Gas prices turn back downward through Labor Day weekend

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Ten weeks of decline were interrupted by a one-week price hike in August. But prices are falling again.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline declined 9 cents in the past eight days, providing some relief to Labor Day travelers and setting a new summer of 2022 low.

Drivers across Florida are finding gas prices averaging $3.52 statewide, AAA — The Auto Club Group reported Tuesday, down from the $3.61 seen in AAA’s previous weekly report put out Aug. 29.

The $3.52 also falls below the previous low for the summer of $3.53 that AAA recorded in late August. That prior mark was followed by a brief rise in gas prices during the last week in August.

The average full, 15-gallon tank of gas now costs nearly $53. That’s $20 less than what drivers paid in mid-June, when Florida’s state average was at its all-time high of $4.89 per gallon.

“Pump prices are falling after sharp drops in the oil and gasoline futures markets last week,” AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said in a news release.

“The losses were fueled by growing concerns that a global recession and COVID-19 outbreaks in China would stifle global fuel demand. If sustained, this downturn could enable the state average gas price to eventually slip into the $3.30s. However, oil prices were gaining strength Monday night, after OPEC and its allies announced plans to cut production in (an) effort to stabilize falling energy prices.”

Futures markets saw mixed news in recent days.

On Monday, OPEC and Russia agreed to cut output by 100,000 barrels a day in October. This is the group’s first production cut in more than a year. Following the announcement, the U.S. price of oil was up by more than 2% in overnight trading. The increase, if sustained, amounts to an increase of about $2 per barrel for the price of crude. That would only erase a third of the losses the oil market suffered last week.

On Friday, the U.S. price of crude settled at $86.87 per barrel, after falling by more than $6 a barrel from the week before.

Florida’s least expensive gasoline last week was found in the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach market, where drivers saw an average of $3.35 per gallon. That was followed by Pensacola at $3.39; Panama City at $3.43; Orlando at $3.46; Sarasota at $3.47; Tampa and the Melbourne-Titusville market at $3.48; St. Petersburg at $3.49; and Jacksonville at $3.50.

The Sunshine state’s most expensive gas again was found in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market, where it averaged $3.72 per gallon. That was followed by Tallahassee at $3.64; Naples at $3.59; Gainesville and Miami at $3.57; and Fort Lauderdale at $3.56.

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