Spring gas price peak expected to be below 2013 levels
North Carolina gas prices aren’t expected to climb as high as they did last year at their peak, according to AAA Carolinas.
Prices typically climb in late winter and early spring as refineries do seasonal maintenance to prepare for the summer driving season and to switch to summer fuel blends before May 1, said Angela Vogel Daley, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas. During that time, they’re less productive, and supply is tightened.
Last year, North Carolina’s average price peaked on Feb. 22 at $3.80, Daley said. In 2012, they peaked on April 6 at $3.91, and in 2011, they peaked on May 6 at $3.88.
This year, Daley said the annual increase in prices started later. Barring any “unforeseen circumstances” impacting supply, she said prices should start coming back down in April or May.
“Refineries want to return to peak production ahead of the summer driving season, so we usually see gas prices fall in May, and then start to climb in mid-to-late summer when demand for gas is at its peak,” she said.
Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with Gasbuddy.com, also said the peak isn’t expected to be as high this year, and the peak won’t be prolonged. Laskoski said there are a number of factors that point to a decline in consumer demand, including increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles.
“The supply is very strong, and when I talk about supply, I’m talking about a variety of different types of crude available in the United States that is lower,” he said.
On Monday, the average price of a gallon of regular fuel in North Carolina was $3.524, according to AAA Carolinas, compared to $3.528 for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. GasBuddy’s average price for North Carolina was $3.52 and was $3.56 for Durham.