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Good News: Carolinas Gas Prices Below Last Year

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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There was good news Monday for motorists in the Carolinas. After rising for much of the year, gas prices in the two states dropped below levels reported a year ago.

AAA Carolinas reports that gas in North Carolina reached the benchmark on Monday, dropping to about $3.79 a gallon — about 2 cents less than last April 30. South Carolina’s average prices dropped below last year’s levels on Thursday.

The motor club reported that on Monday, a gallon of gasoline in South Carolina was just under $3.60 a gallon — that’s down 9 cents a gallon from the same time last year.

Gas hit a high of about $3.74 a gallon on April 9 in South Carolina and $3.91 a gallon in North Carolina on April 7. Gas prices have been dropping steadily since then.

The reason for the difference in prices between the two states is the state gasoline tax. In North Carolina, the gas tax is more than 34 cents a gallon, compared with 16 cents a gallon in South Carolina.

Last year gas prices increased until early May before dropping again.

When the year began, tourism officials in South Carolina worried that gas might reach $4 a gallon — a sort of psychological level at which travelers were expected to cut back on vacation travel.

But the motor club says prices have eased in recent weeks for several reasons.

Among other things, the Euro has weakened against the dollar, making speculative investment in oil futures less attractive. The motor club also says that the weakening Chinese economy has led to less demand.

In addition, Americans are driving about 6 percent less than a year ago because of the earlier run up in prices.

The international supply situation has also stabilized with Iran stopping threats to interfere with oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, the motor club said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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