Local Prices Drop as Summer Gasoline Demand Slows
Cary, NC – While gasoline prices are higher than they were in previous Summers – almost 60 cents more than 2017 – prices in the region have begun to drop as demand is dropping leading into July instead of growing.
Shrinking Demand Shrinking Gas Prices
Average gas prices in the Cary-Raleigh area have dropped since the start of June, with a four-cent drop just over the past week. The average price in Cary is $2.75 per gallon for regular gasoline, with the lowest current price recorded at $2.66 per gallon.
With prices so much higher than recent years, Tiffany Wright with AAA Carolinas said the slow demand may be a result of people changing their driving habits due to expensive gasoline.
“The higher prices seem to be influencing driving habits. While consumer gasoline demand remains strong, it is slowing and not growing,” Wright said.
Cary experienced a price jump over May, as did all of Wake County. However, the spike was more pronounced in Western and Southern North Carolina, where more counties are approaching average prices of nearly $3 per gallon.
Travel and Demand
Wright also said the cause in the price spike over May has now subsided, leading to a dip in demand.
“Since the heavy travels of Memorial Day Weekend, Carolinians seem to be staying home more,” Wright said. “The lower demand is allowing prices to drop across both states.”
Demand also dropped in 2017, though it was by less than a tenth of a percentage; much smaller than the national drop that occurred between 2007 and 2012. It’s unclear how much of an impact that has had on the current drop in demand and prices since prices also grew as a result of supply disruptions after the 2017 hurricanes and an unusually high amount of driving this January and February.
Also unclear is how long this drop in demand will last. Summer is typically a large driving season so the current drop in demand is unusual. Also, the July 4 holiday often results in another surge in driving so if past years can be used as a guide, gas prices will likely go up then.
The Energy Information Administration also indicates the gasoline inventory in the South is set to increase, which will also lead to a drop in prices, though AAA says it will not be a “major” drop.
You can also avoid gas prices altogether by studying the local bus systems or biking around Cary.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of AAA Carolinas and Mike Mozart.