There’s a disconnect at S.C. gas pumps. The state with the nation’s third-lowest state fuel tax no longer ranks among the country’s top-10 cheapest states for gas.
S.C. gas prices averaged $2.11 a gallon Tuesday – 11th-lowest in the United States, according to AAA data. Two states – Missouri and Oklahoma – averaged under $2 a gallon.
A gas price expert said S.C. drivers have been paying 10 to 15 cents a gallon more for gas because wholesalers are spending more to ship fuel along pipelines from Gulf Coast refineries.
“Think about the pipelines being like getting concert tickets for an artist that’s sold out,” said Tom Kloza, an energy analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, which supplies data to AAA. “There’s been so much Gulf production lately and limited pipeline space. So, there has been a secondary market to buy pipeline space.”
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As a result, S.C. drivers have been paying more – compared with some others – for gas.
While down $1 a gallon from a year ago, prices also are off kilter inside South Carolina.
Greenville stations averaged $2 a gallon on Tuesday – about 15 cents cheaper than the rest of the state. Kloza credited aggressive pricing by the QuikTrip convenience store chain, which operates only in the Upstate and near Charlotte, for those lower prices.
Gas prices, already at five-year lows, will continue declining into 2015, Kloza said. They will rise as spring approaches, though filling up should remain well under $3 a gallon, he predicted.