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Will South Carolinians See Cheaper Gas Soon? Maybe …

Palmetto State pump price increases slowing …

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Gas prices in South Carolina are up more than $1.33 from the same time a year ago – a 73.4 percent increase. According to the latest data from AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Palmetto State is currently $3.17

As is typically the case, South Carolina’s fuel prices are much lower than the national average ($3.415).

South Carolina motorists also have it slightly better than their neighbors, paying around $0.07 per gallon less than North Carolinians and Georgians.

While gas prices have been rising for months nationally, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel.  The national average gas price increased by $0.02 from where they were last week, this is the smallest weekly increase in a month.

What’s slowing the price hikes?  Developments in the Middle East …

A recent AAA press release noted that “Iranian oil, which has not been sold globally in large quantities since 2018, may return to the world market.”


The market remains volatile, but the infusion of additional Middle Eastern oil should help slow pump price increases, “at least for now,” according to AAA.

Until we turn the corner on the supply side of the equation, expect to continue paying $3.84 for premium and $3.45 for diesel, on average, in the Palmetto State.

As this news outlet has consistently noted, South Carolina’s gas tax is extremely regressive – meaning it hits poor people hardest.  While the Palmetto State does have a relatively low gas tax (36th in the nation, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation) South Carolinians are impacted more by the tax because motorists here are poorer than those in most other states – ranking No. 44 (.pdf) in the nation for personal income according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).   

In 2017, over the objections of this news outlet, South Carolina lawmakers passed a massive, six-year gas tax hike that will raise this levy by 71 percent when fully implemented next year. All told, the tax hike was projected to deprive taxpayers of $1.8 billion over its first five years of implementation (we are currently in year five) and around $600 million each and every year thereafter – although it appears to be exceeding those revenue estimates.

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Lawmakers claimed to have partially offset the gas tax hike through a vehicle maintenance credit established in 2017 alongside the tax, but burdensome requirements to obtain this credit have kept participation consistently lower than expected.   

What is the state doing with the unclaimed credits and gas tax money? Not enough, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), who gave the state’s infrastructure a “D” rating in their most recent annual report card. 

This outlet’s founding editor has consistently opposed the imposition of tax hikes that disproportionately affect low-income residents while simultaneously subsidizing sweetheart deals for billionaires.  

Will South Carolinians see cheaper gas in the near future?  Maybe. But will their government intelligently source and appropriate the funds it collects from the gas tax? Based on recent history, I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: Coleman Rojhan)

Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree and went to work for the South Carolina attorney general’s office in a communications role before coming on board at FITS. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.

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