SC gas prices drop a half-cent in week heading into Christmas

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- Average retail gasoline prices in South Carolina have fallen 0.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.04 on Sunday, according to

      The national average increased 2.2 cents, however, to $3.23 per gallon.

      "Motorists hitting the road for Christmas travel are cringing as gasoline prices have picked up with the best now behind us," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

      Including the change over the past week, prices Sunday in South Carolina were{} 0.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and 8.9 cents lower than one month ago.

      Nationally, prices are down 2.4 cents in the last month and still 0.9 cents lower than one year ago.

      "While prices will advance, I don't expect it to last too long- January and February generally also feature relatively low gasoline prices. And while motorists aren't looking forward to the higher prices, they may take some solace in our expectation that gasoline prices in 2014 should average lower than they will after 2013 is complete. Make no mistake 0-- gas prices will see volatility, and there will be times when motorists will experience "motion sickness" at the pump, but that shouldn't discount that Americans will be able to spend less on a yearly basis in 2014 than they did this year," DeHaan said.