Might gas prices soon fall below $2 a gallon?
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The price of crude oil has fallen $20 per barrel in two weeks.

Florida gas prices should go even lower this week, potentially sinking below $2 per gallon in some markets, AAA — The Auto Club Group projected Monday.

With worldwide travel being curtailed due to fears of spread of the new coronavirus, crude and gasoline futures prices were sent into a tail-spin, hitting lows that have not been seen since 2016.

Just two weeks ago, the price of crude traded for more than $53 per barrel. Sunday night, it was around $33. Crude prices have been reeling in the past two weeks, as coronavirus concerns have led to lower global demand for jet fuel and gasoline, AAA reported.

In Florida, Sunday’s state average of $2.28 per gallon was 7 cents per gallon less than a week ago, and the lowest daily average price since February 2019. The state average has fallen 11 cents in the past 11 days. Drivers are currently paying 19 cents per gallon less than this time last year.

“At the rate fuel prices are falling on the stock market, Florida drivers could easily begin seeing sub-$2 gasoline this week,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group. “The only potential upward pressure on pump prices is spring maintenance season. If the state average eventually drops below $2 per gallon, it would be the first time in four years. How long this holds or how low prices go will rely on where stock market prices go from here.”

The least expensive gasoline in Florida was selling Sunday night in Orlando, averaging $2.18 per gallon. In Jacksonville, gas was selling for $2.19, and in The Villages, $2.20.

The most expensive gas in Florida was being sold in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market, averaging $2.44 a gallon. Gainesville drivers were spending $2.40, and Panama City, $2.37.

OPEC and its allies met on Friday in hopes of cutting oil production to offset the dipping demand. Not only did they not make a deal, it now appears that all parties will not extend their existing production cut agreement, AAA reported. What this means is even more oil hitting the market at a time that demand is falling. By the end of Friday, crude had lost more than 20% in value, declining a total of $12 per barrel in two weeks.

Late Sunday night, fuel markets were dealt another heavy blow. Crude oil plummeted an additional 20% on the expectation that Saudi Arabia plans to boost production and begin a price war with Russia.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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