The long slide in South Carolina gasoline prices bottomed out during the past week, halted by seasonal refining changes and a recent rebound in the price of crude oil.
The price rose 3 cents across the Palmetto State to an average $1.52 a gallon, according to gas price service GasBuddy. Motor club AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report put the price a penny higher Monday.
That’s still about 58 cents lower than one year ago at this time.
Nationally, the price edged up 3.7 cents per gallon to an average of $1.74, GasBuddy said. That’s about 65 cents less than a year ago.
“We knew it was inevitable,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “The eight-month decline in prices at the pump that brought the national average as low as $1.67 has come to an end. The ‘plateau’ or pause in price movement is now behind us as we’ve had a full week in which the national average has climbed steadily. ... As expected, this is the beginning of the seasonal price climb and we’ll have to wait and see if last week’s rally for crude gains momentum to underscore the trend.”
Gasoline prices generally begin to climb in the spring as refineries switch to federally mandated and more expensive cleaner-burning fuel blends ahead of the summer travel season.
Other factors are poised to make it costlier to fill up. Last week, the head of the International Energy Agency said a drop-off in drilling activity is reducing future oil stockpiles. The prediction is that prices will rise because of supply-and-demand imbalances and the inability of idled rigs to restart quickly.
Oil prices extended their recent rally Monday, climbing 1.9 percent and 2.7 percent a barrel in New York and London, respectively.
Arizona had the lowest gasoline prices in the nation to open the week at $1.52 a gallon.
In South Carolina, the lowest average gas prices are in the Greenville-Spartanburg area at about $1.50 a gallon, according to AAA. The Charleston-North Charleston area reported the highest average gas prices statewide at $1.59 a gallon.
Prices ranged from $1.38 in West Ashley to $1.69 on the Isle of Palms Monday, according to GasBuddy.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.