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Gas prices dip slightly; expected to increase soon

Gasoline prices have been dropping for the last three weeks, but that downward trend is expected to end soon as higher oil prices begin to kick in.

Palm Beach County’s average for a gallon of regular stood at $2.55 Monday, down from $2.57 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

Florida’s average was $2.43 Monday, down 3 cents from a week ago.

“Gas prices have been falling in recent weeks, but it has been a slow drip,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “Oil prices are at their highest point of the year, preventing the typical seasonal plunge at the pump. Any strong gains in oil this week should push pump prices higher.

“However, the overall story this month should be lower gas prices, as demand declines,” Jenkins said. “That’s because Americans drive less in the winter due to shorter days and cooler weather.”

Gas prices faced upward pressure last week, due to an OPEC meeting and its impact on the oil market. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate increased 96 cents to settle at $58.36.

Oil prices rose following Thursday’s meeting between OPEC and some non-OPEC producers led by Russia. The group agreed to keep its production cuts in place until the end of 2018.

Participants in the agreement, which was supposed to end in March 2018, have reduced output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to drain the global glut of oil that has suppressed oil prices. The agreement initially went into effect in November 2016, when oil prices were around $45 a barrel, AAA said.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said Monday, “With OPEC deciding last week to extend last year’s agreement on oil production cuts, the future for gasoline prices isn’t as rosy.

“While the short term may feature more modest price decreases is many areas, as we set our sights on the months ahead, 2018 is starting to look ominous as a result of OPEC’s extension,” DeHaan said. “U.S. oil inventories are already 100 million barrels lower than where they were last year as a result of the belt tightening, leading 2017’s yearly average gas price to close out at the highest since 2014.”

“Motorists should enjoy the falling prices now because it’s likely that prices may again rise approaching the New Year as oil prices continue to show strength,” DeHaan said.

Here are the lowest prices in our area as reported to Prices can change at any time.

Jupiter: $2.53, Marathon, 5490 Military Trail

Juno Beach: $2.41, Shell, 14731 U.S. 1

North Palm Beach: $2.31, Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway

Palm Beach Gardens: $2.35, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.

Lake Park: $2.32, Murphy USA,. 103 N. Congress Ave.; Speedway, 1216 Northlake Blvd.; Marathon, 980 Northlake Blvd.; Sunoco, 774 Northlake Blvd.

Riviera Beach: $2.32, RaceTrac, 4156 W. Blue Heron Blvd.; Wawa, 7289 Garden Road

West Palm Beach: $2.29, Sam’s Club, 4295 45th St.

Royal Palm Beach: $2.29, Costco, 11001 Southern Blvd.

Wellington: $2.41, Shell, 192 U.S. 441

Lake Worth: $2.29, Sunoco, 3985 Lake Worth Road; Shell, 4021 Lake Worth Road; RaceTrac, 3032 Lake Worth Road; Cumberland Farms, 3980 10th Ave. N.; Sunoco, 425 N. Dixie Highway

Lantana: $2.29, Costco, 1873 W. Lantana Road

Boynton Beach: $2.33, BJ’s, 1540 W. Boynton Beach Blvd.

Delray Beach: $2.28, Murphy USA, 16211 S. Military Trail

Boca Raton: $2.31, Costco, 17800 Congress Ave.

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