That’s no typo on the sign of your neighborhood gas station. Gas prices are soaring in South Florida.
And drivers are feeling it in the wallet as they hit the road for work, errands and vacation.
Miami prices have risen nearly 13 cents per gallon since last week, to an average $2.62 on Tuesday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,690 stations in Miami. Gas prices in Miami are 20.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and 17 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.
Statewide, in late January, a month ago, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.399, according to AAA’s fuel price chart. Then it inched up to $2.463 last week. Monday, it was $2.608. Tuesday, it ticked up to the current $2.610, just a shade lower than what GasBuddy reported Tuesday morning.
And that’s just for regular. The $2.97 on Monday for mid-range gas at a Kendall-area Shell isn’t your imagination.
Winter storm and gas prices
Blame it on Texas.
Actually, that’s not fair. Let’s leave the “Blame It on Texas” sentiment to the ‘90s Mark Chesnutt country song. It’s not Texans’ fault that we’ve seen the national average price of gas jump a dime per gallon (10.4 cents to be exact) to $2.63 a gallon, according to GasBuddy’s Fuel Insights live ticking stats.
Instead, it’s Mother Nature in that part of the nation to blame.
The Gulf Coast region sends a lot of fuel Florida’s way. That nasty arctic winter storm that pummeled the Lone Star State zapped power to gasoline refineries in Texas and neighboring states and temporarily messed with fuel shipments.
Much of Florida’s fuel flows from refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The Gulf Coast region accounts for more than 45% of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity, according to a CBS4 report.
The national average is up 24.2 cents per gallon from a month ago, and with this week’s 15.1 cents per gallon jump in Florida, we are a hair higher than the $2.622 we were about a year ago in January 2020, according to GasBuddy.
But there is a big bright side.
Florida is nowhere near the highest recorded average price in the state, which was $4.079 per gallon for regular on July 16, 2008, according to AAA. And the state is well under the $3.784 highest average recorded for a Feb. 23, which happened in 2013, according to GasBuddy.
“With last week’s extreme cold shutting down millions of barrels per day in refinery capacity, gas prices have seen their largest weekly climb in quite some time,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a statement. “The jump in price was the result of a dozen or so refineries, primarily in Texas, that were forced to shut down as the frigid temperatures threatened to wreak havoc on their exposed equipment.”
But as recovery in the region continues and the refineries resume full operation, gas prices ought to tick back down for a couple of weeks, De Haan predicts.
Then expect another seasonal increase, he said.
“As we near spring weather, we’ll likely see another longer term rise in prices begin as refineries start to transition to summer gasoline, so motorists shouldn’t jump for joy just yet.”
The national average could flirt with $3 per gallon near Memorial Day weekend as refineries start to switch over to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-mandated cleaner summer fuels, Gas Buddy predicts. Not guaranteed, but “the odds are certainly rising.”
Current averages in South Florida
The highest average gas price for regular in South Florida on Tuesday is in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area, where it is $2.719, according to AAA. A week ago it was $2.594. A month ago, $2.504. A year ago, $2.536.
Fort Lauderdale-Broward area is next highest at $2.639 Tuesday, $2.511 a week ago, $2.427 a month ago and $2.445 a year ago.
Miami-Dade is $2.629 Tuesday, $2.485 a week ago, $2.450 a year ago. But the price range varies from a low of $2.37 at a Weststar at 3700 S. Dixie Hwy and Southwest 37th Avenue to $3.55 at a Marathon at 945 Fifth Street and Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach, according to GasBuddy.
The Florida Keys’ average ranges from $2.42 per gallon to $2.69, according to GasBuddy — higher in Key West ($2.59-$2.86) than in Key Largo ($2.53 to $2.59).