CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Pump prices in the Carolinas are continuing to inch lower as the price of crude oil, which is the primary driver behind prices at the pump, took another step back last week.

The price of crude oil surged 12% in October which resulted in the cost of producing gasoline to be raised. During that time, the state average for both North and South Carolina increased drastically. However, this month crude has fought to maintain strength, having three consecutive weekly declines.

“A slight dip in demand paired with the decline of oil prices is contributing to some relief at the pump,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “That downward trend should continue this week unless oil prices rebound.”

Despite the decline, Thanksgiving gas prices should remain well above year-ago levels. Currently, the North Carolina gas price average sits at $3.22, having a 2-cent decline on the week. This is 13 cents more than a month ago and $1.25 more than last year. The South Carolina gas price average sits at $3.13, having a 3-cent decline on the week. This is 6 cents more than a month ago and $1.24 more than last year.

Today’s national average of $3.41 is down only a penny since last week. This average is 11 cents more than a month ago and $1.29 more than a year ago, and 81 cents more than in 2019. Since October 30, the national average has fallen on nine different days, after having risen steadily each of the previous 31 days.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 1.6 million bbl to 212.7 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand dropped from 9.5 million b/d to 9.26 million b/d. This drop coupled with an increase in the domestic crude oil supply caused downward pressure on prices. However, pump prices will likely remain elevated for consumers as long as oil prices are above $80 per barrel.

Crude prices decreased slightly last week as inflation fears weighed on the market. Additionally, prices also fell after EIA reported that the total domestic crude supply increased by 1 million bbl to 435.1 million bbl last week. However, according to EIA’s data, the total domestic crude supply is still down 11 percent compared to the previous year at this time, helping to keep elevated price pressure on crude. For this week, crude prices could decrease again if EIA’s next weekly report shows another crude inventory increase.

For updated state and metro prices, click here.