Gasoline prices continue to rise

Gasoline prices in South Carolina and the nation are on the way up again.

Gasoline prices continue to climb after their four-month free fall ended in late January.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in South Carolina rose 5.2 cents last week. The average price per gallon is now $2.01, according to fuel price gauger GasBuddy’s daily survey of more than 3,000 gas outlets across the Palmetto State.

That compares with the national average that has increased 7.6 cents per gallon during the last week to $2.25, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Even with the increase, the price is much cheaper than a year ago at this time. In South Carolina, prices on Sunday were $1.08 lower than the same day in 2014. They are 11.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

The national average is $1.10 lower than a year ago and 17.5 cents per gallon higher than last month.

“Prices at the pump are starting to heat back up, mostly driven by a rebound in crude oil prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Nationally, almost 9 in 10 stations are selling over $2 per gallon, while a month ago, less than half of stations were selling over that price. Clearly, we’re seeing the typical seasonal rebound in prices, being led higher by oil’s rebound, and soon to be enhanced further by refinery maintenance season, which hasn’t yet gotten well underway.”

And while prices are expected to continue to climb, DeHaan expects gas prices this summer to be $1 per gallon less than last year.

The average price for regular gasoline in Charleston stood at $2.07 Monday, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. The Greenville-Spartanburg area reported the lowest prices in the state at $2 a gallon.

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