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Florida gas prices drop as summer comes to a close

Prices are nearly 40 cents lower than this time last year.

Gas prices are headed down as the summer driving season comes to a close.

Florida pump prices averaged $2.13 per gallon Monday, down 4 cents over the week, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Because of effects on demand from the pandemic, prices are nearly 40 cents lower than this time last year.

“Florida drivers may see the state average slip below $2.10 this week,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “However, there are opposing forces affecting the market.”

While demand is dropping as fewer Floridians hit the road, gasoline supplies are also down, driving up wholesale gas prices, Jenkins said. Gulf Coast refineries shut down temporarily for a combination of seasonal maintenance and storms headed toward the gulf.

Florida’s highest average gas price this year was $2.56 per gallon prior to the pandemic in January, while its lowest was $1.76 per gallon in May following a month under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Tampa Bay prices were $2.10 per gallon Monday, down 6 cents over the week and 37 cents from the same time last year.

Punta Gorda, which often posts some of the state’s lowest gas prices, had the least-expensive gas on average of Florida’s metro areas Monday ($2.03 per gallon), followed by Orlando ($2.09 per gallon) and Fort Myers ($2.09 per gallon).

The Sunshine State’s most-expensive gas on average was in West Palm Beach ($2.25 per gallon), Port St. Lucie ($2.19 per gallon) and Panama City ($2.16 per gallon).

The Wall Street Journal reported that traders are expecting further declines in the price of oil over the coming month. Between the end of August and mid-September, oil prices dropped 12 percent.

In April, the country experienced a historic first when its oil benchmark dropped below $0 per barrel.

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