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Travel and gas prices are up in Florida

Gas price hikes are common during the spring travel period.
Gas price hikes are common during the spring travel period.

With two of every five Floridians planning to hit the road for a spring vacation, gasoline prices have started to increase.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas Monday in Florida was $3.31, up 9 cents over the past week, with the highest averages in South Florida and the lowest in the Panhandle.

Prices nationally have been on the rise since the start of the month and averaged $3.47 on Monday.

"Price hikes like these are common this time of year as spring vacations drive up gasoline demand, while refineries conduct seasonal maintenance due and switch to summer gasoline,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a prepared statement.

Still, AAA thinks the uptick might be short-lived as demand and global costs of oil have fallen. “There is some upward pricing pressure at the moment due to the switch to summer blend gasoline, which may add about 5 to 10 cents per gallon,” Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesman, said Thursday. “But if demand and oil costs remain low, this recent price bounce may fade.”

Demand in Florida might not slow like in other areas. Using booking information, AAA estimates 83 percent of Floridians plan to travel this year, up from 61 percent in 2022, with 40 percent of Floridians heading out for a spring vacation. Last year, 26 percent of Floridians traveled for a spring vacation.

Florida tops a AAA list of spring “hot spots,” ahead of Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans.

“Previous spring travel seasons were affected by COVID-19,” AAA Vice President of Travel Debbie Haas said in a statement. “However, Americans are largely more confident about traveling again, and AAA has seen very strong bookings for beach destinations, cruises and attractions.”

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