Floridians are finding gas prices drifting a bit lower after a brief increase economists say was caused by Hurricane Ida’s impact on gas refineries and pipelines in Louisiana.
On Monday, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Florida was $3, down about three cents from a 2021 high on Aug. 5.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana the night of Aug. 29, led to shutdowns at nine refineries near Baton Rouge and New Orleans. That represented 24% of Gulf Coast refining capacity and 13% of capacity nationwide. Four refineries safely shut down before the storm. Another one reduced operations, AAA reported.
“Gas prices are inching lower as most of the refineries that went offline because of Hurricane Ida are now in restart mode,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group, said in a news release. “Drivers may see another week of similar declines this week after a relatively uneventful week in the futures market.”
The impact on gas prices turned out to be no where near worst-case scenario. Some had predicted 10-20% increases in prices. The increases turned out to be more like 1-2%.
Still, the current price is 81 cents more than the average price on January 1, 2021 and 83 cents more than this time last year. On this day in 2019, Florida gas prices averaged $2.41 per gallon.
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.18 Monday.
In Florida, Punta Gorda gas stations continued to offer the best deals, at an average of $2.88 per gallon, according to AAA. In Jacksonville, drivers paid an average of $2.94; Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater and the Villages, $2.95; Orlando, $2.96; Fort Myers, $2.97; and Sarasota, $2.99.
The most expensive gas in Florida was found in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, where drivers paid an average of $3.15 per gallon. In Panama City, gas costs $3.09; Fort Lauderdale, $3.04; and Miami and Pensacola, $3.01.