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North Carolina motorists dime better on diesel than month ago

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(The Center Square) – Count North Carolina among many states with good news on gas prices.

And no, says a leading analyst, it has nothing to do with politics on any level.

Every state this week had lower average diesel fuel prices than a month ago. From Murphy to Manteo, Friday morning’s $3.77 average was 11 cents better than a month ago, a penny better than the national average and still a nickel higher than a year ago.

Twenty-seven states are lower.

As motorists zero in on July Fourth holiday weekend plans less than three weeks away, the average for a gallon of unleaded in the state is $3.27 with some places over a dime below $3. The national average is $3.46. Eighteen states are lower.

Petroleum industry analyst Patrick De Haan, of GasBuddy.com, regularly notes how supply and demand control the prices of fuel for combustion engine vehicles – not politicians. For example, in a social media post Monday, an anonymous comment said, “Because of President Biden’s hard work on lowering costs, Americans will spend $500 million less this week on gas than they did a year ago.”

De Haan replied, “Wrong. These falling gas prices were predicted by us in December. This is economics at work.” He noted in a June 3 post that Mark Cuban was correct in assessing global markets impact a global commodity, De Haan adding, “Too small a mindset to think that U.S. policy can dictate global economics.”

Last week, every state had lower gas prices than a month earlier. Gas prices under $3 a gallon can be found in the eastern, southeastern and western parts of the state.

Three stops in New Bern – Walmart, Go Gas and BP – were at $2.82 on Friday morning, according to GasBuddy.com. Craven County as a whole was at a $3.21 average, with neighboring Pamlico at $3.17.

Washington County, where Plymouth is the county seat, had a $2.95 average – the only one of the state’s 100 counties below $3.

At a $3.19 average or better were Currituck in the northeastern finger counties; the southeastern contingent of Sampson, Bladen, Robeson, Columbus and Brunswick; and western counties Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Yancey, Mitchell, McDowell, Burke, Caldwell, Alexander, Yadkin, Alleghany and Ashe.

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. States higher are Pennsylvania (61 cents); California (54); Washington (49); and Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey (all 42). Diesel tax in North Carolina (40 cents per gallon) is 10th behind only Pennsylvania (78); Indiana (55); Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington (49 each); Ohio (47); Maryland (43); and California (41).

Among 14 major metro areas, unleaded gas is the least expensive in Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton ($3.15) and most expensive in Durham-Chapel Hill ($3.38). Diesel is the most consumer-friendly ($3.63) in Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton.

In a state with the ninth-largest population of 10.8 million, roughly 8 million vehicle registrations are combustion engines, either gas or diesel. Total zero-emission vehicles registered is about 80,000.

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