Gas experienced another sharp increase in price this past week, reaching an average of $4.20 a gallon on Monday, up 10 cents from two weeks prior, reaching as high as $4.42 a gallon in some counties.
Getting no reprieve from exorbitant costs, Floridians are paying over a dollar per gallon higher at the pumps than a year ago, but help could be on the way.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a tax break, centered around the rapidly rising cost of fuel. While the governor initially sought to put forth a one-year gas tax into place, the state Legislature only agreed to a one-month window.
“There are certain things when you have inflation that you can dial back,” said DeSantis. “You can’t really just not get around to your job. You have to fill up your gas tank. This is particularly for people who need to fill up for work. We have to make a difference.”
The Legislature ultimately decided to enact the gas tax holiday for October of this year, citing the fact that it would most directly benefit Floridians as October is the month with the fewest out-of-state visitors.
Nationally, the cost of gasoline moves steadily higher. In the past two weeks, the average for a gallon of gasoline has risen 20 cents to $4.32, a penny less than the record high set on March 11. The increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near $100 a barrel last week and is now closing in on $110.
“The roller coaster ride at the pump continues,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “After rising two weeks ago, gas prices should remain tied to the price of oil, which was on its way back down last week. Based on wholesale and gasoline futures trends, gas prices could decline 5 to 10 cents, unless oil prices rebound again.”
As the federal government continues to incrementally release barrels of oil from the U.S. federal reserves, it is speculated that the fear of Russian oil scarcity in the market could be mitigated. Through the coming months, a total of 180 million barrels of oil will be used from reserves.
“Gas prices are drifting lower now that oil prices are declining again,” said Jenkins in a press release after Joe Biden announced the release of more reserve oil earlier this month. “The downward pressure was compounded by news that other countries are considering similar actions. The oil price drop could enable gas prices to fall back below $4 a gallon soon.”
Florida’s highest costs are found in Jefferson County at $4.42 per gallon, with Palm Beach ($4.39 per gallon) and Monroe ($4.34 per gallon) Counties following close behind. Drivers in Escambia County will find the state’s cheapest gas, with an average of $4.09 per gallon.