As September draws to a close, gas prices have slowly dropped in Florida but are still far higher than residents of the Sunshine State are used to seeing.
According to a report AAA released on Sunday, the average gallon of gas in Florida cost $3.07 at the start of the week, down from $3.10 at the start of last week. The national average stood at $3.19 on Sunday.
“Drivers are still paying some of the most expensive prices at the pump since October 2014,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “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.”
AAA offered some reasons why Floridians are seeing far higher prices at the pump than usual.
“The lower fuel supplies are a result of both the pandemic and Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” AAA noted. “When the pandemic struck, global and American crude producers let off the throttle. U.S. crude production rates dropped as much as 25 percent in 2020. About half of that had returned before Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf Coast. Three weeks ago, U.S. crude oil production rates dropped another 13 percent, after Hurricane Ida temporarily shutdown oil refineries and offshore rigs. Fortunately, 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.
“The price for a barrel of US crude finished at $73.98 Friday on the NYMEX. That was $2 more than the week before, yet still less than this year’s high of $75.25/b. A positive indicator for drivers is that wholesale gasoline prices finished nearly the same as a week ago,” AAA added.
In the meantime, some markets in Florida are seeing high prices. The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market has the most expensive gas in Florida with an average of $3.22 a gallon, followed by Fort Lauderdale at $3.11 a gallon and Gainesville at $3.10 a gallon.
Punta Gorda is the least expensive market in the state with an average of $2.97 a gallon, followed by Sebring and Ocala which both saw an average if $3.00 a gallon and the Villages at $3.03 a gallon.