The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 29, 2012

Local gas prices well below state average

The Daily Southerner
John H. Walker

TARBORO — Gas prices in Tarboro are about 20 cents lower than the state average following a sharp decline over the past two weeks.

On Wednesday afternoon, the lowest gas prices in Edgecombe County were all in Tarboro — starting with $3.37 per gallon at Murphy Oil, both Wilco Hess stations on Main Street and Raceway.

The average price for a gallon of gas in North Carolina on Wednesday was $3.58, compared to $3.69 a week earlier. Gas prices have dropped 27 cents since Sept. 14, when it was $3.85. But even with the drop, motorists are still paying 15 cents more than they did on this date one year ago and have been paying more in 2012 than in 2011 since Aug. 15 of this year.

In all, a total of eight Tarboro stations had prices below $3.50 gallon — including Hadi’s and Valero at $3.40 and Exxon and Shell at $3.42.

The cheapest gas in Rocky Mount was $3.43 at Duke’s on Benvenue Road while the lowest price in Wilson was $3.29 per gallon at Jiffy Mart on Tarboro Avenue. Gas prices in Greenville are among the highest in the area, with a “low” of $3.48 per gallon at Energy Fuels.

The lowest price gas in the region is $3.21 in Washington.

Gas is below $3 per gallon in South Carolina and $3.08 per gallon in Virginia.

The last time gas prices dropped more than 11 cents a gallon for self-serve, regular unleaded was the week of Nov. 25 through Dec. 1, 2008, when gas prices fell 15 cents in North Carolina.

The current dramatic drop is due to the decline in crude oil prices and worries about the possible weakening of the global economy, a decline in demand by U.S. drivers and a stronger U.S. dollar, according to AAA Carolinas.

"The price drop is great news for drivers," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "However, the nature of gas pricing today mostly depends upon issues outside the U.S." Parsons added, "like armed conflicts in oil-producing nations, the dollar's value against the Euro and the demand for oil in developing countries like China, India and Brazil."

AAA Carolinas expects that gas prices will continue to drop between now and Thanksgiving, typically the most heavily traveled four-day holiday and often a time when prices stabilize or rise slightly.

Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point has the state's lowest average price for a gallon of gas at $3.53; Asheville is highest at $3.67.

(AAA Carolina contributed to this report.)