S.C. motorists seeing gasoline prices more than $1 less per gallon over holiday weekend

Gasoline prices across South Carolina are about $1.08 less than this time last year.

South Carolina residents driving to kick off the summer this holiday weekend will enjoy gasoline prices more than $1 less than this time last year.

Thanks to a glut of oil worldwide and a drop in prices that haven’t rebounded since they declined last fall, the cost of gasoline in the Palmetto State averaged $2.37 a gallon heading into the weekend. That’s down $1.08 from this time last year, according to gas price gauger GasBuddy.

The online gas price service said gasoline prices across the state are about 19 cents higher than a month ago. South Carolina continues to have the lowest-priced gasoline in the nation, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The national average for a gallon of gas stands at $2.71, up 5 cents over the past week. That’s 94 cents lower than one year ago and 27 cents higher than this time last month, according to Gas Buddy.

“The rise we’ve seen in the national average over the month is showing signs of fading,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “Crude oil prices have fallen from their 2015 highs and currently stand some $2 per barrel lower at $59 per barrel.”

While higher demand is expected for the holiday weekend, he said crude oil inventories remain plentiful and stand about 86 million barrels higher than a year ago.

“That could inspire some selling in crude oil, as could bearish comments recently made by OPEC, or data showing that the 24-week decline in oil rigs is greatly slowing down,” DeHaan said.

Prices rose in all 50 states over the past four weeks, with the largest increases in Ohio, Michigan and California, where prices climbed at least 10 cents a gallon.

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In South Carolina, the highest prices for gasoline can be found in Myrtle Beach, where the price stands at about $2.41 a gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The price in Charleston-North Charleston is $2.38 gallon.

AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday through Monday.

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