Florida gas prices take ‘surprising leap’ to highest price in over a year

The state's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline jumped 11 cents in the past week to $2.49, highest since January 2020 according to AAA.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida’s average gas prices rose 11 cents over the past week, according to the American Automobile Association, which called it a “surprising leap.”

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline across the state was $2.49 to start this week, AAA said, the highest since January 2020. The national average is $2.46.

“Gas prices unexpectedly jumped last week, getting well ahead of where wholesale prices would suggest they’d go,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “Regardless, early-month pump price hikes are something we’ve seen many times during the past year. The moves are often caused by retailers that enter into new monthly gasoline delivery contracts. If the new contract is higher than the month before, the added expense is often front-loaded, when passed along to the consumer. In many cases during recent months, pump prices rose at the beginning of the month, but trickled down from there.”

Jenkins added that the rising cost at the pump corresponds with crude oil prices rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, and he said the cold weather up north could also be a factor.

“Although the fuel market is still worried about COVID-19 cases, there are other factors that are providing optimism in the market,” he said. “Cold weather across the Northern Hemisphere has boosted demand for heating oil, an element refined from crude. The anticipated stimulus bill is expected to put more money in Americans’ pockets, which could encourage spending. Globally, there’s hope that continued production cuts from OPEC and its allies will create a fuel supply deficit through 2021.”

Industry experts have said that while policies under President Joe Biden’s administration could eventually affect gas costs, they don’t believe these early-year rises are connected to the change in the Oval Office.

“Oil prices aren’t a function of who is in the White House. They are a function of supply-and-demand economics,” said Patrick De Haan, petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “This is really simply a recovery of a pandemic that has had a significant oil demand, and now with oil demand rebounding, prices are going up. This would have happened even if President Trump was still in office, prices would be going up because it is about recovery from the COVID pandemic, not about who is in the White House.”

De Haan also noted that the higher prices are a sign we’re getting closer to a return to normal as COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.

“We shouldn’t always grimace when we see higher prices,” he said. “At least this time, it means we are recovering as a nation.”

Florida’s average gas price is 20 cents higher than it was a month ago and eight cents higher than at this time last year, according to AAA’s data.

Locally, the average gallon of regular unleaded gas on Monday morning cost:

  • $2.493 in Miami-Dade County
  • $2.512 in Broward County
  • $2.555 in Monroe County
  • $2.590 in Palm Beach County

For more info on Florida gas prices, click here.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."