Historical charm and a promising future come together in Charleston. The metropolitan area is made up of three counties: Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester. As of 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the metropolitan area has a total population of about 603,178 people.
The region’s recorded history began in 1670, according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce Web site, when a group of English colonists settled on a location they called Charles Towne to honor King Charles II of England. The area soon attracted more settlers because of its strategic location near major waterways and expanded into a busy, successful maritime and agricultural community.
Charles Towne became the first American city to use planning involving streets laid out in broad, straight lines, according to the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site. The name was changed to Charleston in 1783. Today the Charleston metro area continues to grow, but does not sacrifice any of its historic beauty.
The region stretches from central to southern South Carolina, some 50 miles inland, with 90 miles of oceanfront. The area’s economic mix is diverse, with the largest containerized cargo port on the Southeast and Gulf Coast, a $5.7 billion tourism industry, an impressive medical hub, a well-established base of national and international manufacturers and a large military presence.
The city is accessible by a number of highways, railroads and its port. The Port of Charleston is the second largest container port on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast, handling nearly two million 20-foot equivalent units of cargo annually, according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Since January 1995, the region has recorded more than $5 billion in new capital investment to the region. Along with the increased new and expanding business activity, the tourism industry is an important and vital aspect of the regional economy. In 2004, over 4.7 million visitors came to the Charleston area. Travel + Leisure magazine named Charleston the sixth best city in the U.S. and Canada in 2007.
Petroleum products are shipped to South Carolina at the Port of Charleston and from the Colonial and Plantation pipelines from the Gulf Coast, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The state’s total petroleum consumption nearly matches the national median, which is at 105,326 thousand barrels; the consumption of gasoline is 61,779 thousand barrels. There are 3,682 gasoline stations in the state. South Carolina is also one of the few states to allow use of conventional motor gasoline—most states require specific blends in non-attainment areas because of air quality issues. The number of alternative-fueled vehicles in use in the state is 9,642.
EIA information shows the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in South Carolina for this year is $2.739, not including tax.