Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Consumers feel pain as gas prices rise

RECOMMENDED READING


The price is $3.34 on Hillsborough Avenue, $3.12 in New Port Richey and $3.25 along Dale Mabry Highway. Tampa Bay area drivers can save a quarter a gallon on gas just by driving a couple miles. But many say they don't bother.

"If I have to drive across town to save a couple cents, it's not worth the extra gas," said Chris Melendez, 27, of New Port Richey as he filled up his silver Dodge Ram for $3.19 a gallon Monday on Dale Mabry. "Unless it's a dollar cheaper, which it's not going to be, I try not to drive around."

After months of stable prices at the pump, gas prices are on the rise. In the bay area, motorists could find an array of prices spanning anywhere from $2.99 a gallon to upwards of $3.40, AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said.

While this disparity might shock some consumers, Brady said it's not unusual. Different tax rates and types of gas are one explanation.

And prices trend higher near airports, major interchanges, attractions and rural stations with little competition. That's just the market at work. But the range coupled with a 12-cent jump in the weekly average account for the unexpected squeeze on drivers' wallets.

The price per barrel had been hovering around $85. But combined effects from a Norwegian labor strike and European sanctions on Iran saw that number rise to about $88, Brady said.

"It's not too surprising that we saw maybe some knee-jerk reactions with retail prices," Brady said.

That reaction led to the first jump in the weekly average since April 7 when prices peaked at $3.95 a gallon for regular, Brady said.

Even if they could save as much as $5 a stop, many drivers said convenience outweighs savings Sometimes the customer service or the brand is worth paying a few extra cents a gallon, drivers said. And sometimes, they just don't have time to find a better price.

"Just yesterday, I was thinking it was $3," Leschele Labdar, 33, of Spring Hill said, filling her gray Hyundai Sonata for $3.25 a gallon Monday. "I try to go with the lowest price, but today I was really on 'E,' so I stopped."

While Brady expects price stability in the market to return following this initial spike, she thinks the area has probably seen the low for the year. She also warned that price increases usually happen quicker than decreases. So even if Norway settles its strike issues this week, it could take a few days for drivers in Tampa to feel the relief.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813)225-3111.

Comments
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17
Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of rundown cott...
Published: 11/17/17
Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Stephanie Maisonneuve visited the walled city of Cartagena, a port city off the Caribbean coast of Colombia. She rode horseback down the city’s cobbled streets clucking past flower-filled balconies and massive, wooden arched doors. The travel enthusi...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17