COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina drivers have seen a steady increase in gas prices in recent months, but motorists taking to the road this weekend will still find it a bit cheaper to drive than a year ago.

AAA Carolinas reports that prices have increased 36 cents per gallon since Christmas. But prices are about a penny a gallon less than last Easter. The average price for a gallon of gas statewide is now about $3.43 a gallon.

Gas prices ordinarily increase during the spring as there is a crimp in supply while refineries change over to making less-polluting summer blends of gas.

The motor club says the cheapest gas in the state is in Spartanburg at almost $3.38 a gallon, but a check of local gas prices on The Post and Courier's gas prices page shows the lowest price in the Charleston area is at Costco in West Ashley and Sunoco on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. Both were selling regular gasoline for 3.28 per gallon on Tuesday.

AAA says the highest average price is in Myrtle Beach at $3.44 a gallon.