Gas pumps

Gas prices are starting to recover after an overnight jump two weeks ago.

What happened?

Average Punta Gorda regular gas prices rose from $2.158 on Jan. 28 to $2.235 the next day. Prices reached a peak Jan. 31 at $2.281.

How much did they recover?

Gas prices in Punta Gorda averaged at $2.197 Tuesday, dropping 8 cents since the Jan. 31 peak.

Why did it take so long?

“There’s a common saying in the fuel industry,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesperson for the American Automobile Association (AAA). “Gas prices rise like a rocket and fall like a feather.”

Retailers purchase gas “just like we do, but at much larger quantities,” Jenkins said. If a retailer purchases a load of fuel and prices drop the following days, “they’d lose money if they lower their price before buying their next shipment.

“Sometimes retailers have to do it though,” he said, if they’re trying to compete with a retailer across the street who has lower prices.”

What was it like last year?

Local gas prices are 41 cents less than this same time last year.

How does Florida compare to other states?

Florida ranks as the 23rd most expensive state for gas among the 50 states, meanwhile surrounding southern states remain among the 20 cheapest states for gas.

Why are we more expensive?

Florida gas prices are often more expensive than surrounding states, Jenkins said, mainly due to a more expensive gas tax than surrounding states and a different method of receiving gasoline.

“Drivers continue to find gas prices that are well below what they paid this time last year,” said Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “Low oil prices have helped keep gas prices relatively low, so far this year.”

What’s happening with crude?

Crude oil prices settled at $52.64 a barrel Friday, dropping by $2.62 since last week. This is the first decline in crude oil prices in five weeks.

“Concerns reemerged late last week, that the ongoing U.S.-China trade war could slow global demand,” Jenkins said. “This overshadowed optimism in the market that OPEC cuts and sanctions against Venezuela exports are helping to balance global supplies.”

What’s in store for the future?

Prices should bounce higher in the spring, Jenkins said, due to a rising demand and refineries switching to the summer-blend gasoline, which is more expensive to produce.

AAA forecasts the national average to peak around $2.75 per gallon by Memorial Day weekend.

Last year, Memorial Day brought national gas prices to $2.971, and Florida prices to $2.909.

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Gas Prices

Location Feb. 12, 2019 Feb. 11, 2019 Feb. 1, 2019 Jan. 12, 2019 Feb. 12, 2018 Jan. 12, 2018
NationalFloridaFort Myers-Cape Coral $2.273$2.239$2.199 $2.278$2.243$2.202 $2.262$2.293$2.279 $2.240$2.129$2.089 $2.580$2.642$2.654 $2.521$2.448$2.417
Bradenton-Sarasota-VenicePunta Gorda $2.214$2.197 $2.218$2.205 $2.290$2.275 $2.035$2.033 $2.651$2.611 $2.428$2.420
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