Gasoline prices continue to rise in Palmetto State, nation

Gasoline prices rose another 3.5 cents across South Carolina last week.

Gasoline prices continue to climb across South Carolina after bottoming out in January, but they are still fifth lowest in the nation.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 3.5 cents last week across the Palmetto State. The prices stood at $2.04 a gallon Sunday, according to fuel price gauger GasBuddy’s daily survey of more than 3,000 gas outlets in the state.

That’s still $1.08 lower than the same day one year ago, but 19.1 cents higher than a month ago.

Nationally, prices rose 4.7 cents per gallon last week to an average of $2.29, GasBuddy.com said. The national price per gallon is $1.12 lower than this time last year and nearly 27 cents higher than one month ago.

“The seasonal lift in gasoline prices remains well underway across the country, with the West Coast seeing the most excruciating rate of price increases,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Not only is the national average up some 27 cents per gallon versus last month, but some areas, like California, are seeing extra hits at the pump (because of) a refinery explosion and seasonal gasoline requirements.”

DeHaan predicts West Coast prices, especially in California, will rise another 15 cents to 25 cents over the next two weeks.

Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming posted the cheapest gasoline prices.

Price increases could begin to slow a bit, DeHaan said. Last year, the national average rose 13 cents a gallon between Feb. 23 and March 23, a much smaller increase than what motorists have seen during the past month.

Charleston and North Charleston reported the highest prices in South Carolina, averaging $2.12 a gallon, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. The Upstate posted the lowest prices in the state, averaging $2.01 a gallon.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.