A surge in gasoline prices continued this past week, bringing the average price per gallon in Florida to $3.47, the most expensive since July 2014. That’s according to AAA — The Auto Club Group.
The first week of February was the second week in a row that prices leaped 12 cents. The rise was led by “geopolitical concerns” such as Russia’s potential to disrupt oil deliveries to Europe, which have driven up crude oil prices to a point also not seen since 2014.
“Unfortunately it looks like the pain at the pump may continue to worsen, after oil prices saw another strong round of gains last week,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA, said in a news release issued early Monday. “The upward momentum in crude prices has been driven by geopolitical concerns related to Russia, cold weather and underwhelming global crude output. The price of crude rose $6 last week, which if sustained, could trigger another 10-15 cent hike at the pump in the coming weeks.”
On Friday, the U.S. price for crude oil settled above $90 a barrel for the first time since October 2014. Friday’s settlement of $92.1 per barrel is $5.49 per barrel more than the week before, and $7.66 per barrel more than last year’s high.
Since oil is a key ingredient in gasoline, the price of oil influences about half the total price of what drivers pay at the pump. So far this year, the U.S price for crude oil has risen 21%. That $16 increase in crude is the equivalent of a 40-cent swing in gasoline prices. So far this year, gas prices have risen 27 cents, which means pump prices may rise another 13 cents before fully adjusting to the latest oil price hike.
Jenkins reminded drivers they can save money by paying cash for gas. He urged drivers to also make sure they maximize fuel economy by driving smoothly and slowly, combining errands during trips, and ensuring vehicles are properly maintained.
Around Florida, AAA’s surveys found the bests gasoline deals were likely in the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach market, where gas averaged $3.27 per gallon. That was followed by Pensacola at $3.29; Panama City at $3.30; Tallahassee at $3.35; Miami at $3.44; and St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Fort Myers at $3.47.
The highest prices, as usual, were found in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market, where gas averaged $3.60. In Naples and in Port St. Lucie, it was at $3.51; Fort Lauderdale was at $3.50; Tampa and Sarasota were at $3.49; and Orlando was at $3.48.