Florida gas prices climbed 8 cents per gallon, hitting the most expensive Labor Day average in seven years as fuel markets adjust to Hurricane Ida’s impacts on Louisiana gas production centers.
In Florida, drivers paid an average of $3.02 per gallon Monday, AAA — The Auto Club Group reported Tuesday.
That average is 83 cents higher than what Floridians found this time last year when the coronavirus economic crisis depressed gas demand and prices, and 58 cents lower than this time in 2019, pre-COVID-19.
The price is up 8 cents over last week, after Hurricane Ida’s Aug. 29-30 impact on the Gulf Coast left nine crude oil refineries offline. Ida’s impact shut down about 13% of America’s fuel production.
Nationwide, gas was averaging $3.19 per gallon Tuesday, AAA reported.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, four of the nine refineries have begun the process of restarting. Three of those are located in Baton Rouge, the other is near New Orleans. The DOE says it could take several days for those refineries to produce at full rates.
Meanwhile, five refineries near New Orleans remain offline due to issues such as power outages. These plants account for 6% of total U.S. refining capacity.
“News that refineries are working to restore operations is a positive sign for motorists,” AAA Mark Jenkins spokesman said in a news release. “As refineries get back up and running, prices should begin to slide lower; especially now that the summer driving season has come to a close.”
Drivers are finding the cheapest gas in Punta Gorda, where a gallon averaged $2.96; Jacksonville and Orlando at $2.98; and Tampa Bay and Fort Myers-Cape Coral at $2.99.
The most expensive gas is in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, where drivers are paying $3.16 per gallon on average; Panama City at $3.09; Tallahassee at $306; Fort Lauderdale at $3.05; and Miami at $3.02.