WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – If you’ve driven from Wilmington to Leland recently, you may have noticed gas prices are much different despite the stations being a few miles apart.
The latest numbers from AAA on gas prices in New Hanover County come to an average of $4.24 per gallon, whereas across the bridge in Brunswick County, that average is only $3.92.
WECT’s gas prices tracker shows prices as low as $3.98 in Wilmington, but stations nearby are as high as $4.24. The discrepancy in prices comes down to a few different factors, according to GasBuddy Petroleum expert Patrick De Haan.
“It’s a very common refrain we’ve heard in the last few weeks as prices have gone down,” said De Haan. “Some stations have lowered prices quickly, others have not.”
With the price of a barrel of oil now being $95, prices have been moving down slowly, and De Haan says it could be a matter of stations trying to earn back profit lost when prices were near record highs.
“Some stations may be laggards, and that they would rather make a little bit more profit. That could be because it’s been a pretty rough year, as prices have been high stations (and) have seen low margins,” said De Haan. “Whereas some stations may be passing along the decreases very quickly. It really just depends on timing.”
De Haan also mentions there isn’t a particular reason Brunswick County may have lower prices than New Hanover County.
“It’s completely random, it could be the other way around as well. It really again just depends on the competitive makeup. This time around, it’s the beach community that’s going down faster. Next time, it might be the city that goes down faster. So there’s not much rhyme or reason to it.”
While there may be no way to figure out exactly where the prices will be lowest next, De Haan has some tips for motorists looking for the cheapest gas price.
“I would encourage motorists to make sure they’re shopping around for those low prices, because that will help prices come down faster. If stations keep their price high and aren’t selling gasoline, they’re going to lower their prices quicker.” said De Haan. “That’s why every station even miles apart can be drastically different.”
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