Gas prices poised to spike in Central Florida
Gas prices are set to spike in Central Florida by as much as 25 cents.
A gallon of regular unleaded dropped in price by about 1 cent last week to $2.54 a gallon here, while gas prices in the rest of the country went up by five cents. The national average for gas is now $2.71, while wholesale prices continue to climb.
That means Orlando could see prices in the high $2.70s soon, said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA.
“It’s pretty unusual for the state to be so far below the national average,” Jenkins said. “Part of that has to do with prices climbing in other states, but not here.”
Florida’s average price is $2.62 a gallon. Orlando’s fuel price average is near the lowest in the state, and only a fraction of a penny higher than Tampa, where a similar mix of national gas station brands usually creates matching prices.
Gas prices have been climbing across the country in the past few weeks because of tensions in Syria, the usual spring increase in fuel prices because of refinery maintenance and production cuts from OPEC members.
“In the past few years, we’ve had such an abundance of crude oil that international problems really didn’t faze the oil market,” Jenkins said. “But the recent OPEC cuts have made that a little tighter.”
Oil is trading at its highest since May 2015, as prices have increased about 8 percent in the past 10 days. A barrel of crude was trading for about $66.60 in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday.
While Orlando’s gas prices are low, a handful of cities in the Midwest and Gulf Coast are selling gas as low as $2.30 a gallon, according to gas price tracking service GasBuddy.com.
Meanwhile, demand for gasoline in the United States is essentially flat from last year.
But gas prices could be coming up because wholesale gas prices on the Gulf Coast rose by 15 cents a gallon last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“The rest of the country is adjusting to those higher wholesale prices, and we just haven’t gotten there yet,” Jenkins said.