Drivers face highest gas prices since 2008

Expert says the rise of gas prices over the last week is unheard of

The Ukraine conflict has an impact here in the U.S.,with the average price for gas now more over $4/gal. The last time prices were this high was July 2008, when the record high was set at $4.111. One expert said the national average could hit that record as soon as Tuesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – You’ve probably noticed while driving around that gas prices jumped over the weekend.

The national average price for gas was $4.07 per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA. The last time it was that high was July 2008, when it was $4.11.

For reference, the national average on Sunday was $4.01. Last week, it was $3.61.

As of Monday, according to AAA, Florida’s average was $4.01. The current record high price for regular unleaded gasoline in Florida is $4.08 per gallon, which was also set in July 2008.

WEIGH IN: Tell us what you think of rising gas prices

Experts predict those record prices could be shattered by the end of this week. One expert told News4JAX that the national average could hit that record as soon as Tuesday -- and that’s not even the highest it’s expected to get.

“It has been absolutely staggering,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for Gas Buddy.

De Haan said the rise of gas prices over the last week is unheard of.

“The problem is global consumption is nearly 100 million barrels a day. The problem is Russia is a significant producer of about 10 million barrels a day, and suddenly with the loss of Russian oil, the significance has been tipped in a way that we have never fully seen before,” De Haan said.

By the end of this week, De Haan said, “I think we could be at $4.25 a gallon, but that could certainly change.”

Joe Krier, president of Krier Wealth Management, says in some places -- gas could go as high as $7 per gallon.

“I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but, you know, we’ve got to be real here,” Krier said. “When I was saying five (dollars) three weeks ago, like you said, nobody believed me. And all of a sudden, we went from less than three (dollars) to five bucks in a hurry.”

The average price of gas in the U.S. has broken $4, the first time since 2008. Many gas stations in Jacksonville saw long lines on Monday.

How long could the steep prices stick around?

“I’m gonna guess we have a heck of a bubble in prices through the summer,” Krier said. “And you know, a few things can slow that down — deals with Venezuela and Iran. Consumers may be driving a little bit less in response.”

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Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond said the city needs to put a pause on an additional gas tax costing drivers more money.

“A few months ago, Jacksonville doubled your local option gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents,” Diamond said. “We could roll that back for six months to a year to get people some relief.”

The gas tax went into effect in January, and the money is set to be used primarily for road projects.

But Diamond said drivers need relief now.

“Logistically, it could literally happen in in and out of emergency at City Council tomorrow night. It’s possible to do,” Diamond said.

But the entire City Council would have to agree to pause the tax, and Diamond said he is not optimistic that will happen.

In neighboring Georgia, according to AAA, the average price for gas was $3.97 per gallon as of Monday, while in California, it was $5.34. News4JAX spoke with someone from AAA who said they do not expect prices in Florida and Georgia to get to that $5 mark, but prices will likely get worse before getting better.

In the meantime, here is some advice on how drivers can save on gas right now:

  • Consider getting a Costco or BJ’s membership to take advantage of lower prices.
  • Check your tire pressure.
  • Consider driving more efficiently on the highway. That means avoiding speeding and accelerating gently. Maintaining a steady speed can improve your gas mileage.

About the Authors:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.