I know it's possible to use secure file transfer protocol to transfer files from remote locations to the local box, but is it possible to use it to transfer files from some local directory to another local directory?
If you execute
scp /tmp/a /tmp/b
scp does a real local copy, since both source and target are local paths.
If you try the same with a command line SFTP client, you'll notice that you have to connect to a server before being able to issue commands. Of course it is both possible that you connect to the local server and send a file over the connection without actually leaving the machine and that a given implementation also provides a possibility to effect local copy operations. The former is a bit wasteful, while the latter is definitely implementation dependent.