The average price for a gallon of gas climbed six cents in Florida in the past seven days to reach $2.20. The previous high in the past nine months was set in October at $2.19 per gallon.
The notable jump in fuel costs came after the previous week brought a brief two-cent decrease in gas prices. AAA officials say the beginning stages of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine helped spur the increase in gas prices.
“Oil prices returned to pre-pandemic levels last week, so it should come as no surprise that gas prices followed suit,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesperson for AAA Florida. “Fuel prices have been pressured higher by optimism surrounding a new stimulus package and COVID-19 vaccine news. These are two big pieces in the puzzle for long term improvement in fuel demand, which has been heavily hampered by the pandemic.”
Crude oil prices, in general, saw a 5% increase in the past week with all the news surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. The price for crude oil trading settled at $49.10 per barrel Friday, about $2.53 more per barrel than the previous week.
While fuel costs are increasing, gasoline prices remain remarkably lower during the holiday season compared to recent years. The current average price for a gallon of gas in Florida is still 45 cents lower than a year ago.
Gas prices are expected to trend upward during Christmas week as AAA Florida anticipates busy travel. Some 4.5 million Floridians are projected to travel during the next week, with about 4.3 million expected to do so in vehicles.
In the past week, the most expensive gas in the state could be found in West Palm Beach at $2.31 per gallon on average. Port St. Lucie recorded the second most expensive gas at $2.23, followed by Ocala at $2.22.
Tallahassee recorded the cheapest gas price at $2.14 per gallon on average. Punta Gorda came in second at $2.15, followed by Panama City at $2.16.
For the first time in months, Florida’s average gas price exceeded the national weekly average, which was $2.18.