Gas prices trickle back down a few cents per gallon

Usually gas prices decline in the fall. Not so much yet this year.

Florida gas prices slipped 3 cents per gallon to a still-high average of $3.07 across Florida by Sunday, according to AAA — The Auto Club Group.

The average price Monday slipped even further to $3.06, yet still was not far off the 2021 high, which was set just last week after prices soared 10 cents per gallon to an average of $3.10 per gallon. AAA attributed that peak to several factors including lingering effects from Hurricane Ida, which shut down gasoline production in Louisiana in late August,

“Drivers are still paying some of the most expensive prices at the pump since October 2014,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release. “Although gasoline prices normally decline in the fall, they remain elevated due to the high price of crude and lower fuel supplies both domestically and around the world.”

When the pandemic struck, global and American crude producers let off the throttle. U.S. crude production rates dropped as much as 25% in 2020. About half of that had returned before Hurricane Ida struck the night of Aug. 29-30. Three weeks ago, U.S. crude oil production rates dropped another 13%, after Hurricane Ida temporarily shutdown oil refineries and offshore rigs.

That reduction has been cut in half over the past two weeks, as refineries and offshore rigs work to reopen. In addition, refinery activity, gasoline supplies and production all logged weekly gains last week, AAA reported.

Florida’s best gasoline deal is found in Punta Gorda, where a gallon averaged $2.97. In Sebring and Ocala, gas cost $3.00; Pensacola, $3.02; Jacksonville, St. Petersburg and The Villages, $3.03; Tampa, $3.04; and Orlando, $3.05.

Drivers were paying the most in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton at $3.22; Fort Lauderdale at $3.11; Miami and Gainesville at $3.10; and Sarasota and Panama City at $3.07.

Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.19 Monday, according to AAA.

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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