Is the Delta variant affecting our gas prices?

(Chris Carlson, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fears about the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant dropped the price of fuel last week, but demand for gasoline nevertheless remains strong, experts say.

In other words, people are still traveling amid rising coronavirus cases in Florida and nationwide.

“Concerns about the Delta variant significantly impacted the crude oil market last week, causing oil prices to drop 8% on Monday,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association. “However, crude rebounded by the end of the week, on the belief that the spread would not significantly impact the recovery in global fuel demand.”

Florida’s average gas price has declined four cents over the past two weeks, settling at $2.97 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Monday after reaching a 2021 high of $3.01 earlier this month, according to AAA data.

Jenkins predicts that “gas prices may not move much this week, as futures prices finished slightly above a week ago.”

On a national level, Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, wrote Monday that demand for gas remains high in spite of COVID concerns — and that prices could again rise as the summer winds down.

“With oil prices struggling under the weight of a rise in new Covid cases thanks to the Delta variant and OPEC’s increase in oil production, average gas prices in most states finally drifted lower,” De Haan wrote on GasBuddy’s website. “However, we aren’t yet in the clear – U.S. gasoline demand last week surged to a new 2021 high, besting the week prior to the July 4 holiday. This shows that motorists aren’t slowing their appetite for hitting the road just yet, and that could further boost prices should demand remain hot. For now, motorists should enjoy the perhaps brief respite at the pump and buckle up for what might be a bumpy finish to summer.”

The national average gas price on Monday morning is $3.16, according to AAA.

Across South Florida, the average prices are as follows:

  • Miami-Dade County: $2.98
  • Broward County: $3.01
  • Monroe County: $3.11
  • Palm Beach County: $3.12

For more information on Florida gas prices, click here.