Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Transportation

Gas prices on the rise in the Tampa Bay area and beyond

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The cost of gas is on the rise across Tampa Bay and the nation.

In the Tampa Bay region, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline costs $3.51 on average, according to AAA.

That's up from $3.44 a month ago. Last year at this time, AAA reported, a gallon of regular cost $3.38 in the bay area.

The bump in prices will probably continue in coming weeks, said AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady. Hurricane season can also create conditions for sudden surges in costs.

"Expect to see more volatility in the market as the weeks progress," Brady said. "I do think gas prices are going to increase over the next several weeks."

For Florida, that means the statewide average could approach $3.75 to $3.80 a gallon, according to Brady.

AAA lists the current statewide average at $3.62 for a gallon of regular gasoline.

Political unrest in the Middle East and the depletion of crude oil stockpiles are contributing to the increased costs, Brady said.

She said some people fear that conflict in Egypt will lead to the closing of the Suez Canal, an important passage for ships carrying oil.

Between the last week in June and the first week of July, Brady said, crude oil stockpiles fell by about 20 million barrels, the highest two-week total since 1982. She said the precipitous drop could be linked in part to increased demand for oil globally.

Nationally, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.66, according to AAA. That's nearly 20 cents higher than the average this time last year.

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