Monday’s state average of $3.82 per gallon is 56 cents per gallon more than what Florida drivers paid on Independence Day. Last week the state average reached a new 2023 high of $3.84 per gallon – topping the previous high of $3.72, set back in April. In Osceola County drivers are seeing gas prices as $3.82 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
This was the fourth consecutive weekly jump at the pump.
“Florida gas prices are now the highest since August of last year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “These surging prices have been driven by a couple of factors. Extreme temperatures along the gulf coast has kept refineries from operating at full capacity. Globally, oil prices are significantly higher than a month ago, as OPEC production cuts cause global oil supplies to tighten.”
About half the price per gallon of gasoline is influenced by oil prices. When gas prices were lower last month, crude oil was trading just below $70 a barrel. Now oil is above $80 per barrel. Friday’s closing price of $82.81/b is just 45 cents below the 2023 high. This is all primarily due to tightness in the global oil market.
Meanwhile, extreme temperatures in the south have prevented fuel refineries from operating at full capacity. Refineries already generate incredible heat while operating. When outside temperatures exceed 100 degrees, that can cause breakdowns and equipment failures, not to mention things beyond their control like rolling electrical outages and severe weather.
“There are some factors that should help alleviate some upward pressure on fuel prices, but one major wild card that could cause them to spike again,” Jenkins said. “Last week’s supply report from the EIA showed improvements in refinery operations. Additionally, gasoline demand may soon move lower as students return to school, signaling the end of the busy summer driving season.
“Drivers should expect continued volatility at the pump during the coming months, particularly as we approach peak hurricane season,” Jenkins continued. “The majority of Florida’s gasoline is supplied by refineries along the Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines. Gas prices could spike just based on the mere threat of a hurricane making landfall in this region. How high gas prices go from there – and for how long – would then be based on whether those refineries suffered any long term damage.”