Rising N.C. Gas Prices Prompt S.C. Drivers to Cross State Lines
FORT MILL, S.C. -- With high fuel prices seemingly everywhere, drivers are always on the lookout for the best deal. For more North Carolina drivers, that means crossing the state line into South Carolina.
One gas station in Fort Mill, S.C., has reportedly added eight fuel pumps since Christmas just to keep up with increased demand from out-of-state drivers, according to WCNC-TV. Miller's Produce already had 16 pumps, but station manager Patricia Pasternak said that wasn't enough to keep up with the extra North Carolina drivers she’s been seeing.
"We have them two to three deep waiting on gas. This way, we have the extra pumps to keep traffic flowing easily," she said.
AAA Carolinas data shows North Carolina's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.44 as of Jan. 19, compared to South Carolina at $3.23.
According to Pasternak, part of Miller's low-price appeal comes from constantly watching the fuel market to pick the right moment to place an order. "From the time we get here until the market closes," she said. "If the market is down, gas prices will basically be down. If the market is up, gas prices are up and our cost is up."
AAA Carolinas noted that political tension in the Persian Gulf, economic woes in Europe and an increased number of drivers on the road have contributed to recent price spikes, according to the report. However, North Carolina's four-cent gas tax increase, which went into effect Jan. 1, may also be prompting the state’s drivers to go south.