Flagler and Florida gas prices took an unexpected turn higher last week despite a cut in the gas tax timed by the GOP-dominated Legislature to coincide with the November election.
After sinking to a 2022 low of $3.17 per gallon on Wednesday, the state average shot up 16 cents per gallon over the course of four days, in what became the largest weekly increase since June. The increase erases much of the month-long suspension of the state gas tax of 23.3 cents. Flagler County’s local gas tax and federal taxes remain.
On Tuesday, gas was selling in a range of from 3.29 to $3.39 a gallon for regular unleaded in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach. Consumers will be in for another shock when the gas tax “holiday,” as lawmakers like to call it, is lifted at the end of October.
“The jump at the pump came as a surprise, as this time a week ago, it appeared that the state’s gas tax holiday would pressure prices lower,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, things changed quickly after OPEC and its allies announced plans to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day. This sent oil and gasoline futures prices back to 5-week highs. As a result, the price for retailers to purchase gasoline jumped more than 30 cents, erasing any of the downward progress created by the 25 cent sales tax holiday.”
The cut was orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, ostensibly an American ally, and Russia, which stands to gain the most as it uses profits from oil sales to finance its war in Ukraine.
In full, the U.S. price of oil rose 17 percent last week. Friday’s closing price of $92.64 per barrel was $13 more than the week before. Since oil is the chief ingredient in gasoline, this raises the cost of producing, buying and selling the fuel.
Florida drivers are now paying an average price of $3.33 per gallon. That’s 7 cents more than the average price last Sunday and closer to what drivers paid on October 1st ($3.38) than on October 2nd ($3.26).
- Most expensive metro markets – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.50), Fort Lauderdale ($3.36), Miami ($3.36)
- Least expensive metro markets – Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($3.17), Pensacola ($3.18), Panama City ($3.21)
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