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Buck-25 improvement welcomed by July Fourth travelers

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(The Center Square) – Travelers for a long July Fourth weekend in North Carolina are finding gas prices a buck-25 better than a year ago and the exact same as before Memorial Day.

At $3.27 for a gallon of unleaded regular, consumers in the Old North State are getting a price about 29 cents better than the national average despite one of the nation’s highest fuel taxes. The average is consistent with the week prior to Memorial Day, and it is well below last year’s $4.53 average.

News is not all good for all fuel engines. Diesel prices have been in steady decline all year, but this week are 4 cents higher than a week ago, rising to $3.71. That’s far better than last year’s $5.67, and it’s a dime better than the week prior to Memorial Day.

The national averages are $3.56 for unleaded regular and $3.87 for diesel, respectively down from $4.89 and $5.79 a year ago.

Western neighbor Tennessee ($3.11) and southern neighbors South Carolina ($3.19) and Georgia ($3.26) have better averages; northern neighbor Virginia ($3.31) is a tick higher.

The Wilmington metro area is at $3.21 on average, about 7 cents less than a month ago. All four southern beach counties – Onslow, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick – are less expensive in the $3.21 to $3.22 range than the rest of the beaches up to the Virginia border.

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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