Could gas prices fall below $3? At the current pace of falling prices, they very well could: Florida gas prices plummeted an average of 17 cents per gallon last week, continuing what is now a 7-week streak of declines. The state average has now dropped a total of 96 cents per gallon since mid-June, standing at $3.93 per gallon.
Oil prices were falling sharply again on Monday–by more than $5 a barrel at certain points in the day–reaching their lowest level since mid-March, but still a long way from the $66-a-barrel troth of late December. As oil prices fall, gas prices follow. But falling oil prices are a reflection of a weakening world economy. And this week’s meeting of OPEC (oil producing countries’ cartel) and their allies may lead to another tightening of supplies, potentially driving prices back up. A warning sign: Gasoline futures jumped nearly 30 cents per gallon last week.
In Palm Coast, gas prices were just under the $4-a-gallon threshold both along gas-guzzlers’ alley on State Road 100 ($3.99 at Wawa, $3.97 at RaceTrac, $3.99 at Shell) and along Palm Coast Parkway. As has often been the case, one of the lowest prices in the county is at the Hess station south of Bunnell, on State Road 100, where gas was selling for $3.79 a gallon today, according to Gas Buddy, in line with one of the lower rates found in Orlando Sunday–and the same price found at Buc-ee’s at I-95 and LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
Several Flagler County commissioners at their meeting this morning complained of what they see as purposefully higher gas prices in Flagler–what Commissioner Greg Hansen, not quite accurately, referred to as “the most expensive gas in the state of Florida.”
Today’s prices in St. Johns and Putnam counties were in line with Flagler’s, with similar differences observable in other parts of the state. For example, today’s prices in Alachua County are hovering between the low $4 to high $3.90 a gallon, much as in Flagler, but driving further south on I-75, in Ocala, prices fall by up to 40 cents a gallon, with most stations in the $3.50 range. Prices rise again as drivers reach the west coast in the Tampa Bay area, though not as much as in te Gainesville and Flagler areas. Prices in the Tallahassee area today were ranging anywhere from $3.69 to $3.999, with numerous stations at the $3.99 level see in in Palm Coast. As drivers make their way west in the Panhandle–approaching the refineries of the Gulf–prices fell again, in a few rare cases to below $3.50 a gallon.
But as AAA’s analysis indicates (see the highest gas prices in the state listed below), Flagler is not at the top of the scale in higher prices.
Hansen wanted the Commissioner of Agriculture to look into what he saw as the Flagler exception, and relied on anecdotal evidence to make his case. “I’ve talked to a couple of service stations, they said ‘because you’ll pay it, that’s why we charge it'” Hansen said. “Well, it’s not right.” Commissioner Andy Dance said he’d received the same complaining emails from constituents, and an explanation from a county staffer that the gas tax could explain it, though Dance said that did not make sense. Dance called it “interesting.”
Commissioners agreed to send a letter to the agriculture commissioner.
The average full tank of gas now costs about $14 less than it did when pump prices were at their peak in mid-June. At that time, when the state average was $4.89 per gallon, drivers paid $73 to fill an average 15-gallon tank of gas. Now, that same 15-gallon tank costs around $59.
While Americans are still feeling great strains at the gas pump, oil companies are recording, massive, record profits: $17.85 billion in the second quarter alone for Exxon Mobil, $11.62 billion for Chevron, $11.5 billion for Shell, which had recorded record profits of $9.1 billion the previous quarter. Exxon’s stick price was trading at nearly $95 a share today, up from $60 a share in December (or 58 percent higher). Clearly, while the war in Ukraine has tightened oil supplies to a degree, prices have not gone up only because of the war in Ukraine, or because of demand, but because oil companies have also ridden the wave to maximize profits. Commissioner Dave Sullivan appeared not to be off the mark when he said this morning: “I think large corporations do analysis of the populations and what they think they can get away with charging.”
“After paying almost $5 a gallon just a couple months ago, Florida drivers are likely breathing a sigh of relief when seeing gas prices back below $4 a gallon,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “However, it’s too early to tell just how long these sub-$4 gas prices will hang around. Oil and gasoline futures prices made notable gains last week. This could cause falling gas prices to level out or potentially increase, but it’s too early to tell.”
- Most expensive metro markets – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($4.18), Naples ($4.13), Fort Lauderdale ($4.04)
- Least expensive metro markets – Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($3.70), Melbourne-Titusville ($3.74), The Villages ($3.75)
Linda H. says
Not where I live. If our prices have dropped, it is in the last 48 hours. I have not been able to buy gas in Flagler for under $4.00 a gallon since prices began dropping. Our County has the lowest gas taxes in the area, so there was no excuse for this. And nobody here has been able to explain why, including the station owners who have been extremely quiet about this.
