HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Gas prices have been declining for eight weeks, according to AAA.
South Carolina’s average price for a gallon of gas was $3.55 on Thursday. AAA said the national average was $4.01, and expected the price to fall below $4 per gallon this week.
“More than eight weeks ago gas prices were high, — I mean they still are relatively high — but for the most part we’re not seeing those record numbers that we saw,” said Tiffany Wright, the director of public affairs for AAA Carolinas, adding that gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since March.
Wright said a big reason for the decline in prices is a plunge in the price of oil, which he attributes to the market bracing for a potential recession.
When a recession is possible, the oil market assumes people will not drive as much or buy as much gasoline. The oil market will then decrease the price of crude oil.
“Crude oil accounts for more than 50% of what we pay at the pump, so crude oil has been on the fast decline and gas prices have followed,” she said.
Wright said this decrease is good because summer travel season is still in full swing and data shows the higher gas prices did not stop people from traveling. She said the decrease in prices gives people needed relief as students are headed back to school and people are finishing summer road trips.
“We did see that some people were changing a little bit of their driving habits,” she said. “What I mean by that is they drove less. They combined errands, they changed a little bit of how they did things.”
Wright said it is hard to know how long this trend will last because oil prices are set globally. It also depends on demand.
Wright said it is hard to know just how low the prices will go, but people should be happy for some relief.
“Enjoy the fact that we’re having some lower gas prices,” she said. “I would say this is not a situation where people need to panic buy and run out to fill up their tanks because they’re afraid that all of a sudden we’re going to see a spike in gas prices because, you know, we don’t predict that. In fact I think prices will continue to fall through the rest of the week.”
AAA said people can continue to save money by avoiding speeding, mapping out trips in advance to avoid turnarounds and avoid idling for long periods of time in drive-through lines and parking lots.