Gas prices remain high in The Sunshine State as the price of crude oil bounced back last week, preventing a predicted drop of 20 to 30 cents a gallon from happening.
The cost of crude oil fell globally in late November amid fears of a severe outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with the anticipation of a 20 to 30 cent drop in prices for retail consumers.
Rather, prices fell approximately 10 cents per gallon; A welcome change, but one leaving Florida drivers wanting more.
“Oil prices remain the main drivers of prices at the pump,” said AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins. “So if oil prices increase again this week, drivers will again need to adjust their expectations.”
The most expensive gas markets in Florida are West Palm Beach ($3.44 per gallon), Naples ($3.35 per gallon), and Fort Lauderdale ($3.33 per gallon). Fort Walton Beach remains the cheapest place to fill your tank, with gas setting the average consumer back $3.14 per gallon, according to AAA.
The current national average for a gallon of gas is $3.30, four cents higher than the Florida average of $3.26.
“Gas prices tend to fall a bit this time of year due to the shorter days and less robust demand,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “And this trend was assisted by the recent drop in oil prices due to fears over the omicron variant. But the variant’s impact on pricing appears to be fading, so it remains to be seen if oil prices stabilize or move higher.”
The especially volatile ebb and flow of the crude oil market makes it difficult to predict what gas prices will look like as we approach the holidays, but AAA hopes to see a steady decline over the coming weeks, spurred by a leveling global economy.
Rising prices at the pump have been at the forefront of Governor Ron DeSantis’s to-do list, with a recent call on lawmakers to allocate at least $1 billion for gas tax relief and inflation control within the fuel economy.
If passed through during the upcoming January legislative session, the gas tax would go into effect on July 1, 2022, shaving approximately 25 cents off of each gallon of gas by the way of exempting local and state taxes from sales of fuel.
“There’s a whole bunch of things that go into the price of gas, different taxes, federal, state, local level. We’re taking over 25 cents from Florida and we’ll basically zero that out for as long as we can and do over a billion dollars, said the governor. “If we were standing here a year ago [in Daytona Beach], you could get a gallon of gas for $1.31 cheaper than it is today.”