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Finally, relief may come at the gas pump

ap_gas_pump.jpg
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP

The threat of a COVID-19 surge could save you money at the gas pump.

The AAA auto club forecasts that prices may fall 20 to 25 cents over the next couple weeks, the result of lower prices for crude oil.

Crude prices plunged on Black Friday and could not recover Monday due to concerns about the emergence of omicron, the latest variant of the coronavirus. The spread of omicron could temper travel and reduce demand for gasoline.

Crude oil prices closed at $68.15 per barrel Friday, the lowest daily price since Sept. 9. They reached a high of nearly $73 per barrel Monday but settled back down at $69.95.

"Florida drivers should begin to see significant relief from the pain at the pump," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release. "But it'd be unusual for that discount to hit the pumps overnight. Gas prices normally rise like a rocket and fall like a feather. So it could take a couple of weeks before prices at the pump fully reflect the downturn in the futures market."

Florida gas prices averaged $3.34 per gallon for a gallon of regular on Monday. They were a little lower in Jacksonville at $3.32. That compared with $1.96 a year ago.

Before 2021, Florida drivers hadn't seen gas prices this high since September 2014, AAA said.

AAA offers these tips to conserve gasoline:

  • Combine errands to limit driving time.
  • Shop around for the best gas prices in your community. 
  • Consider paying cash. Some retailers charge extra per gallon for customers who pay with a credit card.
  • Remove excess weight in your vehicle. 
  • Drive conservatively. Aggressive acceleration and speeding reduces fuel economy.