Gas prices climbed five cents in Florida in a week despite dropping in Georgia and Tennessee, and Palm Beach County pumps dispensed the state’s priciest fuel at $2.89 per gallon.
Motorist group AAA chalked it up to high demand on Monday.
“Strong demand pushed gas prices higher in some states last week, as families squeeze in one final vacation before the kids go back to school,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.
Traditionally, gas prices start to go down in the second half of the year because of easing demand, he said.
“However, oil analysts forecast significant volatility in the oil market through the end of the year, leaving a big question mark for the long-term direction of prices at the pump,” Jenkins said.
Florida motorists are paying about 50 cents more per gallon than this time last year, officials said.
The state average of $2.81 rose five cents compared to a week ago. Meanwhile, Georgia’s average priced dropped a penny to $2.77 and Tennessee’s dipped two cents to $2.63.
For drivers in Florida, and particularly in Palm Beach County, that puts a premium on keeping an eye out for stations offering a better deal.
The differences can be substantial.
In West Palm Beach , that can mean noticing a difference between, say, $2.67 at Sam’s Club on 45th Street and $2.99 at Shell on Forest Hill Boulevard on Sunday, according to price-tracker Gas Buddy.
In Jupiter, the reported spread ran from $2.81 at Circle K and Mobil on Indiantown Road to $3.09 at Chevron on the same street.
In Wellington, options ranged from $2.77 at Marathon on State Road 7 to $2.99 at Shell on Wellington Trace at Greenview Shores, per GasBuddy.
In Boca Raton, the per-gallon price was $2.73 at Costco on Congress Ave. but $3.19 at BP on Yamato Road.
The differences show retail gas prices are not based purely on the price of crude oil, refining costs and taxes, but also the calculations of station owners about what drivers are willing to pay at stations convenient to affluent communities or near major thoroughfares. That gives motorists a choice: Pay up or shop around.