Gas Prices Drop in Florida Despite Major Storm Looming

Despite a major storm ready to impact Florida, a new report from AAA shows gas prices in the Sunshine State continue to decline.

AAA released a report late on Sunday which showed the average gallon of gas in Florida cost $3.38 at the start of the week, down four cents from the start of last week. This ranks as the lowest gas price in the Sunshine State since January.

At the national level, gas prices have risen slightly, moving from $3.69 a gallon at the start of last week to $3.71 on Sunday.

“There’s actually downward pressure on pump prices, despite the forecast that a hurricane would approach Florida this week,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “Gasoline and oil futures prices plunged 7 percent last week, to 8-month lows on concerns that aggressive interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve could trigger an economic recession.

“Since Tropical Storm Ian is not projected to impact the refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, it’s unlikely that the storm itself or the resulting demand, would cause pump prices to spike,” Jenkins added.

Still, AAA warned of the possibility of temporary fuel shortages.

“In the coming days, it’s possible that gas stations will temporarily run out of fuel, due to an influx in demand from evacuees or people topping off their tanks and filling spare gas cans. However, it’s also important for drivers to remember that these outages are temporary,” AAA noted. “Gas stations are not connected to an underground pipeline. Just like your vehicle, each gas station can only hold so much fuel at a given time. That fuel is stored in tanks underground. Once those tanks are empty, retailers bag the pumps and wait for the next delivery truck. Sometimes that can be the same day, sometimes longer. It can vary.

“Florida’s gasoline is primarily provided by refineries in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. That gasoline sails into Florida’s ports, then is picked up by tanker trucks and delivered to area gas stations. Fuel deliveries should continue until the weather conditions make it unsafe to do so,” AAA added.”Once the storm passes and the ports reopen, shipments of gasoline will begin flowing into the state again. Gasoline can also be driven over from surrounding counties or states that are not impacted by the storm.”

Jenkins said Floridians should keep a few things in mind as they get gas before the storm.

“The bottom line is, don’t panic about gasoline supplies, just take what you need,” Jenkins continued. “The state makes it a priority to keep gasoline shipments going as long as it’s safe to do so. Once the storm passes, shipments will resume as soon as possible.”

The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area had the most expensive gas in the state with an average of $3.57 a gallon followed by Tallahassee at $3.47 a gallon and Gainesville at $3.45 a gallon.

Pensacola had the least expensive gas in the state with an average of $3.17 a gallon followed by the Crestview-Fort Myers area at $3.18 a gallon and Panama City at $3.26 a gallon.

Kevin Derby
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