Motorists saw another jump at the pump April 10, according American Automobile Association (AAA) data.
Statewide, the price of regular gas rose an average of 3.7 cents per gallon. However, prices closer to home rose noticeably more. In the Punta Gorda metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which includes all of Charlotte County, prices rose an average of 5.7 cents.
Is this the worst it has ever been?So far this year, gas prices statewide have risen 62 cents since Jan. 1.
“Florida gas prices may seem high now, but the state average is still less than last year’s high,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA).
Last year, statewide gas prices peaked at $2.918 a gallon on Memorial Day weekend, with Punta Gorda MSA pumps peaking at $2.870. As of Tuesday, Punta Gorda pumps stand just 13 cents lower than last year’s peak.
At this time last year, prices statewide were 15 cents less than what they are now.
When will prices start to decline?Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of pump rises.
“Lingering supply issues are keeping upward pressure on prices at the pump,” Jenkins said. “But relief should come soon, as refineries are expected to return to full strength in the coming weeks.”
Rising prices also aren’t discouraging drivers, with U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data pointing to strong gasoline demand, even eclipsing the levels seen this time last year.
“Although springtime travelers may not be enjoying the recent jump at the pump, it doesn’t seem to be slowing them down either,” Jenkins said.
What’s in store for the future?The EIA forecasts that gasoline will average $2.76 per gallon this summer, down from $2.85 per gallon last summer.
The summer driving season is defined as April through September, according to AAA.
The lower average prices is due to EIA’s expectation of lower crude oil prices for 2019.
For the entire year, EIA expects gas to average $2.60 per gallon, resulting in an average household spending $100, or 4 percent, less than they did in 2018.
How do we compare? As of Tuesday, Florida was the 17th most expensive state for gas.
Statewide, the most expensive areas for gas were West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.864), Ocala ($2.809) and Homosassa Springs ($2.807).
Meanwhile, the cheapest areas for gas were Pensacola ($2.705), Melbourne-Titusville ($2.728) and Jacksonville ($2.734). The Punta Gorda MSA is the fifth cheapest area in Florida for gas.