Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa Bay area gas prices are climbing — and here's why

Gas prices has spiked recently in the Tampa Bay area, which is routine this time of year as refineries gear up for summer. MONICA HERNDON | TIMES

Gas prices has spiked recently in the Tampa Bay area, which is routine this time of year as refineries gear up for summer. MONICA HERNDON | TIMES

Gas prices in Tampa Bay have surged this month as the nation's refineries gear up for summertime and crude oil has rebounded from rock-bottom lows.

A gallon of regular gasoline in the area cost an average of $1.81 on Monday, rising almost 17 cents in just a week, according to AAA. The statewide average was $1.84.

The rocketing prices bring Tampa Bay into line with the rest of the country. Just a week ago, gas in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area was well below the national average, but prices here have quickly caught up.

Why the sudden change? You can blame the approach of spring and the rising price of crude oil for that, said Gregg Laskoski, the Tampa-based senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

Oil refineries are switching gears and getting ready to make a less polluting (but more expensive) summer blend of gasoline. And the benchmark crude oil has risen to nearly $38 a barrel, up more than $10 since its low-point last month.

So this month's jump isn't unexpected, Laskoski said, and while gas prices won't keep rising this quickly, they're not going to get any cheaper. Instead, they'll probably peak this summer between $2.25 and $2.50 a gallon, he said.

But as gas gets more expensive, it's worth remembering that it could be worse.

This time a year ago, Tampa Bay drivers were paying $2.42 a gallon, AAA says.

And even that was a deal compared to the all-time high in July 2008, when the local average cracked $4.

"We've really been spoiled," Laskoski said.

Contact Thad Moore at tmoore@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3434. Follow @thadmoore.

Tampa Bay area gas prices are climbing — and here's why 03/07/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2016 6:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.