Average gas prices saw a substantial increase in the past week thanks to optimism over pending vaccines to help control the outbreak of coronavirus, according to AAA Florida Auto Club data released Monday.
A gallon of gas now costs about $2.15 across the state, which is about 13 cents higher than a week ago. It’s the first serious uptick since early October as prices had been falling for most of the fall months while COVID-19 had started to take its toll in a resurgence not only in Florida, but across the nation.
Prices started to tick up in late November just before Thanksgiving. But they stalled even with the announcement that several companies were close to Food and Drug Administration approval for COVID-19 vaccines.
As those companies and government officials said they’re closer to distribution, global oil markets reacted. Crude oil prices reached a nine-month high Friday at a cost of $46.26 per barrel. That’s about a 25% hike compared to a month ago.
“Gas prices are on the rise due to growing optimism that the U.S. could pass a stimulus package, and about how a COVID-19 vaccine could eventually help improve global fuel demand in 2021,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA Florida spokesperson. “Pump prices appear to be leveling out for now, but will seek direction from the fuel market this week.”
While gas prices are on the increase, they are still about 34 cents less than they were a year ago.
West Palm Beach recorded the most expensive gas in the state at $2.27 on average followed by Port St. Lucie and Ocala both at $2.18 per gallon.
Tallahassee saw the least expensive gas in the state at $2.08 per gallon followed by Punta Gorda at $2.09 and Fort Walton Beach at $2.12.
Florida is usually well below the national average price of gas but with the current average price, it’s pulled about equal to the national price of $2.16.