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North Carolinians pay a quarter less than national average

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(The Center Square) – Three weeks from summer, and into the first unofficial week of it, North Carolinians are paying a quarter less per gallon of gas than the national average.

Thursday morning’s averages, according to the American Automobile Association, are $3.31 for the state and $3.56 for the nation for unleaded regular. That’s down a nickel from a month ago, up 3 cents from a year ago for the state; and nationally, down 7 cents from a month ago and a penny from a year ago.

Diesel fuel is $3.84 per gallon for North Carolinians, 3 cents less than the national average and up 7 cents from last year at the same time.

Fourteen states have lower average prices for unleaded; 26 are lower for diesel.

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 ($3.21) and most expensive in Durham-Chapel Hill ($3.41). Diesel is most consumer-friendly ($3.71) 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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