Gas prices are on the rise and are expected to continue creeping upwards, but AAA Carolinas reports that it's still not as bad as last year.


AAA Carolinas' Public Relations Manager Angela Vogel said Thursday afternoon that fuel prices in South Carolina were averaging around $3.23, which is 4 cents higher than a week ago and 8 cents more than a month ago.


“We are heading up, but not as rapidly as last year,” Vogel said.


In 2012 around this same time, prices were 11 cents higher due to tensions with Iran, a series of natural disasters and several different supply distribution issues.


Vogel said several factors are contributing to the increasing pain at the pump. Signs of an improving economy through positive stats from the housing market and the unemployment rate dropping slightly since this time last year has bumped consumer confidence which also ups demand, Vogel said.


This is also the time of the year when oil refineries decrease production as they prepare to compose their summer fuel blends, Vogel said.


Residents aren't too surprised by the prices.


“I've been expecting prices to jump for a while – but to be truthful, I hadn't noticed a difference, as prices jump and dip all the time, it seems,” said Kelly Scott, 28, of North Augusta. “I need them to stay low so I can get to work.”


Others have adjusted to the upward trend.


“I expect it will keep going up until spring and people are traveling more,” said Joseph Sambs, 46, of Aiken. “But I don't think there are any real market forces when it comes to gas. It won't effect how much I travel.”