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Why are gas prices so high in Florida?

Fuel prices climb to 6-year high
Posted at 3:40 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:12:37-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida drivers have not paid $3 a gallon for gasoline since 2014.

MORE: Check local gas prices

Gas prices have climbed to a six-year high, and there may be no immediate relief in sight.

This all comes as OPEC recently called all talks about increasing oil production.

So, what options are available to drivers until prices drop again.

Driving around Palm Beach County in search of gas under $3 can feel like a scavenger hunt.

The price for regular gas at a station in Juno Beach was $3.37 if you are paying with cash. It was $3.59 at one location in West Palm Beach if you are paying with credit.

Driver Kenny Greenbaum
Driver Kenny Greenbaum speaks about the rising gas prices in Palm Beach County.

"To see the different prices around town, it's going to be crazy. You're talking about a 50-cent fluctuation. That's a lot of money," said driver Kenny Greenbaum.

MORE: National average for gas on track to exceed $3.24 a gallon

The demand for gas dropped drastically during the pandemic and production was cut back significantly. AAA said production now can't keep up with the demand.

"Just the United States alone, crude oil production levels dropped a total of 24% between January and August 2020, and now they're back up to about 15 percent below pre-pandemic levels, so not quite back to where they were before," said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.

President Joe Biden's goal is to cut back on U.S. and oil production to fight climate change. Meanwhile, countries also reduced the production of crude oil.

"Crude oil prices have jumped quite a bit this year," Jenkins said. "They are averaging at $75 a barrel here just in the past week alone, and that’s really the driving force behind gas prices."

AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins
AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins shares advice on how to save money as gas prices spike.

On July 7, 2019, before the pandemic, the average price for a gallon of gas in Florida was $2.67.

Gas prices are now at a record high and so are electric vehicle sales.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, this year electric vehicle purchases in the U.S. have skyrocketed to a new record high of 122,000 purchases in March.

"That is the future. I’ll definitely be going electric vehicle. I notice a lot of businesses already have all the peripherals for that setup," Greenbaum said.

But if you're sticking to using a gas-powered vehicle right now, pay attention to where you fill-up. Prices can vary drastically.

In one instance, at a station near Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach, regular gas was priced at $3.59. Less than a mile west of Okeechobee Boulevard, the price was $3.

AAA advises drivers to try and combine their errands into one trip, reduce excess weight on your vehicle to improve the fuel economy and use cruise control when traveling at higher speeds.

Experts say it could take some time before the price of crude oil drops again.

"There's an old saying that gas prices rise like a rocket, and they fall like a feather," Jenkins said.

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