” Daley said.
But this October isn’t witnessing just a routine fall in prices.
Daley said that’s because there weren’t as many threats last month of hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico, an important region for oil production.
“Supply levels are up, and there are no distribution problems,” Daley said.
If favorable conditions continue, gas prices are expected to decline through December. They could fall to a national average of $3.10 per gallon, the lowest since February 2011.