JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gas prices are steadily declining, with several gas stations around Jacksonville below the $4-per-gallon mark — a sight Floridians have waited all summer to see.
But according to AAA, as of Tuesday, Florida residents were still paying an average of $4.23 per gallon. In Duval County, that price was $4.18.
On Tuesday, News4JAX went out to Beach and Hodges boulevards where two gas station across the street from another were each sporting a price of $3.99 per gallon. At the Wawa nearby, that price was $3.98.
“Good news,” said driver Yolanda Davis.
Davis said she has been watching the prices closely and just scored some free gas. which seems like gold nowadays.
“As a matter of fact, I just won a $100 gas card from Shell ... at Foot Locker or one of those shoe places,” Davis said.
For graduate student Jada Ussery, she wants them to keep dropping because school is expensive.
“They are an extreme pain, especially being a graduate student in college — a burden on me for sure,” she said.
But AAA is giving a cautionary warning to drivers.
“It’s important to remember that the market remains extremely volatile, and prices have the potential to bounce back. That particularly applies to hurricane season. If a major storm makes landfall along the gulf coast, impacting operations at refineries in Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi, prices could spike, due to concerns about fuel supplies,” said Auto Club Group spokesperson Mark Jenkins.
Drivers are hoping the warning is just that — a warning.
Financial expert weighs in on gas prices & their relation to inflation
And as Jacksonville drivers start to see some gas prices decline below $4 per gallon, down from nearly $5 weeks ago, some are wondering whether other costs — from food to rent — will start dropping, too.
News4JAX on Tuesday spoke with a financial and economics expert who said consumers might be waiting a while for other prices, like the ones at the grocery store, to come down.
“It’s not immediate, especially for, like example, rent prices,” said Abdel Missa, a professor of finance at Jacksonville University. “Those get renewed on a year-by-year basis, so these are things that not everything instantly prices.”
Missa has a sober warning, saying that while gas prices can drop considerably in a matter of weeks, inflation on everything else could take from two to five years to drop.
News4JAX also asked him about things like food and other things that are shipped on trucks with diesel prices dropping. He said the gas price drop likely needs to last longer for companies to feel comfortable lowering their prices.
“There is always a lag, right, because as you said gas prices have come down but just for a little bit,” Missa said. “Will companies take that into account? Or do they want to see gas prices lower for a longer period of time?”
The people who News4JAX spoke with on Tuesday said they have been budgeting on practically everything.
“We shop very carefully,” said shopper Sharon Allbritten. “We shot the sales when we go to the grocery store. We definitely pay more attention to coupons and sales circulars that come around.”
Missa added that on the broader level, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates. He said the decision has been made to try and stop inflation, but it runs the risk of causing a recession as a result.