Ask your neighbors. Our gas has been the most expensive for weeks, and our taxes on it are the cheapest. After receiving several complaints, it is time to look into this.
I paid $3.99 this morning at the US 1 / Matanzas Woods Parkway roundabout station.
R. S. says
Well for the health of us on this planet, we should still consider alternatives to fossil fuel posthaste.
Oh yea right, let’s all put up Windmills and Solar Panels. There is no waste or pollution from them (wink, wink , sarc). Electric cars are the answer…… wait, that’s not correct. They cause more pollution from the batteries both while being made and after they wear out. And, just who is willing to give up 8 hours of there House electric so all their neighbors can charge their electric cars ? Maybe more Nuclear Power stations would be good ! And don’t forget EVERYTHING plastic in your homes are made from Petroleum ( OIL, BLACK GOLD, TEXAS TEA )
Jed – You sound like you were brainwashed by fox entertainment fake news !!!!
Do your own research, see what you come up with.
A supply and demand issue and problem created by those currently in charge of federal policy. Look to DC not the corporations. Same with inflation and impending recession. DC’a solution: More pork barrel spending and raising taxes on middle income taxpayers. Two horrifically terrible ideas.
Seems gas prices were excellent at the end of 2020. 🤔
The dude says
Which federal policy specifically?
Supply and demand… not much of anybody was using gas in 2020, remember? Are you suggesting that we go back to lockdown status to keep gas prices low?
Dennis C Rathsam says
Thanx Donald J Trump!!!!!
David Schaefer says
The first thing that these ding bats say it’s been that price for the last 25 years and we have a higher gas tax. Well thats B.S. even with a higher gas tax the prices here are always at least 35 cents higher than St Johns or Volusia County. Somethings wrong here who is getting a kickback????
Linda H. says
Mr. Schaefer, our gas taxes are lower than both Volusia and St. Johns. They are among the lowest in the state. That’s why this doesn’t make any sense.
To say that gas taxes in Flagler are “among the lowest in the state” is an exaggeration. Nine counties have total gas taxes of 50.9 cents, the lowest in the state, and lower than Flagler. Nineteen counties, including Flagler, are in the next group, with gas taxes totaling 51.9 cents. The rest have a total gas tax of 56.9, or 5 cents more than the group Flagler is in. See the full breakdown here.
David Schaefer says
Linda H you are dead wrong…
This isn’t a new problem. Has been happening for years. Flagler county has always been higher than north or south of us.
Politicians are now finally going to send a letter? Pick up the phone. Should have called months or even years ago.
I’m retired so don’t drive that much and when I need gas, I combine it with a trip north or south for other goods I buy outside the county.
I feel sorry for the families and businesses that don’t have that choice.
They will keep doing it if we don’t keep calling them on it and push our county leaders to keep this on their watch list and respond quickly. Not snail mail.
This has been a top subject on many local chat lines. Finally politicians waking up?
County Chairman Joe Mullis, Esq, is working for the Republican God-fearing people of Flagler County. He needs to be reelected. Joe has a couple of surprise announcements he is about to make that will get him reelected. I heard that Commissioner Joe Mullins is personally going to visit Governor DeSantis to work out a deal to get the gas prices down to $1.00 a gallon in only Flagler County. We all know that Joe is a very powerful politician and gets whatever he wants in Tallahassee! He claims that he is very close to DeSantis, and there should be no problem in finding the money in the state budget, especially with all the federal money the state just received.
Deborah Coffey says
Joe Mullins may actually be going to prison because he is under federal investigation for fraud. So NO, he does not need to be reelected. And, if you actually believe Joe Mullins can get gas down to $1/gallon in Flagler County, please get help.
I am sorry, Deborah, Joe is like a God to me. He is one of the most intelligent people in Flagler County! He delivers on his promises as a terrific leader does. Open your eyes, and you will see all the wonderful things he has done for this county since 2018. And he does it as a God-fearing Christian. I am just a little surprised that he has not been appointed by our Governor to a significant position in state government.
I remember when gas soared under George W Bush. Went from paying .99 a gallon during the last year of Clinton to over $4 after 9/11. You want to talk about sticker shock? THAT was sticker shock. Not this. You want to blame someone? Blame Russia, or are we not allowed to do that here in Russia-controlled FL? I mean let me take a look at global prices…we’ll look at that, EVERY country is paying more for everything. Who knew Biden was the king of the world. Hmmm. Is it maybe, oh I don’t know, the war???? You don’t have to be directly involved in the war to feel it’s impact. Find the common sense that exists within, turn off the Faux News and read a global paper – everyone is paying more not just us. It will end but blame the right people for this mess – RUSSIA – and not the guy who leads ONE country, not the world.
Bill C says
Meanwhile there are simultaneously record destructive forest burns and floods, loss of life and property, due to climate change while Big Oil rakes in record profits enabled by their congressional right wing lackeys who are at best, living in ignorance/denial or at worst simply groveling for contributions to their campaigns if they support oil industry recklessness.
