Gas prices roll back downward 20 cents

GasPumps
A month ago, $4.17 a gallon would have been a record. Now it seems like a bargain.

An average price of $4.17 per gallon still would have been a gasoline record were it not for the past couple of weeks — yet Monday morning that price point might look like a bargain for Florida drivers.

The average price of gasoline had fallen 20 cents in nine days by the time it hit $4.18 on Sunday, AAA — The Auto Club reported. By Monday morning, the price had fallen another penny on AAA’s price tracking website.

Where is the price going next?

“The oil market remains extremely volatile, after seeing big swings in both directions during the past few weeks,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group said in a news release.

“Last weekend, oil prices dropped on demand concerns regarding a COVID outbreak in China, which resulted in lockdowns. By the end of the week, oil prices charged higher again as global crude supply concerns — regarding the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict — moved back to the forefront. Fortunately, oil prices are well below the high we saw more than a week ago. This should enable gas prices to slip lower this week, unless oil suddenly spikes again.”

Two weeks ago, fuel prices surged after Russia invaded Ukraine. The U.S. price of oil reached a 2022 high of $123.70 per barrel. That $32 per barrel increase resulted in a 90-cent jump at the pump. Since then, the price of oil has pinballed lower, hitting a low of $95.04 per barrel on Wednesday before bouncing back up to $104.70 per barrel on Friday.

Friday’s closing price still is $19 per barrel less than the 2022 high. Nineteen dollars is the equivalent to a 45-cent swing at the pump. So far, gas prices have dropped 20 cents per gallon, so another 25-cent discount is possible. That is, unless oil prices move higher again this week. As of this writing, the U.S. price of oil was trading $3 per barrel higher than Friday’s settlement. If that increase holds, it would erase 5-10 cents from the potential 25-cent price drop.

A year ago, the average gas price was $2.91 a gallon in Florida. A month ago, it averaged $3.50. The pre-2022 record average price in Florida was $4.08 per gallon, hit in 2008.

On Monday, the national average was $4.25 per gallon.

Monday morning, Florida’s cheapest gas was found in the Orlando and Tallahassee markets, where it averaged $4.08 per gallon. After that the best deals were found in Punta Gorda at $4.09; Jacksonville and Pensacola at $4.10; and Tampa and Fort Myers at $4.13.

The highest gas prices were found in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, where it averaged $4.34 per gallon. After that, the next highest prices were in Fort Lauderdale and Miami at $4.27; Naples at $4.23; Sarasota at $4.17; and St. Petersburg at $4.16.

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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