Gas prices slip below $3 per gallon, barely
Image via Drew Dixon.

AUGGASPRICES
Florida prices range from $2.89 to $3.15 per gallon.

The price of a gallon of gasoline dropped a tad last week, with the average cost in Florida falling below $3 a gallon for the first time this month.

Just barely, though. The average cost of a gallon of gasoline was $2.99, AAA — The Auto Club Group reported Monday morning. That’s down 2 cents from the previous week, but still 4 cents higher than a month ago. And it’s 82 cents higher than it was early this year.

Florida is seeing a wide range of prices, from $2.89 per gallon in Punta Gorda to $3.15 in Panama City.

The association noted that the world crude oil market prices have declined, and that is showing up at Florida’s pumps.

“Crude oil prices declined last week, which has enabled gasoline prices to weaken,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins stated in a news release. “The crude futures market is digesting the recent news that OPEC and its oil-producing allies plan to gradually increase oil production this year. Initial reports led to lower prices last week, but it’s unclear where the crude market will go from here. For now, drivers can enjoy a break from rising prices at the pump, with the possibility that retail prices slip a few more cents this week.”

Last week, the price for domestic crude reached a new 2021 high of $75.25 per barrel. That was the highest daily average price since October 2018. However, that price quickly eased by midweek, dropping 4% by Friday to finish the week at $71.81 per barrel. The decline was in reaction to news OPEC and its allies plan to gradually return 5.8 million barrels a day of production, a partial restoration of reductions OPEC made last year in response to the coronavirus crisis and its drag on travel.

“While this news may not mean significant relief at the pump, it could help prevent prices from going much higher,” Jenkins said.

AAA reported Florida’s cheapest gas was in Punta Gorda, where it averaged $2.89 per gallon. Gas costs an average of $2.94 in Jacksonville and Orlando, $2.95 in Fort Myers, $2.96 in the Tampa Bay area, and $2.99 in Miami.

Panama City had the highest average at $3.15 per gallon, followed by West Palm Beach-Boca Raton at $3.14, Tallahassee at $3.07, Fort Lauderdale at $3.02, and Pensacola at $3.01.

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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