The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline continues on its upward trajectory toward $3.00 per gallon. According to AAA, unleaded gas in Florida was 2.30 a year ago. A month ago it was $2.48, and today it’s up to $2.74. In Florida, gas per gallon is $2.71 while Osceola is a couple of cents cheaper at $2.68 per gallon of regular unleaded.
Rising crude prices, tightening gas supplies, and increased gas demand have contributed to drivers seeing higher prices at the pump.
Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Utah (+20 cents), Colorado (+13 cents), Wyoming (+12 cents), Idaho (+12 cents), Arizona (+12 cents), Nevada (+11 cents), Kansas (+10 cents), Oklahoma (+10 cents), New Mexico (+10 cents) and Florida (+9 cents).
The cold snap that affected much of the central part of the country in mid-February disrupted energy systems, particularly in and around Texas. In the U.S. Gulf Coast, where the petroleum infrastructure has rarely operated in sub-zero temperatures, several refineries fully or partially shut down, leading to the largest reduction in Gulf Coast refinery operations in several years.
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, total domestic gas stocks decreased by 13.6 million bbl to 243.5 million bbl, as demand increased from 7.2 million b/d to 8.15 million b/d last week. If these trends continue alongside higher crude prices, drivers can expect incremental price increases — of at least another nickel — at local gas stations in March.
At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $2.55 to settle at $63.83. Crude prices increased this week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided with its allies, including Russia, to maintain existing crude production cuts of 7 million b/d through April. Additionally, Saudi Arabia — a member of OPEC — agreed to extend its voluntary production cut of 1 million b/d by one month.
According to federal data, gas prices have mostly been going up since they bottomed out at $1.87 a gallon in late April 2020. With gas prices reaching $2.72 in late February 2021, that’s an increase of 45% within about 10 months.