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COVID-19 surge could mean lower gas prices

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida spiking, fuel demand and prices could drop again.

The AAA auto club said a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Florida now averages $2.03 a gallon, up a penny from last week. But prices of crude oil and wholesale gasoline fell last week, as COVID-19 cases surged in Florida and many other states.

Gasoline prices dropped early in the pandemic but started to rise again as businesses reopened and people started driving more.

AAA spokesman W. D. Williams said supply and demand will lead to lower fuel prices if more businesses are forced to close and people are told again to work at home because of the spike in cases.

“The trends and the pressures right now are to slow the gasoline price increase,” Williams said. “So, like I say, we could see gasoline prices below $2 per gallon again, if the trends with the COVID continue to increase.”

Average gasoline prices are 14 cents higher than last month, but still down 51 cents over the past year.

Florida’s most expensive gas is found in West Palm Beach, while the cheapest area of the state to fill up is Fort Myers.

“The more people work from home and the more people don’t drive, that’s less gasoline consumed,” Williams said. “The market is just going to take over from there. We are going to see lower gas prices. They could dip below $2 a gallon again.”