Columbia touts itself as an example of a “New South” city that celebrates its rich past as well as its promising future.
It became the state capital of South Carolina after it replaced Charleston as the seat of government in 1786. The city’s name was most likely named after Christopher Columbus who was credited with founding the New World in 1492, according to the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Web site.
The city itself has a population of 122,819 and sits in the center of a growing metro area of 703,771, according to the city’s official Web site.
Columbia is one of the first planned cities in the United States, second only to Savannah, Ga. The location of it is almost in the middle of the state and is situated along the Congaree River’s fall line, which is where the river drops from the upland region to the coastal plain. Most of the wealth generated in the city was from its cotton industry.
Presently, the city enjoys a diverse business environment with at least 14 Fortune 500 companies in the area. Some of the city’s major employers are the state government, Blue Cross Blue Shield of S.C. and the University of South Carolina. The economy is expected to experience a boost within the next few years because of the University of South Carolina’s forthcoming research campus. Plans for the development include research labs, office space, as well as retail and residential housing. The research will be focusing on emerging technologies in areas such as biomedical, environmental and future fuels.
However, Columbia is facing some air quality issues. The Environmental Protection Agency has an Early Action Compact with the city. Therefore, the community has promised to reduce its air pollution one or two years earlier than required by the Clean Air Act.
The city has established a Climate Protection Action Committee focusing on community outreach and education programs to promote living more environmentally conscious and to reduce emissions.
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 109,457 thousand barrels; the consumption of gasoline is 59,302 thousand barrels. There are 3,924 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.
EIA information shows the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in South Carolina for this year is $2.463, not including tax.