Gas prices that had been rising in recent days stabilized over the weekend. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded had risen 5 cents in Florida and 6 cents in Georgia before flattening.
“Motorists will be relieved to see that the average price for gasoline came to a screeching halt over the weekend,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA The Auto Club Group, said Monday.
Although the U.S. gets very little petroleum from Iraq, concerns of a supply disruption 10 days ago boosted oil prices, which has a domino effect on the price of gasoline. “The price of oil influences about two-thirds the price of gasoline,” Jenkins continued. “When the price of oil surges, retailers have to pay more for gasoline and that higher cost is then passed along to motorists.”
West Texas Intermediate settled on Friday at $107.26 a barrel on the NYMEX. Although this is the highest settlement since Sept. 18, it’s only a 35-cent markup from last week, compared to a $4.25 increase the week before.
“Gas prices would typically be falling right now, but the conflict in Iraq is the main thing driving them higher,” Jenkins continued. “However, there’s no reason to panic, as prices are still 10-15 cents cheaper than what we paid in February.”
While gas prices stabilized nationwide, they were up significantly over last week in some areas of Florida.
In neighboring Orlando, the average price of regular gas on Monday was $3.52 a gallo n, up almost four cents from last week. In Ocala, the price was $3.63, up from last week’s $3.56, according to the website gasbuddy.com.
Karen Towey, of Eustis, was pumping gas at the Citgo station on the corner of Canal Street and U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg on Monday. She was paying $3.52 a gallon.
Towey, who drives from Eustis to work at the Cutrale Citrus Juices plant in Leesburg, said gas is generally cheaper on the U.S. 441 strip in Leesburg.
She said she has felt the difference from when prices were $3.35 a gallon.
“It was $10 a day round trip for me and now it’s like $13 to $15,” Towey said.
Ken Curtis, who lives in Weirsdale and was pumping diesel at the Leesburg RaceTrac, said prices for him have gone down over the last week, from around $4 to $3.85 a gallon on Monday. He said he does stucco and has to drive for work. He said it hurts a lot when prices fluctuate as he has to fill his truck up on average three times a week.
“It’s actually low right now compared to what it was last week,” Curtis said.