MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Travelers coming to and from the Grand Strand over the Fourth of July holiday weekend have gotten a respite from surging gas prices, according to AAA.
Prices in the Myrtle Beach metro area have fallen 13 cents a gallon in the past week, dropping from $4.43 on June 26 to $4.30 on Sunday, AAA’s website showed.
U.S. and South Carolina averages have also seen a drop. Prices averaged $4.32 in South Carolina on Sunday, down from $4.43 a week ago. The national average has fallen five cents from $4.85 on Monday to $4.81 on Sunday, according to AAA.
South Carolina is also among the 10 U.S. states that have seen the biggest drop in gas prices since June 30, AAA statistics showed. Wisconsin has seen the biggest drop with prices falling 14 cents a gallon.
While the decrease is providing drivers some relief, South Carolina’s average price is still up nearly 54% from a year ago when it averaged $2.81 a gallon, AAA statistics showed. The state’s record — $4.61 a gallon — was set on June 12.
Average prices have also fallen nine cents in North Carolina, going from $4.54 on June 30 to $4.45 on Sunday, according to AAA. The state record was $4.67 a gallon, set on June 13.
Following are Sunday’s average prices for counties across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas, according to AAA:
- South Carolina — $4.32
- Darlington County — $4.50
- Dillon County — $4.47
- Horry County — $4.30
- Florence County — $4.41
- Georgetown County — $4.48
- Marion County — $4.46
- Marlboro County — $4.45
- North Carolina $4.45
- Robeson County $4.48
- Scotland County $4.47
With prices still considerably higher than a year ago, AAA has some tips on its website to help drivers save at the pump:
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
- Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
- When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
- When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
- Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
- Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
- If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
- Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of the day.
- In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.
- Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.
- Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway, even an empty bike, canoe or ski rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.
- AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car’s manufacturer, it provides no added benefit. Motorists should refer to their vehicle’s owner’s manual to check which type of gasoline is recommended for their engine.