Gasoline prices in South Carolina have increased 35.9 cents a gallon since Christmas and are expected to continue to rise as refineries switch to less-polluting summer-blend fuels.
Still, gas prices will be about 1 cent less per gallon this Easter than what they were a year ago, according to AAA Carolinas.
May 1 is national deadline for refineries to switch production and the transition usually pushes prices upward because supply drops.
South Carolina prices have been climbing since hitting a low of $3.07 on Feb. 10. Myrtle Beach is paying the highest average price at $3.44 a gallon. York County and the Spartanburg area are the lowest in the state at $3.36 a gallon.
Statewide, the average is $3.42 a gallon compared to $3.44 last year at Easter.
Prices are expected to continue to increase over the next few weeks, but should remain slightly lower this year overall, said AAA Carolinas.
Currently, South Carolina’s average gas price is the fourth lowest in the nation.
“Gasoline prices will continue to be a major factor this summer for travelers and commuters,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Unrest in the Middle East and overseas could adversely affect prices, but as we continue to develop our own resources, the potential international impact lessens.”