After more than two months of hovering around the price of a candy bar, the Florida average for a gallon of gas is back up above $2.
State gas prices averaged $2.01 for a gallon of regular unleaded Thursday according to AAA, the Auto Club Group, an uptick of 11 cents over the week. Tampa Bay gas prices matched the state average following a 14-cent hike from last Thursday.
The price increase comes from several factors. Demand for fuel is rising as more people return to the roads one month into reopening the state, while supply is still reduced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country’s recent agreement to continue its crude oil production cuts. The national unemployment rate’s May decline to 13.3 percent also pushes prices up.
“Overall, it comes down to more optimism of supplies balancing with demand,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA.
Where the prices will go from here, Jenkins said, isn’t clear yet, and will likely be affected by external factors week-to-week, particularly if there is a resurgence in coronavirus cases. This week, Florida saw the highest one-day number of new coronavirus cases — 1,698.
Prior to the pandemic, in February, gas prices were averaging $2.40 a gallon in Florida.
Currently, Jenkins said, demand for gasoline is about 20 percent lower than this time last year. At the pandemic’s peak in April, demand was down by about 75 percent compared to last year.
“There has been a recovery of demand to a degree,” Jenkins said, but nowhere near a fully recovery.
Nationally, gas averaged $2.09 per gallon Thursday.
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