Pump prices could still increase in response to gains in wholesale gasoline prices

TAMPA, Fla., (August 31, 2020) — Florida gas prices have held relatively steady since Hurricane Laura made landfall along the Gulf Coast. The region is home to nearly half of total petroleum refining capacity in the United States. However, only about 15% of total US capacity shutdown as a precaution before the storm. 

So far, there are no reports of significant long-term damage to gulf coast fuel supply chain, which provides gasoline to states like Florida. However, two refineries in Lake Charles, Louisiana are still conducting damage assessments.

“Normally, when a storm of this size hits the gulf coast refinery region, drivers see a jump in prices at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, gas prices have been held in check, likely due to lower demand because of the pandemic. Florida gas prices didn’t move much last week, but there could be a lag. Wholesale gasoline prices did get more expensive last week, which could cause retail prices to get slightly more expensive in the days ahead.”

Last week, gasoline futures pin-balled up and down before-and-after the storm made landfall. Ultimately wholesale gasoline prices finished the week up 5 cents. A similar increase is possible at the pump, but AAA is not forecasting a significant increase in gas prices. 

Florida gas prices averaged $2.07 per gallon, on Sunday. The state average is the same as a week ago, 8 cents less than last month, and 38 cents per gallon less than this time last year. 

To date, Florida gas prices averaged $2.10 per gallon for the month of August. That’s the lowest monthly price for August since 2004. 

Regional Prices

  • Most expensive metro markets – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.20), Tallahassee ($2.19), Panama City ($2.15)
  • Least expensive metro markets – Punta Gorda ($1.96), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater ($2.00), Orlando ($2.01)

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