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Gas Prices Continue To Stay Down, For Now

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart

Travelers over the Valentine’s Day weekend no doubt also fell in love with the lowest gasoline prices in seven years.

The national average for self-serve regular is around $1.70 per gallon, 55 cents lower than a year ago.

“I don’t think anybody’s too upset about it, except maybe those in the oil industry,” says Mark Jenkins at AAA South in Tampa.

In Pensacola, self-serve regular averages $1.74 a gallon, about a penny less than the state average and 53 cents less than a year ago. Jenkins points to already low oil prices, about $28 per barrel and for now, getting even lower.

Daily settlements reached as low as $26.21 a barrel last week due to worries about the market’s oversupply, but rebounded on the possibility of OPEC reportedly considering a production cut.

“Whether that’s going to happen or not, we’re going to have to wait and see,” Jenkins says.
“Nobody really wants to be the first to back off on production.”

Gas prices are behaving just the opposite of normal, when they increase in the run up to spring break. Usually, the rise is led by refineries undergoing yearly maintenance. While motorists are finding some love at the pump, those who fly to their destinations may not be sharing the savings.

“What we’re seeing is that air carriers are not necessarily passing along those savings along to passengers,” Jenkins says. “They’re consuming the profits and using them for updating some of their equipment, updating their planes, or even adding jobs.”

Prices for diesel, which fuels many of the vehicles bringing goods to market, are also down substantially. The average in Florida is $2.05 per gallon and $1.87 in Pensacola, the latter down 81 cents from a year ago.

Oil markets in the U.S. were closed Monday for Presidents Day, but gasbuddy.com reports electronic trading elsewhere and continued chatter about which way to take production may eventually push oil back over 30 dollars per barrel.