Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Will gas prices dip below $3? Tampa among lowest in Florida

Tampa Bay is enjoying the lowest gas prices in the state, partly because of the federal government shutdown.

Some area stations were selling gas for slightly above $3 per gallon, and AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said she'd heard reports of even lower prices.

Brady said those prices should continue to fall throughout the week.

According to GasBuddy.com, Monday's national average was $3.37 per gallon. In comparison, the Tampa metro area's average was just $3.19. A month ago, that average was $3.50, according to the site.

This time of year is traditionally cheaper, Brady said, as demand tapers off with the end of summer and vacation season.

But several factors are playing a role, including improving relations in the Middle East.

And the government shutdown.

"You tie in the government shutdown, and the potential for it to reduce consumer demand for fuel, then we also have another factor that's pushing the prices lower," Brady said.

In fact, she said, prices likely would have been lower if Tropical Storm Karen hadn't thrown a wrench in the downward trend when it headed toward the Florida Panhandle last week.

Tampa's port and the bay area's location close to the Gulf of Mexico makes it ideally positioned for quick supply, but that location means it can be easily isolated by storms as well, Brady said.

Paul Amaral gassed up his Infiniti at the BP station at 6151 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg on Monday. At $3.10 a gallon, the prices were the cheapest between Central Avenue and Gandy Boulevard.

The drop is making his head spin. Last week, at a station farther south on Fourth Street, he said he paid close to $3.50 per gallon.

"It's just a racket, to me," Amaral said.

Prices were lower throughout Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties Monday morning.

Regular unleaded gas went for $3.06 per gallon at the 7-Eleven at 11015 W Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon on Monday morning, the lowest area price that didn't require a membership card for purchase.

In Pasco County, the Farm Stores at 4449 Grand Blvd. in New Port Richey were selling regular unleaded gas for $3.05 per gallon Monday.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at (727)-893-8804 or [email protected] On Twitter: @clairelwiseman

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