Storms stacking up in Atlantic, but high Florida gas prices already make landfall

by | Aug 21, 2023

  • Five tropical disturbances in the Atlantic won’t hit Florida, but concerns over fuel supply disruptions have hit gas pumps across the state.
  • Florida’s gas prices hit a 2023 high of $3.85 before settling at $3.82 due to increased demand and storm-related refinery worries.
  • Despite the tropical activity, Florida is safe for now, but the busy hurricane season calls for ongoing vigilance and potential fuel price fluctuations.

Even though none of the five current tropical disturbances being tracked in the Atlantic are projected to hit Florida, anticipation of severe weather has already made landfall at gas pumps across the state. The crowded Atlantic Ocean, with Tropical Storms Franklin, Gert, and Emily, along with a pair of unnamed weather systems, has led to concerns over potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.

According to AAA Auto Club, gas prices in Florida reached a new 2023 high of $3.85 last week before settling slightly lower at $3.82. That’s an increase of 27 cents per gallon compared to this time last year. The price hikes come as demand for fuel spikes, partially driven by anticipation of potential storms that could affect refineries along the Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi coastlines.

“The volatility in prices at the pump will likely continue throughout the next couple of months, now that the tropics are beginning to heat up,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “These refineries are the primary supplier of gasoline for Florida. The extent of the price hike varies, depending on the severity of the storm and extent of any damages sustained by the refineries or supply chain.”

This spike in gas prices coincides with the busy summer travel season, as Labor Day weekend approaches. Florida remains a popular destination, with domestic travel bookings up 4 percent and international bookings surging by 44 percent from last year, according to AAA. Cruise bookings have also seen a substantial increase, up 19 percent compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center has been closely watching Franklin, Gert, and several other systems, but none pose an imminent threat to the Sunshine State. While Tropical Storm Franklin is likely to bring storm conditions to parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is expected to hit Texas, Floridians are safe for now.

However, the busy tropical activity serves as a stark reminder to remain vigilant for the remainder of the hurricane season. Forecasters emphasize that the peak of the season, when most tropical activity occurs, is mid-August through mid-October.

With continued uncertainty in the tropics and the high demand for travel, it appears that volatility in fuel prices will be the norm in the coming weeks. Residents and visitors alike should prepare for the possibility of further fluctuations at the pump.

1 Comment

  1. dmmorrison

    Oil companies gouge when they can.

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