With coronavirus-related restrictions lifting and Floridians beginning to travel more, gasoline prices are the most expensive they have been in nine weeks. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Florida is $1.90, up 2 cents from last week and 14 cents from a month ago, according to the AAA auto club.
Also, the price of crude oil is at a three-month high, due to increased demand and production cuts. AAA spokesman W. D. Williams said he expects prices will top $2 a gallon in the next week or two. “The economy is rebounding,” Williams said. “People who were working from home are now starting to go back to their normal place of work. So, those daily commutes consume a lot of gasoline systemwide. So, the demand is increasing. We all know that as the demand increases, the prices are going to increase as well.”
Prices have been creeping up across the country, already hitting $2 a gallon in some places in the Northeast and Midwest, and exceeding $3 in the West.
Gas prices are still down 70 cents a gallon from a year ago. Florida’s most expensive gas is in West Palm Beach, with the cheapest in Orlando. “The bottom of gasoline prices are behind us, and we are going to see continued increases coming up in the future,” Williams said. “We expect to see a $2-a-gallon Florida average, probably within a week or so.”
Oil markets had crashed at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency, significantly adding to economic woes in oil-producing states such as Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana. The problems are easing.
“April was widely expected to reflect the weakest oil market data yet – and may be a low point that is reflected on for decades to come,” American petroleum Institute Chief Economist Dean Foreman said last month. “Significant uncertainty remains over the state of oil markets in the weeks ahead, but the realignment of the supply and demand balance coupled with the gradual reopening of state economies leads us to be cautiously optimistic that the worst may be behind us.”
On the supply side, U.S. oil-targeted drilling fell a record 52 percent over the past two months as producers adjusted output to align with this historic decline in demand, API reported. Domestic oil production fell almost by a million barrels a day in April, to 12 million barrels per day, which combined with reductions in natural gas and other liquids output, amounted to the largest monthly decline in U.S. total liquids supply on record.
–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida