0812 gas prices

A customer prepares to pump gas at Discount Beverage, located at 1150 N. Green St., on Friday afternoon when its price of $2.59 was the cheapest reported by GasBuddy in Morganton.

For drivers, the good news is gas prices haven’t climbed much in the past few weeks. The bad news is fuel costs may not drop until the start of next month, either.

Petroleum analysis outlet GasBuddy reported this week that gas prices in North Carolina had risen just a little more than 3 cents per gallon from the previous week to about $2.69 per gallon. The national average remained flat at $2.86 per gallon.

Locally Friday afternoon, GasBuddy’s reported the average for Burke County is $2.67 and the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan area is $2.60. That marks a decrease of 3.7 cents from $2.64 on Thursday and 4.8 cents from $2.65 the previous week. Prices are up 5.5 cents from $2.54 in early July and 43.4 cents from $2.17 in August 2017.

The national average has dropped 0.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 52.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

Prices in North Carolina for early August have varied widely in past years, reported by GasBuddy at $1.98 in 2016, $2.44 in 2015, $3.40 in 2014 and $3.49 in 2013.

In a release from GasBuddy, Patrick DeHaan, the outlet’s head of petroleum analysis, said gas prices look like they will remain steady until some potential relief following the Labor Day holiday to start September.

"The national average price of gasoline jumped to start last week before slowly tapering off during the latter half, but remains very close to their week ago levels,” he said. “Oil prices have held under $70 per barrel, giving promise to gas prices that will continue to hold south of $3 per gallon and near where they have spent much of the summer so far.

"With several bullish and bearish factors weighing on oil prices, you may see gas prices stuck in some sort of late summer blues before motorists see more sizable relief coming after Labor Day. Refiners continue to hum along, meeting high demand with few kinks, leading to gas prices (nationally) that have remained between $2.80 and $2.89 per gallon the entire summer thus far."

GasBuddy reported prices for 23 different gas stations in Morganton on Friday afternoon, with the lowest being $2.59 at Discount Beverage at 1150 N. Green St. Murphy Express at 655 W. Fleming Drive in the Morganton Heights Shopping Center was $2.60, followed by Gate at 823 N. Green St., Quality Plus at 225 Carbon City Road, Quik Mart at 1307 S. Sterling St. and Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1001 N. Green St. at $2.61.

A quarter of Exxon stations reported the highest prices in town with stores at 1023 Burkemont Ave. and 855 N. Green St. at $2.70, 1504 Bethel Road at $2.71 and 100 W. Fleming Drive at $2.74.

For more information on gas prices and petroleum analysis from GasBuddy, visit gasbuddy.com or download the mobile application. For live fuel prices and averages, visit the outlet’s fuel insights page at fuelinsights.gasbuddy.com.

Justin Epley can be reached at jepley@morganton.com or 828-432-8943.

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