Prices at the pump crept up across the country Tuesday, including in South Carolina, following attacks over the weekend in Saudi Arabia that put a large dent in the global oil supply.
Gas went up an average of three cents across the Palmetto State from Monday into Tuesday, according to AAA Carolinas, for an average price of $2.25 per gallon.
Some stations in the Charleston area posted prices that were upward of 10 cents higher than that as of Tuesday afternoon. Eight stations in lower Mount Pleasant ranged from $2.27 to $2.41 per gallon for regular unleaded. Between seven stations in West Ashley, the most common price was $2.39, and the lowest was $2.33.
The increases are expected to continue, but not for as long as some initially feared.
"Things are better than expected, not worse," said Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, a website and app that tracks gasoline prices.
Drone strikes Saturday on two Saudi oil facilities, including the world's largest refinery, knocked about 6 percent of the daily global oil supply off the market.
But by midday Tuesday, the Saudi energy minister reported that about half of the lost capacity had been restored and the rest would be back online by the end of the month.
After spiking to nearly $67 a barrel Monday, crude oil prices already starting dropping following that news, dipping below $60 Tuesday.
DeHaan said he'd initally thought prices could go up by between 15 and 30 cents a gallon after the attacks. By late Tuesday afternoon, he said an increase of about 10 to 20 cents was more likely, and prices should start to trend downward again in about three to four weeks.
Prior to the attacks, Americans had been enjoying relatively low gas prices that were expected to drop even lower. AAA Carolinas predicted a few weeks ago that drivers would see savings of about 25 cents compared to this summer.
DeHaan said he anticipates prices will be back on track by about Halloween.
Prices in South Carolina are still below the national average, which reached about $2.61 late Tuesday afternoon. According to AAA Carolinas, only the average prices in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were lower.
Despite the increases, the national average price per gallon Tuesday was still about 24 cents lower than it was a year ago, DeHaan said, and in South Carolina, the comparative savings were even greater.
When price hikes from the attacks reach their peak, he said, they'll likely still be lower than what consumers paid at the pump last year.