As COVID-19 cases rise, local drivers are paying for the cheapest July gas in 16 years.
Gasoline prices in Southwest Florida dipped under the key $2 per gallon mark on Monday, but possibly not for long.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice market was $1.99 early Monday, GasBuddy reported. That was down by 3 cents over the week and stands 52 cents less than a year ago.
With driver demand slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, gas prices are the cheapest for July since 2004, according to AAA.
“We remain stuck in neutral when it comes to gasoline prices,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “While Pay with GasBuddy data showed a small rebound in gasoline demand, oil prices have again failed to break out, leading to yet another week of little change at the pump.
“It’s a bit too early to tell if the small rise in gasoline demand last week will continue into this week, but it does seem the most likely situation. The V-shaped recovery in gasoline demand has been put on hold for nearly all of July as coronavirus cases surged, but once we recover from that and we see demand show several weeks of recovery, we’ll likely see gas prices begin to tick higher,” he said.
Sarasota-Manatee average pump prices bottomed out around $1.73 per gallon in March, never reaching the $1.63 mark from early 2009, the lowest price recorded for the region based on records dating back to 2008.
Gas for under $2 can be a psychological boost for drivers, analysts say. Before March, the last time prices in the Sarasota-Manatee region dipped under $2 was from Aug. 2 to Aug. 9, 2016, and before that from Dec. 9, 2015, to March 17, 2016, according to GasBuddy.
The statewide average price for a gallon was $2.05 on Monday. The U.S. average was $2.18.
Stations in the Sarasota area were charging between $1.82 and $2.19 per gallon Monday morning, according to GasBuddy price reports.