- Gasoline prices in Florida dipped by two cents on Tuesday after rising by 18 cents last week, reaching an average of $3.83 per gallon.
- The average is still 57 cents higher compared to Independence Day, marking one of the highest average fuel costs of the calendar year.
- The price increase can be attributed to factors including rising crude oil costs, constrained global oil supply due to OPEC production cuts, and challenges faced by refineries due to extreme heat, potentially worsened by the upcoming hurricane season.
Following an 18-cent hike in gasoline prices last week, Florida motorists’ fuel expenses slightly decreased on Tuesday, with the state’s average gas price now standing at $3.83 per gallon.
Last week’s cost increase culminated in the year’s peak price thus far, reaching $3.84 per gallon on Friday and surpassing the previous high of $3.72 reached in April. With approximately half of the cost of a gallon of fuel predicated on crude oil costs, the current rate of more than $80 per barrel, due to limited global oil supply, has forced consumer prices to rapidly rise.
The extreme heat experienced in the southern region, particularly when temperatures surpass 100 degrees, has also exacerbated challenges for fuel refineries. These temperature conditions have led to equipment breakdowns, which in turn, disrupts the gas supply.
“Florida gas prices are now the highest since August of last year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesperson for AAA. “These surging prices have been driven by a couple of factors. Extreme temperatures along the Gulf Coast have kept refineries from operating at full capacity. Globally, oil prices are significantly higher than a month ago, as OPEC production cuts cause global oil supplies to tighten.”
However, recent reports from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicate improvements in refinery operations. Despite potential mitigating factors, gas prices are expected to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, particularly as hurricane season approaches.
“The majority of Florida’s gasoline is supplied by refineries along the Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi coastlines,” continued Jenkins. “Gas prices could spike just based on the mere threat of a hurricane making landfall in this region. How high gas prices go from there – and for how long – would then be based on whether those refineries suffered any long-term damage.”
Among surveyed metropolitan markets, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton has the highest average gas price at $3.96 per gallon while Homosassa Springs and Naples recorded average prices of $3.91 and $3.90 per gallon, respectively.
Meanwhile, Crestview-Fort Walton Beach boasts the cheapest fuel prices at $3.58 per gallon. Pensacola follows closely behind with an average gallon of gas costing $3.59 and Panama City rounds out the three cheapest metro regions with an average of $3.62 per gallon.