Why do gas prices vary across town?

AAA officials say differences come down to supply and demand


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gas prices are falling all over the Jacksonville area, but drivers might notice not all prices are the same -- some neighborhoods have prices considerably higher than others.

The disparity in gas prices is huge in some areas. In Clay County, for example, the two main roads through Orange Park -- Blanding Boulevard and U.S. 17 -- vary greatly. On Blanding, drivers can find gas for $2.19 a gallon, but over on U.S. 17, it costs $2.35.

At Interstate 95 and Bowden Road, there are reports that gas is $2.17 a gallon. But not far away in Mandarin, there are multiple reports of $2.34 a gallon.

While the differences from one station to another can be big, on average gas prices are dropping 2 cents a day.

Those prices are easy on the eyes to drivers who haven't seen anything this low in Jacksonville since 2008. In fact, officials with AAA said Jacksonville has the lowest gas prices in the state right now.

"It's different than what it normally is. Jacksonville is normally not the lowest part of the state but right now it is," AAA spokesman Bill Bishop said. "It makes no rhyme or reason. The production is way higher and that's why prices are coming down. But as to why this one area, I have no idea."

But there are disparities from neighborhood to neighborhood. On Beach Boulevard, for instance, it was pretty much $2.26 a gallon, but across town in Mandarin, viewers said prices were around $2.35. Some said they'd seen prices as high as $2.59.

Bishop said the reason behind that comes down to supply and demand. Gas stations have to sell all their supply before they can buy new, cheaper gas, so it can stay higher for weeks. That benefits the lower-priced stations, who have a lot of customers right now.

"It actually snowballs, because it's cheaper, more people are going there, which means they're selling their gas quicker, which allows it to drop as the oil prices drop," Bishop said.

AAA officials said they expect the drop to continue for the next couple weeks, possibly until it gets below$2 a gallon in the Jacksonville area.  

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