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Gas in N.C. now more than $4 for premium

The average price for a gallon of premium gasoline exceeded $4 per gallon today in the state of North Carolina at $4.01, the first time prices have been above $4 a gallon average since April 4, 2011, according to AAA Carolinas.
“It is a harbinger of more price increases to come for regular gasoline which will exceed $4 a gallon in the next several weeks,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.
Pushing all pump prices upward are three factors:
• Geopolitical tension with Iran over their threats to interfere with the sea shipments of crude oil in the Persian Gulf. This situation is driving investor speculation in oil futures prices.
• Signs of economic improvement in the United States. As the economy improves, prices of fuel go up.
• Signs of progress in the European Union over debt concerns. As the Euro strengthens or the dollar weakens, gas prices go upward because barrels of crude oil are sold in dollars.
There are 1,532 vehicle models (2008-2012) that require premium gasoline and 717 vehicle models (2008-2012) that recommend premium.
Last week crude oil prices surged past $100 per barrel, making it the third highest weekly price increase since 2009 when violence erupted in Libya.
“Speculation last year and currently by investors expecting an interruption in supply is driving pump prices higher, even though there are no current supply problems,” said Parsons.
When prices reach $4 a gallon, drivers begin reacting in several ways: driving less, buying more fuel efficient vehicles, consolidating trips and altering driving behavior by slowing down to try and conserve fuel.
“It is a psychological tipping point,” said Parsons.
In North Carolina, the average premium price reached $4.0054 a gallon on April 19 last year and remained above $4 a gallon until May 24 when the price for all brands began declining. The average price for regular peaked at $3,8774 on May 6.
The last time the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was more than $4 in North Carolina was July 1, 2008, at $4.0060. The price fluctuated above and below $4, finally peaking at $4.085 on Sept. 15, 2008.
N.C. Metro Area Gasoline Prices for Feb. 29, 2012
Asheville — Regular, $3.773; mid, $3.881; premium, $3.999.
Charlotte-Gastonia — Regular, $3.762; mid, $3.899; premium, $4.041.
Fayetteville — Regular, $3.738; mid, $3.870; premium, $4.012.
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point — Regular, $3.722; mid, $3.856; premium, $3.981
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill — Regular, $3.733; mid, $3.862; Premium, $3.999.
Wilmington — Regular, $3.756; mid, $3.872; premium, $3.998.
An affiliate of the American Automobile Association, AAA Carolinas is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 1.8 million members with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Connect with AAA Carolinas on Facebook at www.facebook/com/aaacarolinas and follow on Twitter at @AAACarolinas.

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