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North Carolina is one of the cheapest states to drive a car, but gas prices are still high |

LUMBERTON — Good news for drivers on their way to the approaching July 4 holiday: A recent report from a consumer pricing group placed North Carolina in the top 10 cheapest states to own a car.

The group’s data includes insurance rates, the average cost of car maintenance, safety inspections, tax and repair costs to reveal the cheapest and most expensive states to own a vehicle.

According to DealA.com, the top 10 in order are Main, New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa, Vermont and then North Carolina.

According to the data, the total cost of owning a car in North Carolina was $2,701.67 per year. The most expensive state, Main, was $2,253.19 per year.

The group’s data showed that while Maine may have emerged as the cheapest state for car ownership, Ohio tops the list for auto repair costs.

When looking at the price of car taxes, there was a tie with Alaska, Montana and New Hampshire all taking the top spot.

If you are looking for a low cost safety inspection, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon will serve you well as they are at the top of the state with the cheapest safety inspection fees.

At the other end of the scale, California isn’t the most expensive state to own a car, as some might expect; that credit falls to Michigan. According to data from DealA.com, Michigan, Louisiana, Nevada, Kentucky, California, Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Colorado are in the top 10 most expensive states to own a car.

California topped the list for the most expensive state for auto repair costs with an average of $410.73 according to the data above.

California drivers also pay the most for a gallon of gasoline, now averaging $5.87 per gallon.

Locally, drivers in Robeson County paid an average of $4.58 per gallon of gasoline. According to The Robesonian’s gas survey, motorists can usually find petrol in Lumberton for a penny or two cheaper.

Nationally, drivers will face the most expensive 4th of July at the pump ever this year, though the news isn’t all bad. According to GasBuddy, U.S. gas prices are expected to fall by 10 to 20 cents by Independence Day.

After months of fireworks at the pump, culminating in a $5 national average first recorded a few weeks ago, drivers will be a little relieved, though many were already determined to hit the road despite high prices.

A slight drop in crude oil has provided a few cents of relief for drivers in recent days, AAA said. The auto agency said the cost of oil fell from $122 to about $110 a barrel amid fears of a global recession and the associated economic slowdown. As a result, the national average for a gallon of gas is $4.93, more than a penny less than a week ago.

“Recent high prices may have led to a small decline in domestic demand for gasoline, as there were fewer motorists last week,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “This dip, coupled with cheaper oil, has taken some steam out of rising pump prices. And this is happening just before drivers refuel for what AAA forecasts will be a busy July 4 travel weekend.

Total domestic gasoline inventories fell 700,000 bbl to 217.5 million bbl last week, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Meanwhile, demand for gasoline declined slightly from 9.2 million b/d to 9.09 million b/d. The slight decline in gas demand has helped to limit pump price increases. However, as crude oil prices remain volatile, the price per gallon for gasoline is likely to remain high.

“It’s been a sweltering summer at the pump with record prices in every state. While we may see brief relief here and there, the high prices don’t seem to stop many Americans from hitting the road with a fully reopened economy,” said Patrick De Haan, chief of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While we may see relief as we approach July 4, and possibly beyond, volatility in the markets remains high. We could still see a super spike in gas prices later this summer should a hurricane threaten oil refineries or oil rigs on the Gulf Coast. Motorists should know that while we may see some relief today, there is a risk that prices could rise in the blink of an eye and set new records again.”

A meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to lower gas prices and boost domestic oil supplies was constructive but did not lead to a major breakthrough, groups of oil industry and refiners representatives said Thursday.

The meeting with Granholm and other top officials came as President Joe Biden called on Congress to suspend federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel as a way to alleviate the high gas prices that frustrated drivers and fueled inflation.

The Democratic president also called on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief, and he publicly criticized the energy industry for prioritizing profit over production.

“It won’t reduce all the pain, but it will be a big help,” Biden said Wednesday, referring to the national average of $5 a gallon for gasoline. Biden said he did his part and now wants Congress, states and industry to do their part.

In a joint statement, the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said on Thursday that the challenges their industry faces are complex, from Russia’s war in Ukraine to “market imbalances” left over from the COVID-19 shutdown that led to reduced demand and production.

The meeting with Granholm “should send a positive signal to the market that the US is committed to long-term investment in a strong US refining industry and aligning policies with that commitment,” the groups said. “Our industry will continue to look for opportunities to work with policymakers to unlock U.S. energy, fuel economic recovery and strengthen our national security.”

The meeting included executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon and Phillips 66.

The conciliatory tone contrasted with a letter sent this week by Michael Wirth, CEO of Chevron, who told Biden that the government has “for the most part sought to criticize and sometimes defame our industry.”

Biden replied that Wirth is “slightly sensitive,” adding, “I didn’t realize their feelings would get hurt so quickly.”

Biden has in recent weeks criticized oil producers and refiners for maximizing profits and making “more money than God”, rather than increasing production in response to higher prices as the economy recovers from the pandemic and feels the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He called on Wednesday for a three-month suspension of the federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gas and the federal tax of 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel. If gas savings were passed on entirely to consumers, people would save just under $3 for a 15-gallon fill up.

Biden’s push faces big opportunities in Congress, where lawmakers in both parties expressed skepticism and outright opposition. Many economists are also wary of a gas tax vacation.

High gas prices pose a fundamental threat to Biden’s electoral and policy ambitions. They have caused confidence in the economy to plummet, boding ill for defending Democratic control of the House and Senate in November.

Biden’s previous efforts to lower gas prices — including the release of oil from the US strategic reserve and more ethanol blending this summer — have not led to savings at the pump, a risk that spills over into the idea of ​​a gas tax break.

The president can do remarkably little to fix the prices set by global markets, profit-driven companies, consumer demand and the aftershocks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the embargoes that followed. The underlying problem is a shortage of oil and refineries producing gas, a challenge that a tax exemption cannot necessarily solve.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.