Florida gas prices holding steady; face upward pressure

Gas prices in Florida have held relatively steady for the past two weeks but now face upward pressure. The national average price per gallon of regular unleaded is $2.25 – 1-cent less than a week ago, 3 cents more than this time last year, according to AAA.

Florida gas prices averaged $2.13 on Sunday – a half cent less than last week; 3 cents less than last year.

The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.24), Pensacola ($2.23), and Miami ($2.22)

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The least expensive price averages are in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater ($2.01), Orlando ($2.04), Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice ($2.07)

“Gas prices could inch a little higher this week,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Refineries are running on all cylinders, cutting into excess crude stocks. That helped push oil prices higher last week, which puts increased prices at the pump. The increase on the retail-side may only amount to as much as 5 cents by the end of the week. While this could be the start of a gradual rise in gas prices, drivers are likely to continue saving at the pump compared to what they paid earlier this year.”

Oil Prices Reach 11-Day Highs

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At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, oil was up 46 cents per barrel to settle at $46.54. The market has been trending upward slightly after EIA’s weekly report showed that last week, crude oil inventories dropped below 500 million barrels for the first time since late January. Moreover, total inventories of crude are just 4.4 million barrels more than last year, showing that the surplus is draining – albeit rather slowly.

OPEC action anticipated

The market will now turn attention toward OPEC to determine if it will maintain compliance with its agreement to limit oil production through March 2018. OPEC could curtail rising crude production levels from member countries that are exempt from the agreement.

In the meantime, drivers are still poised to reap the benefits of the crude glut and continued strong gasoline output rates from refineries.

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