It’s painful, but not not as painful as two weeks ago: The price of a gallon of regular gas dropped below $4.70 at most gas stations along guzzlers’ alley on State Road 100 in Palm Coast early this week, continuing a two-week downward streak since prices came within 10 cents of the $5 mark in Flagler, and briefly crossed the mark in nearly half the states.
Just ahead of the Independence Day weekend, a gallon of gas today was in the $4.69 range at a few stations on State Road 100 and on Palm Coast Parkway, with others selling between $4.75 and $4.79. Love’s, RaceTrac and two other stations at the intersection of I-95 and U.S. 1, south of Palm Coast, was at $4.59, and for those in the mood for unleaded brisket, Buc-cee’s at LPGA Boulevard and I-95 was selling gas for as little as $4.27 a gallon today, as was Sam’s across the street, making a gas-up trip that way almost worth the miles.
Sheetz, the convenience store chain in a few states to the north and in the Midwest, is lowering the price of its unleaded 88 type of fuel, usable in newer vehicles, to $3.99 for the holiday weekend. But there are no such stores in Florida, and the closest is in North Carolina.
Analysts are cautioning that the dip in prices may not last, because demand is not falling and China’s thirst for oil is only ramping up fast as it reopens some of the big economic zones that had been locked down because of Covid.
Last week, President Biden asked Congress to approve a three-month gas-tax “holiday,” but that would have reduced prices by a mere 18.4 cents–an indication of how low the federal gas tax has been since it was last increased in 1993. It has lost much of its value to inflation since. The Florida gas tax is 19 cents, up from 18.5 before January, according to the Florida Department of Revenue. It will be suspended for the month of October (notably after tourism’s peak season but before the November mid-term elections). The Flagler County gas tax adds another 7 cents.
Florida gas prices declined 14 cents last week, according to AAA, the auto club. The state average has fallen 21 cents per gallon since setting a new record high price of $4.89 on June 13th.
“Gas prices are moving in a favorable direction, as millions of Americans prepare to embark on an Independence Day road trip,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “Despite the recent declines, gas prices are still likely to be the highest for this holiday in history.”
The discount at the pump is due to a recent drop in crude oil and gasoline futures prices, which are largely driven by concerns about the economy, following the Fed’s interest rate hike. The U.S. price of oil declined a total of 11% during the past two weeks. But it has risen for three successive days, and was trading at $112 a barrel today, up from $105 only three days ago–another indication that the recent declines may not last.
AAA forecasts that auto travel will set new records this Independence Day, with 151,000 more road trippers than last year. More than 42 million Americans are forecast to drive 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. More than 2.3 million of those will be Floridians.
It will cost around $25 more to fill the family vehicle’s gas tank this year. On Sunday, the state average price for regular unleaded was $4.68 per gallon. That amounts to $70 for a full 15-gallon tank. Holiday travelers paid $3.01 per gallon on July 4, 2021; and $2.68 per gallon on July 4, 2019.
Drivers should expect busy roads during the holiday weekend, particularly during Thursday and Friday afternoons,as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip. AAA advises road travelers to leave early and identify alternate routes in case you encounter congestion.
AAA expects to receive 446,000 calls for roadside assistance during the holiday weekend. Getting a full vehicle inspection could help ensure you are not one of them.
- Most expensive metro markets – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($4.86), Gainesville ($4.77), Naples ($4.77)
- Least expensive metro markets – Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($4.50), Pensacola ($4.55), Panama City ($4.57)
|Gas Price Overview||Oil Price Overview|
|Sunday’s Avg. Price – $4.68 per gallon
Cost for a Full Tank – $70 (15 gallons)
2022 High – $4.89 per gallon (June 13, 2022)
2021 High – $3.36 per gallon (Nov. 2021)
Record High – $4.89 per gallon (June 2022)
|Friday’s U.S. Oil Price – $107 per barrel
Previous Week’s Closing Price – $109.56 per barrel
2022 High – $123.70 (Mar. 8, 2022)
2021 High – $84.65 per barrel (Oct. 2021)
Record High – $145.29 per barrel (July 2008)