WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — AAA is reporting a two-year high for gasoline prices.
Currently in Florida, the state average is $2.79 per gallon.
West Palm Beach is above the state average at $2.88 per gallon. That is 11 cents more than last week, 29 cents more than last month and 45 cents more than this time last year, according to AAA spokesperson, Mark Jenkins.
Gas prices have been climbing since the start of the year, up 56 cents since Jan. 1.
The last time Florida saw prices at $2.79 was May 3, 2019, according to Jenkins.
Jenkins said there are several factors driving prices up.
"Globally, there's less crude oil out in the market because OPEC and its allies reduced some of their production and domestically. There's a little bit less gasoline supply in the market because of that Arctic blast mid-February that knocked out the power to a lot of refineries that make the gasoline for us. We're at a little bit of an imbalance in supply and demand, and that's what's driving prices higher," Jenkins said.
The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is also having an impact.
"People are returning to driving so that demand for fuel is higher at a time when there's now a little bit less supply," Jenkins said.
Prices are expected to continue rising, potentially for months.
"Traditionally, we see our highest prices in the springtime and early summer," Jenkins said.
That means state averages in Florida could top $3.
"There's a good chance we could see $2.85, $2.90, maybe even $3 a gallon," Jenkins said.
Jenkins for now does not expect impacts to travel costs, such as plane tickets.
"I think that until we see a full recovery in travel, you're still going to see a lot of competitive pricing out there to try to earn your business," Jenkins said.
Reba Urevich owns Clearly Dependable Pool Service and said the gas price hike might be felt by her customers and customers of other pool companies. She fills up her car multiple times per week.
"It’s not $32 anymore. It's $45 or more," Urevich said.
She's feeling the pinch from not only gas prices increasing but also chlorine prices, which she said have also increased.
"We're going to have to raise prices. All of us are talking here, like what are we going to do. Because as gas goes up, everything goes up," Urevich said. "It's just a big expense to get to your house."
Boaters will also feel the impacts, sometimes filling up hundreds of gallons at a time.
Manatee Marina Dock Master William Dixon said it will make competing for business more challenging.
"Just because of where we're at, at the back of the manatee pocket here, it's the longest drive back in for someone needing to stop just for fuel, so we try to stay competitive on our prices," Dixon said. "I've been here about four years now, and this is about the highest that I've had it at."
He said each new fuel delivery goes up about 25 cents, so he's telling customers to fill up before the next delivery of more costly fuel.