AAA REPORT: Gas Prices Continue to Fall But Will Start to Rise Again as Refineries Enter Maintenance Break

By  //  February 28, 2018

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Florida gas prices declined past 17 consecutive days, for a total discount of 16 cents

Gas prices have steadily declined during the past couple of weeks, but that downward trend is likely coming to an end. 

(AAA) – Gas prices have steadily declined during the past couple of weeks, but that downward trend is likely coming to an end. Refineries are entering their seasonal maintenance period, which can place significant upward pressure on prices at the pump.

Historically, maintenance season has caused gas prices to jump 15-75 cents from February to June. Last year, pump prices only rose 15 cents during that time, because oil prices struggled to maintain strength. When gasoline jumped 60-70 cents in 2015 and ’16, oil had risen $15-$20 per barrel.

“Energy prices are rising again, which should signal the end for the steady slump at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

“Wholesale gasoline prices jumped last week, amid reports that refinery activity along the gulf coast is slowing down. This will make it more expensive for retailers to purchase gasoline, and that added expense will eventually be passed along to the consumer.

Based on movements in the market last week, the short-term increase could amount to only a few cents, but motorists should expect a minimum total increase of 20-30 cents this spring.”

Florida Gas Prices Drop 16 Cents in 17 Days

Gas prices for the month of February are their highest in four years. Florida gas prices declined during the past 17 consecutive days, for a total discount of 16 cents.

The state average of $2.52 is 5 cents less than a week ago and 3 cents less than last month. However, motorists are paying 24 cents per gallon more than this time last year – the difference of $4 for an average-sized tank of gasoline.

  • The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.66), Sebastian-Vero Beach ($2.64), and Naples ($2.63)
  • The least expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Jacksonville ($2.43), Punta Gorda ($2.45), and Orlando ($2.47)

Futures and Wholesale Prices Rise

Refineries are entering their seasonal maintenance period, which can place significant upward pressure on prices at the pump.

  • Crude oil prices rose $1.87 per barrel during the past week,  WTI reached a settlement of $63.55/b, Friday on the NYMEX
  • Gasoline futures rose 6 cents during the past week, RBOB reached a settlement of $1.81, Friday on the NYMEX
  • Wholesale gasoline rose 8 cents during the past week, Wholesale rose a total of 11 cents during the past week, after plunging 21 cents the two weeks before,

Crude oil prices regained strength last week after protests caused a large Libyan oil field shut down, and a bullish report was released from the Energy Information Administration. According to the weekly report, domestic oil production hung steady, while oil inventories declined a half percent.

Gas Price Tools for Reporters/Consumers

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Highs and Lows of 2018*

  • National: the highest average price for gasoline was $2.61 on February 6; the lowest was $2.49 on January 3.
  • Florida: the highest average price in was $2.68 on February 8; the lowest was $2.44 on January 2.
  • Georgia: the highest average price was $2.49 on January 31; the lowest was $2.35 on January 2.
  • Tennessee: the highest average price was $2.41 on February 7; the lowest was $2.26 on January 1.

CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES

                                           Regular Unleaded Gasoline

Sunday Saturday Week Ago Month Ago One Year Ago Highest Price on Record
National $2.518 $2.520 $2.533 $2.564 $2.286 $4.114 (7/17/2008)
Florida $2.523 $2.526 $2.571 $2.546 $2.277 $4.079 (7/17/2008)
Georgia $2.381 $2.382 $2.407 $2.451 $2.204 $4.164 (9/15/2008)
Tennessee $2.310 $2.312 $2.342 $2.382 $2.069 $4.118 (9/15/2008)
Click here to view current gasoline price averages

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