With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact Florida, fuel demand is starting to drop in the Sunshine State.
AAA released a report on Monday showing the average gallon of gas in Florida cost $2.03 on Sunday, up a penny from the start of last week and below the national average of $2.18 a gallon. But AAA noted that the pandemic is impacting gas prices across the state.
“There’s growing concern in the fuel market that rising cases of coronavirus will interfere with the recovery in fuel demand, which took a significant hit during the height of the state’s stay-at-home orders. During that time, fuel demand was down as much as 80 percent in some Florida metro areas. Since reopening, the deficit shrunk to only 20 percent,” AAA noted. “The fear of how rising COVID-19 cases could cause people to drive less, is what alleviated the upward momentum of both crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices. Crude oil set a 3-month high of $40.46 per barrel on Monday. But at rising cases set in, the price of oil dropped 5 percent by Friday, to a closing price of $38.49 per barrel. Wholesale gasoline took the biggest hit, falling 10 cents (10 percent) last week.”
“Demand concerns are beginning to creep back into the market, now that cases of coronavirus are on the rise in Florida,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “State numbers suggest demand is holding steady, but market analysts worry about an eventual downturn. With wholesale prices turning lower, it’s possible drivers will begin to see slightly lower prices at the pump this week.”
The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area had the most expensive gas in the state at an average of $2.15 a gallon followed by Gainesville at $2.11 a gallon and Tallahassee at $2.10 a gallon.
Punta Gorda and the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area had the least expensive gas in the state with an average of $1.98 a gallon followed by the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets at $1.99 a gallon.