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Central, southern beaches gas prices bettering those in mountains

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(The Center Square) — A day before summer begins and two weeks until the Fourth of July, gas prices in North Carolina are 31 cents below the national average — and prices at the central and southern beaches are at or below the state average.

For a gallon of unleaded regular, residents average paying $3.26 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association website. On the coast, the averages are between $3.19 and $3.23 for Brunswick, New Hanover and Onslow counties, and $3.23 to $3.27 for Pender and Carteret.

On the Outer Banks and to the Virginia border, Hyde ($3.53) and Dare ($3.34) are higher, and Currituck ($3.25) is similar.

The other popular summertime destination — the mountains — has a mix of prices from the Georgia border along the Tennessee line to Virginia. Low averages of about $3.12 are in Ashe and Mitchell counties; the $3.19 to $3.23 range is in Swain and Yancey; it’s $3.26 for Cherokee, $3.27 for Haywood, and the $3.38 to $3.41 range for Graham, Madison, Avery and Watauga.

Wake ($3.28) and Mecklenburg ($3.33), the state’s two major metros, are just above the state average.

National gas prices Tuesday morning were averaging $3.57 for unleaded regular by the gallon. There is less than 5 cents difference for the state and national averages in the past week and month, respectively.

North Carolina diesel averages continue downward another nickel from a week ago, to $3.67. The national average is $3.88. The state average is 15 cents better than a month ago, the national mark 12 cents improved.

North Carolina this year taxes gasoline at 40.5 cents per gallon, up 2 cents from last year and the seventh-highest in the country. According to IGEN, which analyzes trends of heavily regulated markets, states higher are Pennsylvania (61.1 cents) California (53.9), Washington (49.4), Maryland (42.7), Illinois (42.3) and New Jersey (42.1).

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