NORTH CAROLINA -North Carolina motorists filled up in 2013 for the lowest average gas price in three years, according to AAA Carolinas.

Angela Vogel Daley says gas prices for the year were down 13 cents from the 2012 average of $3.56, which ranked as the highest rate ever in the state.

“In 2013, the North Carolina average was $3.43. That was the cheapest since 2010,” Daley says.

Daley explains that this drop in prices is due to an increased refinery capacity, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and higher production of North American crude oil.

“Our supply levels are good. And also we haven’t had any sort of Mid-East tensions or anything else that caused gas prices to spike. Demand is slightly up from the recession, but it really isn’t up to a pre-recession price. That [helped] keep gas prices lower for 2013.”

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area averaged $3.44 for the year, while the highest metro average in North Carolina was in Asheville at $3.46 and the lowest was $3.41 in Fayetteville.

South Carolina had the lowest annual average in the country for the second year in a row at $3.24. California had the highest in the continental U.S. at $3.89.

The national average for 2013 was $3.49, down 11 cents from $3.60 in 2012.

And Daley says there will likely be more good news for North Carolina drivers in the New Year.

“We do expect gas prices to remain low, maybe even be slightly lower for 2014. These trends of increased domestic production and more fuel efficient vehicles will help keep demand lower and supply levels higher,” Daley says.

Gas prices in North Carolina started at $3.31 in 2014—that’s the same price as in 2013. Daley says rates are expected to remain low through January due to decreased demand, but will likely rise in February as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance.