The average gasoline price in Florida fell 24 cents since mid-August, but you should fill up soon if you want to take advantage of it.
Oil prices are climbing, and that’s going to cause the price of gas to head up again as well, travel club AAA said in its weekly gas price update on Monday.
Floridians were paying an average $3.60 for a gallon of unleaded regular on Monday, AAA data shows. That’s 23 cents below the national average and 8 cents less that a week ago. On Aug. 17, the average price in Florida was $3.85.
Gas prices fell over the past several weeks even as oil prices topped $80 a barrel, thanks to OPEC’s decision to extend production cuts and keep global oil supplies tightened, AAA reported.
In Monday morning trading, the price of U.S.-drilled crude oil hovered at $87.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange — a 20% increase over the past two months.
But gas prices were slow to follow oil prices because refineries have been changing to a cheaper winter gas blend, which requires fewer additives.
“Unfortunately, the downward trend may end soon,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “Futures prices have strengthened in the fuel market, which should reapply upward pressure on prices at the pump.”
After dropping 19 cents last week, gasoline futures regained about 6 cents a gallon — signaling that prices at the pump should soon follow.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for price-comparison website GasBuddy.com, on Monday noted a 1.6-cent increase in the national average price of gas following two straight weeks of declines.
In his blog, De Haan wrote that the spikes were caused by a 10-cent-a-gallon increase on the West Coast, a result of refinery snags, and a hike of more than 30 cents a gallon in Corn Belt states like Iowa and Minnesota.
But De Haan was more optimistic than Jenkins about prospects for lower prices in the near future, saying the changeover to winter-blend gas should reduce the national average gasoline price “for most of the nation” in coming weeks, barring further refinery disruptions or impacts from hurricane season.
“Fall tends to bring falling gas prices, and I’m hoping this year won’t be any different,” De Haan said.
Average prices in South Florida were trending higher than the overall state in part due to the higher cost of doing business here.
The average price of gas was $3.65 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and $3.79 in Palm Beach County.
But South Florida motorists know that prices range widely in the area, and bargains are available for those who know where to look.
According to GasBuddy’s price spotters, several gas stations in Sunrise and Davie were selling for $3.29 a gallon on Monday morning, including Chevron, Marathon and Murphy Express on West Oakland Park Boulevard in Sunrise and Speedway and RaceTrac on Davie Road in Davie.
Palm Beach County’s lowest gas prices, by comparison, were $3.33 at Mobil at 7031 Jog Road in Lake Worth and $3.41 at two stations: RaceTrac, 2995 45th St., West Pam Beach and Wawa, 2370 45th St., West Palm Beach.
Two stations in Miami-Dade were selling for $3.29: Murphy USA at 9203 NW 77th Ave. in Hialeah Gardens and Murphy Express at 2355 NE 8th St. in Homestead.
Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.