TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s gas prices have reached a new year high, according to AAA.
AAA said prices have reached an average of $3.84 per gallon, topping the previous high of $3.72 which was set back in April. The average price of gas in the Tampa Bay area is $3.85 per gallon.
Mark Jenkins, a AAA spokesman, said this is the fourth consecutive weekly jump at the pump. Sunday’s state average is 57 cents higher per gallon than what drivers paid on Independence Day.
“Florida gas prices are now the highest since August of last year,” Jenkins said. “These surging prices have been driven by a couple of factors. Extreme temperatures along the gulf coast has kept refineries from operating at full capacity. Globally, oil prices are significantly higher than a month ago, as OPEC production cuts cause global oil supplies to tighten.”
Jenkins said about half the price per gallon of gas is influenced by oil prices. Oil prices are above $80 per barrel, primarily due to tightness in the global oil market, AAA said.
Jenkins also said extreme temperatures in the south have prevented fuel refineries from operating at full capacity.
“There are some factors that should help alleviate some upward pressure on fuel prices, but one major wild card that could cause them to spike again,” Jenkins said. “Last week’s supply report from the EIA showed improvements in refinery operations. Additionally, gasoline demand may soon move lower as students return to school, signaling the end of the busy summer driving season.
Jenkins said drivers should expect continued volatility at the pump during the coming months, especially as we approach the peak of hurricane season.
“The majority of Florida’s gasoline is supplied by refineries along the Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines. Gas prices could spike just based on the mere threat of a hurricane making landfall in this region. How high gas prices go from there – and for how long – would then be based on whether those refineries suffered any long term damage,” Jenkins said.