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Florida sees a rare drop in gas prices, and could avoid the $5 plateau

Victoria Crosdale
WUSF Public Media

Drivers across Florida saw some relief at the gas pump last week — a trend that could extend over the next few weeks.

According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas dropped 7 cents, to $4.82 a gallon.

That's down from an all-time high of $4.89, and follows weeks of rising prices.

Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA, said in a Monday press release that the drop is due in part to a decline in oil and gas futures prices.

It also follows reports that the Biden administration could limit petroleum exports.

"Florida drivers are finally catching a break after several weeks of rising gas prices," Jenkins said in the release. "Gas prices are following oil and gasoline futures prices, which suffered significant losses last week. The losses are being tied to last week's rate hike from the Federal Reserve bank, sparking fears of a possible recession — which could lower fuel demand.

"Prices also faced resistance on reports that the Biden administration is considering possible limits on petroleum exports, in attempt to strengthen domestic supply. Petroleum exports have accelerated in recent weeks, as countries compete for fuel in what has become an extremely tight fuel market. The increased competition for fuel has contributed to rising prices."

Jenkins said gas prices could drop even further.

"If this downward trend holds, gas price drops could accelerate, moving the state average back around $4.50 per gallon," Jenkins said. "But this fuel market remains extremely unstable, and things can change very quickly. It's looking less likely that the state average will surpass $5 a gallon, but the driving season is young."

Drivers across the greater Tampa Bay region are paying an average of $4.79 a gallon.

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Carl Lisciandrello