Sunday, December 10, 2017
Business

Here's why gas prices in Florida have risen since Hurricane Matthew

Call it the Hurricane Matthew effect.

Until the market showed signs of stabilizing on Sunday, gas prices had risen 16 consecutive days in Florida for a total jump of 11 cents, in large part due to supply chains disrupted by the storm, AAA reported. That's in sharp contrast to elsewhere in much of the country where gas prices have been heading down the past couple weeks.

Price-tracker GasBuddy.com reported a similar trend: Average retail gas prices in Tampa have risen 8.2 cents per gallon over the past week, averaging $2.19 a gallon on Sunday based on GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,260 gas outlets in Tampa.

"Gas prices are a mixed bag across the southeastern United States," said, Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA — The Auto Club Group. "Motorists in Georgia and Tennessee continue to benefit from abundant gasoline supplies at a time when demand is low. The same would be true in Florida had it not been for Hurricane Matthew. The major storm temporarily shut down supply hubs, and left some filling stations without gasoline. Stabilized gas prices are a good sign that much of the supply has been restored to the affected areas."

Previous coverage: The economic impact of Hurricane Matthew may be a wash

Jenkins said he could not say for sure there were not cases of price gouging during and after the hurricane. But "these increases are not dramatic enough to be considered gouging," he said, since prices remain close to the national and Georgia averages.

In general, gas prices have been on the decline nationally.

The national average fell 2.4 cents in the last week to $2.23 per gallon, GasBuddy.com reported.

But that could change quickly. Oil prices fell $1 per barrel last week, but maintained the $50-per-barrel level due to concern over the likelihood of the Organization of Petroleum for Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries cutting oil production in the weeks ahead, GasBuddy said.

OPEC members are scheduled to have several meetings before the end of November to discuss an output agreement.

Contact Jeff Harrington at [email protected] Follow @JeffMHarrington.

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