CHARLOTTE — Average gasoline prices jumped the most overnight in the Carolinas since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico seven years ago, according to AAA Carolinas.
North Carolina saw an average increase overnight of 5.1 cents a gallon from $3.729 a gallon Tuesday to $3.78 Wednesday, with the greatest hike coming in Asheville, where the average price went from $3.726 Tuesday to $3.787 Wednesday, a hike of 6.1 cents a gallon.
Prices jumped on average 7.6 cents a gallon overnight in South Carolina, from $3.499 on Tuesday to $3.575 on Wednesday.
The greatest jump occurred in the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson where the price hike went from $3.468 a gallon yesterday to $3.577 a gallon today - a hike of 10.9 cents a gallon that typically boasts the state’s lowest gasoline prices.
“The longer Hurricane Isaac lingers in the Gulf, the more prices will increase,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “The spikes will definitely be an inhibiting factor for motorists this Labor Day holiday weekend.”
The greatest one-night price increase in the Carolinas occurred from Aug. 31, 2005 to Sept. 1, 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. Prices jumped 15.8 cents in South Carolina to $2.629 and in North Carolina 11.8 cents to $2.68.
“Pump prices will continue upward in the next few days as Hurricane Isaac directly affects prices in both states, due to 90 percent of our gasoline coming from pipelines getting supplied by Gulf of Mexico on-shore refineries getting crude from the Gulf’s oil rigs,” said Parsons. “Many refineries are shut down and oil rigs have been evacuated.”
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of unleaded self-serve gasoline went from $3.756 to $3.804 — an increase of 4.8 cents. South Carolina now has the third cheapest gas in the nation, behind Colorado at $3.532 cents a gallon and New Mexico at $3.574 a gallon.