- Susan Salisbury Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Just in time for Christmas, gasoline prices have returned to levels not seen since August 30, when fuel prices surged after Hurricane Harvey impacted Gulf Coast refineries.
The downward trend is expected to continue through the holidays.
Palm Beach County’s average for a gallon of regular dropped to $2.51 Monday from $2.53 a week ago, while Florida’s average fell 3 cents to $2.40, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
“Gulf Coast refineries have completely recovered from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and are now flooding the market with fuel in anticipation of strong demand during the year-end holidays,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. AAA forecasts a record-setting 97.4 million Americans will take a road trip during the final 10 days of the year. The strong supply of gasoline should help stave-off any gas price hikes that would otherwise be caused by such a surge in demand, Jenkins said.
Gas prices for the year-end holidays should be on par with — if not lower than — last year, AAA said. The state average is falling at a rate of 1 cent per day. If that trend continues, pump prices would drop another 8 cents before Christmas Day.
Florida gas prices are 13 cents less than a month ago, and 6 cents more than this time last year.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said, “As we approach Christmas, average gas prices in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest point in 110 days, just as Hurricane Harvey began causing prices to spike, not exactly the Christmas gift some hoped for, but it’s about time nonetheless.
“As long as demand for gasoline continues to weaken, gasoline inventories will continue growing and it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving,” DeHaan said.
“In addition, the gap between prices today and a year ago is also at its narrowest in months, highlighting that prices are moving in the right direction for many,” DeHaan said. As we look toward our annual Fuel Outlook being released just after the New Year, there are some bright spots along with some concerns that lay ahead for 2018.”
Here are the lowest gasoline prices in our area Monday, as reported on GasBuddy.com. Prices can change at any time.
Jupiter: $2.43, Marathon, 5490 Military Trail
Juno Beach: $2.33, Shell, 14731 U.S. 1
Palm Beach Gardens: $2.27, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.
North Palm Beach: $2.27, Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway
Lake Park: $2.25, Murphy USA, 103 N. Congress Ave.; Speedway, 1216 Northlake Blvd.; Sunoco, 774 Northlake Blvd.; RaceTrac, 200 N. Congress Ave.
Riviera Beach: $2.32, Wawa, 7289 Garden Road; Marathon, 3691 W. Blue Heron Blvd.; Cumberland Farms, 7228 N.Military Trail; Marathon, 7245 N. Military Trail; 7-Eleven, 7280 N. Military Trail
West Palm Beach: $2.21, Sam’s Club, 4295 45th St.
Royal Palm Beach: $2.24, Costco, 11001 Southern Blvd.; Murphy USA, 9950 Belvedere Road; 7-Eleven, 10025 Belvedere Road
Wellington: $2.34, Shell, 192 U.S. 441
Lake Worth: $2.22, J&A, 4703 S. Military Trail; Marathon, 3276 S. Congress Ave.
Lantana: $2.22, Costco, 1873 W. Lantana Road
Boynton Beach: $2.29, BJ’s 1540 W. Boynton Beach Blvd.
Delray Beach: $2.28, Murphy USA, 16211 S. Military Trail
Boca Raton: $2.29, Costco, 17800 Congress Ave.