Gas prices drop after sudden surge

Floridians are seeing quite a spread, from $3.98 in Pensacola to $4.34 in West Palm Beach.

The past week saw gasoline prices in Florida surge upward by nearly 13 cents per gallon, then fall seven cents per gallon by Monday as the volatility of fuel prices and federal responses caused rapid movement in the pump readouts.

On Monday morning, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Florida was about $4.17, compared with a low of $4.11 and a high of $4.24 during the seven-day period, AAA — The Auto Club Group reported.

AAA expects the downward trend of the past few days to continue into the coming week due to President Joe Biden’s announcement that the U.S. would tap the nation’s oil reserves, and because of the global market price activity.

“Gas prices are drifting lower now that oil prices are declining again,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA — The Auto Club Group, in a news release. “The price of oil dropped last week after President Biden announced plans to release 1 million barrels per day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in an effort to ease global supply concerns. The downward pressure was compounded by news that other countries are considering similar action. The oil price drop could enable gas prices to fall back below $4 a gallon in the next couple of weeks. That is unless something causes oil prices to rebound this week.”

The U.S. price of oil dropped 13% last week. Friday’s settlement of $99.27 per barrel was $14.63 lower than the week before. It’s also $24.43 lower than this year’s high of $123.70 per barrel.

Some Florida drivers are finding prices below the $4 mark, while others are paying prices above $4.30 per gallon.

The Sunshine State’s least expensive gas was appearing in Pensacola, where it was averaging $3.98 per gallon Monday morning, AAA reported. After those bargains, the next lowest average prices were found in Panama City at $4.04; Tallahassee at $4.06; Melbourne at $4.10; Orlando at $4.13; and Tampa and Jacksonville at $4.15.

Florida’s most expensive gasoline was found in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, where drivers Monday are seeing an average price of $4.34. In Fort Lauderdale, gas is selling at $4.24; Miami at $4.22; Naples at $4.20; Sarasota at $4.19; and St. Petersburg at $4.17.

Nationally, gasoline was averaging $4.19 per gallon. A year ago, Florida drivers were paying $2.85 a gallon.

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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