Gainesville drivers are still paying some of the highest gas prices in Florida at local stations, even though the rest of the nation’s prices are falling.
The supply of gasoline is currently high and demand is low—causing gas prices to fall, according to Mark Jenkins, senior project manager for American Automobile Association (AAA).
“United States is now the lead oil producer in the world, and so, essentially, we’re producing more oil than we have in decades,” Jenkins said. “That’s helping us to have more supply of oil, and that’s helping to keep downward pressure on oil prices and gas prices.”
Prices have dropped to $2.60 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline in some places around the U.S., according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for GasBuddy.com.
Gas prices in Gainesville are generally higher than other Florida cities, such as Tallahassee, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.
“The reason why you’ll see cheaper prices — let’s say in the Tampa area or Orlando — (or) places like that, it tends to be less about the economics,” Kloza said. “It tends to be less about the wholesale costs and revolves more around the notion of a different kind of retailer.”
Gainesville lacks the abundance of competitive gas station chains that are in those cities, such as Murphy USA, Sam’s Club and Costco.
“They tend to price gasoline very, very aggressively,” Kloza said. “It’s something that’s designed to get you inside the Costco or the Sam’s Club to buy the 60-ounce jar of mayonnaise, or whatever.”
The average Florida price per gallon for regular unleaded gas is $3.22 as of Oct. 15, according to the GasBuddy.com tracker. The average for Gainesville is $3.29.
Another possible reason for higher costs here than in other big-name Florida cities is location. Distribution points for gas are in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. Gainesville consumers may be paying a transportation fee for their gas on top of the market price, Kloza said.
The Chevron at 109 S. University Ave. County Route 346, on Archer Road, is currently the cheapest place to buy gas in the Gainesville area, according to GainesvilleGasPrices.com by GasBuddy.com.
As far as setting prices go, Chevron manager Sunny Rebello said that he has no control.
“We got a good price from the board,” Rebello said. “The company controls the gas. We don’t control it.”
Discrepancies in pricing is due to varying Florida fuel taxes, with a statewide tax of $0.171 across the board for each county, then additional taxes that are set by the county itself.
The lowest total fuel tax imposed is in Franklin County with a $0.28-tax. The highest is $0.36, which is the tax amount of Alachua, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Lee, Leon, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Suwannee and Volusia counties, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.
Surprisingly, Franklin County currently has a higher average gas price than Alachua County even with having the lowest fuel tax, according to the price tracker.
Gas prices historically fluctuate. The highest recorded Florida average since 2008 was about $4.07 in July of that year. The lowest recorded was just a few months later at about $1.63 in January 2009, according to price tracker statistics.
Gainesville drivers probably will not see gas sell lower than $2 per gallon during the current price drop, like what happened in 2009, but prices will continue to drop.
Kloza predicts that within the next two weeks continuing to Veterans Day, gas prices will go down until they are below $3 per gallon, even here in Gainesville.