Florida dodges major price spike amid pipeline disruption

Florida dodges major gas price hike amid pipeline disruption

Florida average gas prices go up by 1 cent in past week despite some panic fuel hoarding during pipeline closure.
pensacola gas
Despite panic buying, Florida emerged from the pipeline crisis largely unscathed.

After a temporary interruption to the Colonial Pipeline caused a significant spike, gas prices in the Sunshine State stabilized last week, adding just a penny to the average price at the pump, according to AAA Florida Auto Club data released Monday.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Florida stands at $2.89 as of Monday, up from $2.88 a week ago. But last week’s price was a notable 10 cents more than the previous week because of a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that stretches from Texas to the U.S. eastern seaboard.

The cyberattack is believed to be the work of suspected Russian hackers and the intrusion on the pipeline touched off a run on gas in multiple states, driving prices higher and causing many gas stations to run out of fuel. While there was spotty panic buying in Florida, the state avoided many of the problems seen in states such as Georgia and the Carolinas largely because Florida does not rely on the pipeline for its fuel supply.

AAA Florida officials report demand in the Sunshine State was two to three times greater than normal during the crisis. But the final toll left the state average price per gallon still shy of the highest point so far this year, which was $2.91 in March.

Given the crisis subsided relatively quickly when Colonial Pipeline workers returned the flow of fuel to near-normal conditions by the end of last week, demand for gas in Florida has actually become less than normal in the past few days.

“Unlike last week, fuel demand in Florida is now said to be lower than normal, because many Floridians went into the weekend with a full tank of gas,” said Mark Jenkins, Florida AAA spokesperson. “The lower demand should give gas stations time to replenish their tanksState officials believe most Florida filling stations will have fuel again by the middle of the week.”

Tallahassee was most affected by the pipeline shutdown last week, Jenkins said. But even there, negative effects were nominal.

Gas stations that ran out of gas in the Panhandle and Tallahassee area were replenished by fuel trucked in from the Jacksonville area to the east, Jenkins said. Most of the state was relatively unaffected during the crisis because about 90% of all markets are serviced by cargo ships hauling fuel, delivered from Florida ports, not the pipeline.

Even though Tallahassee saw some direct impacts from the pipeline disruption, it still didn’t have the most expensive gas in the state in the past week. That mark went to Panama City at $3.07 per gallon followed by West Palm Beach at $3.02 and then Tallahassee at $3 per gallon.

Motorists could score the cheapest gas in Florida at Punta Gorda gas stations for $2.81 per gallon followed by Orlando at $2.84 and Tampa at $2.85.

Florida gas prices are still below the national average which now stands at $3.04 per gallon.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected]


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