(WGHP) — As the average gas price in the U.S. sits just over $5, North Carolina is holding out as the state with the 11th least expensive gas in the country, according to GasBuddy. However, that doesn’t mean that the Tar Heel state has been spared.
GasBuddy’s live ticking average gas prices for the United States, as of 10:30 a.m. Monday, is $5.031 per gallon. The site reports that prices are up 10.5 cents from last week and 58.6 cents from last month. Compared to last year, gas prices are $1.95 higher.
“For the first time ever, last week saw the national average reach the $5 per gallon mark, as nearly every one of the nation’s 50 states saw prices jump,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy in a news release.
In North Carolina, the live ticking average is a few dimes lower at $4.671 per gallon. Nevertheless, North Carolina gas prices are up 10.1 cents compared to last week and 44.8 cents compared to last month. Compared to last year, prices are $1.82 higher.
In a breakdown by county, you can see the areas that have been hit the hardest.
The counties currently with the highest gas prices in the state, all sitting between $4.714 and $4.899 a gallon, are:
The state’s five most populous counties—Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth and Cumberland—are all within a 10-cent range with the lowest prices in Mecklenburg County and the highest in Wake.
Wake County: $4.692
Forsyth County: $4.673
Cumberland County: $4.671
Guilford County: $4.633
Mecklenburg County:: $4.591
Within the Piedmont Triad, prices all fall between $4.603 and $4.714 with the most expensive gas in Stokes County and the cheapest in Rockingham and Wilkes counties.
Why are prices climbing again?
According to the Associated Press, there are a few factors playing into the pain at the pump.
Since December, the price of international crude oil has roughly doubled.
Prices spiked as Russia invaded Ukraine, and the sanctions on Russia from the United States and allies fed the increase.
Gas production within the U.S. isn't slowing the rise either. Despite being the world's largest oil producer, the U.S. Energy Department reports that the nation's capacity to turn oil into gas is down 900,000 barrels of oil per day since 2019.
"For now, the upward momentum may slow down, but prices are still just one potential supply jolt away from heading even higher," DeHaan said. "Gasoline demand, while rising seasonally, is still well below previous records, but remains impressive with prices in all states at record levels. Should the rise in price finally start to slow demand, we could see some breathing room, but for now, it seems like Americans are proving resilient to record highs."
The U.S. could seek help from nations like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or Iran, but each of those options presents its own political complications.