CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina is feeling the pain at the pump.
Gas prices are on the rise, and experts believe they will continue going up through the busy Spring Break travel season.
“Gasoline prices are likely to continue to rise on and off until around Memorial Day,” said Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.
The current average in Charlotte is $2.29. That average has slowly climbed 12 cents since April 1.
Part of the reason for the increase is blamed on refineries switching to the more expensive summer-grade fuels.
DeHaan also says global oil inventories are down in part to OPEC’s production cuts announced last November. Oil climbed to around $55 per barrel Monday.
“Usually these factors put upward pressure on gasoline prices from March until May, and I expect that gas prices could rise another 15-30 cents by Memorial Day,” DeHaan said.
One factor that could cause a quick spike in prices at the pump is the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. DeHaan says a major incident could cause prices to increase this summer.
Even with gas prices increasing, North Carolina is still far below the national average of $2.41 a gallon.