AAA Explains Common Fuel Supply Trends Before and After the Storm
Florida gas prices declined 4 cents per gallon last week. Drivers are now paying an average price of $3.38 per gallon, which is the lowest daily average since January.
"There’s actually downward pressure on pump prices, despite the forecast that a hurricane would approach Florida this week," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Gasoline and oil futures prices plunged 7% last week, to 8-month lows on concerns that aggressive interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve could trigger an economic recession."
"Since Tropical Storm Ian is not projected to impact the refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, it’s unlikely that the storm itself or the resulting demand, would cause pump prices to spike," Jenkins said.
Demand Spikes Lead to Temporary Fuel Outages
In the coming days, it’s possible that gas stations will temporarily run out of fuel, due to an influx in demand from evacuees or people topping off their tanks and filling spare gas cans. However, it’s also important for drivers to remember that these outages are temporary.
Gas stations are not connected to an underground pipeline. Just like your vehicle, each gas station can only hold so much fuel at a given time. That fuel is stored in tanks underground. Once those tanks are empty, retailers bag the pumps and wait for the next delivery truck. Sometimes that can be the same day, sometimes longer. It can vary.
Florida’s gasoline is primarily provided by refineries in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. That gasoline sails into Florida’s ports, then is picked up by tanker trucks and delivered to area gas stations. Fuel deliveries should continue until the weather conditions make it unsafe to do so.
Once the storm passes and the ports reopen, shipments of gasoline will begin flowing into the state again. Gasoline can also be driven over from surrounding counties or states that are not impacted by the storm.
"The bottom line is, don’t panic about gasoline supplies, just take what you need," Jenkins continued. "The state makes it a priority to keep gasoline shipments going as long as it’s safe to do so. Once the storm passes, shipments will resume as soon as possible."
Gas Price Gouging
If gas prices were to increase as this storm approaches - even after a state of emergency was declared - AAA is often asked whether that is considered “price gouging”?
Typically, the answer is "not necessarily".
During a storm-related state of emergency, retailers like gas stations are prohibited from significantly raising prices beyond what they’ve charged in the past 30 days. The exception is if that the cost of obtaining that commodity increased for the business owner. For example, if oil prices unexpectedly surged this week and wholesale gasoline prices spiked, that could raise the price for retailers to obtain their next shipment of gasoline, enabling them to pass along the added expense to consumers.
It’s important to note, that even though the state average is $3.38 per gallon - pump prices can still vary dramatically depending on the city or street.
Even still, if drivers suspect foul play, they’re encouraged to report it. For more information on price gouging and how to report it, click here to visit the Florida Attorney General’s website.
- Most expensive metro markets – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.57), Tallahassee ($3.47), Gainesville ($3.45)
- Least expensive metro markets – Pensacola ($3.17), Crestview-Fort Myers ($3.18), Panama City ($3.26)
AAA Resources for Drivers
- Enroll in savings programs. AAA Members who enroll in Shell’s Fuel Rewards program can save 30 cents per gallon on their first fill-up and 5 cents per gallon each additional trip to the pump. Click here for more information.
- Get a tune-up. Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained to optimize its fuel economy. Visit AAA.com/AutoRepair to find a certified repair shop.
- Find the lowest gas prices in your area by using the free AAA mobile app.
- Determine anticipated fuel costs for your trip by using the AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator.
Find Florida Gas Prices
- Daily gas price averages can be found at Gasprices.aaa.com
- State and metro averages can be found here
AAA GAS PRICE AVERAGES
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|Click here to view current gasoline price averages|
Gas Price Survey Methodology
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.GasPrices.AAA.com. Every day up to 130,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.