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Florida drivers seeing some relief at gas pump, but it could be brief

Average price of a regular gallon of gas in Florida now $4.07
'Fuel Frustration' graphic
Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 18:20:31-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Following record gas prices last month, drivers in Florida are starting to see a little bit of relief at the pump.

The average price of a regular gallon of gas in Florida was $4.07 on Tuesday, according to AAA. This is slightly below the national average of $4.10.

These figures are slightly cheaper than the $4.21 a gallon that Florida drivers were paying on March 9.

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The average price of a gallon of regular gas in Palm Beach County is currently $4.26, but many drivers have recently been able to fill up their tank for less than $4 at stations near West Palm Beach.

Palm Beach County's gas prices are still the second-highest in the state with only Monroe County's average price of $4.33 the only county that is higher, AAA says.

Gas prices in West Palm Beach, April 19, 2022
Gas was $3.99 for a regular gallon of gas at Marathon station located at 4901 Broadway in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 19, 2022.

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However, this respite from the record gas prices in March is still relative considering Florida drivers were paying $2.82 at this time last year.

Gas prices have spiked across the country since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and other countries have attempted to limit the Kremlin's export of oil and cripple Russia's economy through multiple sanctions, which has reduced the global supply of oil.

President Joe Biden announced March 31 that he ordered the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve in a bid to control energy prices.

Earlier this month, the president also waived an ethanol rule in a bid to lower U.S. gasoline prices.

Sofia Johan, associate professor at the Florida Atlantic College of Business, speaks about gas prices, April 19, 2022
Sofia Johan says drivers can expect gas prices to stay high this summer.

The Interior Department announced Friday they are moving forward with the first onshore sales of public oil and gas drilling leases under Biden, but will sharply increase royalty rates for companies that extract oil.

It's unclear if prices will continue to trend downward or if this is a brief drop.

"It's not necessarily going to stay at that level in the near future," said Sofia Johan, an associate professor at the Florida Atlantic College of Business. "It's not necessarily the demand that we're concerned about. It's more so the supply."

AAA said Monday that a combination of global oil prices going back up coupled with increased domestic demand could actually drive prices higher.

David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance
David Holt is skeptical that Biden's moves to reduce gas prices will have much impact.

Experts worry about the government's policies to stop the rise if gas prices won't be sufficient.

"The Biden administration is kind of continuing to move things around the edges, but we really haven't seen an announcement for lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico or expedited permitting for oil and gas development onshore," said David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance. "Those would really have a meaningful impact."

Oil experts encourage drivers to enjoy lower gas prices now before the travel season picks up.

"We are predicting kind of a longer-term high gasoline prices for the foreseeable future, certainly throughout the summer," Holt said.