I live in Palm Coast. I travel to Sams Club or Bucees once a week and get gas there. I just paid 3.67 for gas. That’s 30 cents a gal less. And there have been differences of up to 50 cents a gal.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Me too & I bring 3 or 4 gas cans with me …. Im good for 2 or 3 weeks!
It is more expensive to live in P.C. than the cities south of us. I guess that is why gas is mire expensive. Just my 2 cents.
I tend to agree with you. With more development comes more people needing services. PC is growing and Flagler in general will pay the price for that.
FYI, GasBuddy has jumped the shark as a reliable source. More than once we’ve been to various stations with an incorrect price listed, and updated it only to have it overwritten with the original incorrect price by a prolific poster (read: bot) in a matter of minutes or even seconds. Visiting the bot’s profile shows updates tens of miles apart within seconds of each other, which last I heard is a violation of GasBuddy’s TOS. But they are allowed to continue unhindered; reporting their posts has no effect.
Interestingly, the incorrect prices tend to be higher than the actual pump price. And no it’s not the cash/credit dichotomy.
Deborah Coffey says
All of a sudden all these Republicans are mad at Big Oil? They deregulated and subsidized these sharks for decades! Stop voting for these hypocrites. You’re getting what you deserve.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
PC seems to generally have higher prices for fuel when compared to the surrounding area.
Most Dem. states are still near or above $5.
Other Brother Larrt says
It’s just basic capitalism folks. No politician or government entity is going to change it in any long term dramatic fashion. The few sellers in Flagler are going to get the most bang for the buck. The computer algorithms will make certain of that and adjust accordingly. When it computes out that prices need to be lowered in order to maximize profits, it will be so. Other than that, the station owners and the oil and gas marketplace could give a hoot about your feelings. Your wallet is all that matters.
Now a politician or two can do something to entice a national carrier such as T/A, FlyingJ, Bucees, etc., but that requires giving up land and incentives. Either way it costs you the taxpayer. Pick your poison. Me, as many others, will do the 20 minute drive up the road, usually on a predetermined trip anyways.
In Daytona today gas prices are between $3.60 & $3.70 per gallon. The stations in P.C. are just ripping us off and have been for years and the republican leadership has done nothing !!!
for real says
I bought gas last week in S. Daytona for 3.44 a gallon. Flagler is not cheapest by far.
The Geode says
This article is dated 8/1. today (8/3), gas went up by $.10. This is becoming a big-ass “shell-game”. Imagine, gas was under $2.00 with the last administration…
Ray W. says
Imagine, area gas prices hit a low of $1.50 per gallon during the Obama administration. My comment is meaningless today, as is yours, as both crude oil and gasoline are international commodities.
Energy companies will always sell their product to the highest international bidder. If an Italian refinery owner offers the highest price to buy crude oil from an American energy producer, guess where the crude oil will go.
In February 2021, OPEC voted to cut production by six million barrels of crude oil per day. Saudi Arabia voluntarily cut another one million barrels of crude oil per day. OPEC has slowly brought production closer to pre-cut levels, but it has yet to return to full production. Supply and demand.
Russia invaded the Ukraine, a decision which greatly impacted international crude oil sales.
Before OPEC’s vote, crude oil was selling for around $35 per barrel. After the cut, prices immediately began to rise, eventually settling at around $85 per barrel. Then came the disruption of war and crude oil prices spiked. The world is adjusting to the spike and prices are beginning to drop, however slowly. American crude oil production is rising, as it always does when prices for crude oil are high. In my childhood travels throughout the southwest, my father would comment that the economy was strong whenever we saw the crude oil pumps turning. When they were motionless, he would comment that the economy was weak. Nothing has changed. When crude oil prices were $35 per barrel before the OPEC cut, drilling rigs were motionless. Now, plenty of American rigs are drilling for oil. If the price drops far enough, American energy companies will stop drilling new wells and redrilling old ones (horizontal drilling). During the last week in July, 767 drilling rigs were in operation, four less than the number of rigs in operation just before the pandemic hit. The number has been steadily rising since crude oil prices spiked.
American crude oil production stands at 12.1 million barrels per day, a high for the year. American demand for crude oil products (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, grease and oils, plastics, and the myriad other products derived from crude oil) remains at roughly 20.4 million barrels per day.
Once again, crude oil and gasoline are international commodities. International supply and demand will control what we pay for our petroleum-based energy products.
Linda H. says
Is there some reason why it is not ok to find out why? Yes, we’re growing. But both Volusia and St. John’s counties are bigger, charge more local taxes, and our gas is still higher.
I would like to know why our gas prices have always been higher than theirs. Nobody here can tell me. Don’t you find that odd?