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First Coast

Gas prices fall 10 cents in Jacksonville

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Randy Roguski
/
WJCT News

Gasoline prices have fallen 10 cents in the past week in Jacksonville, and they could fall further amid fears of an economic recession.

Jacksonville's price for a gallon of regular averaged $4.78 on Tuesday, down from $4.88 a week ago, according to the AAA motor club. The average price was $2.90 at this time last year.

"Florida drivers are finally catching a break after several weeks of rising gas prices," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement Monday. "If this downward trend holds, gas price drops could accelerate ... but this fuel market remains extremely unstable, and things can change very quickly."

Statewide, the average price fell to $4.82 per gallon while the national average dropped to $4.98 — the first decline in nine weeks, according to GasBuddy.

"I’m hopeful the trend may continue this week, especially as concerns appear to be mounting that we may be on the cusp of an economic slowdown, putting downward pressure on oil," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "But the coast isn’t yet entirely clear. We could see the national average fall another 15 to 30 cents, if we’re lucky, by the time fireworks are flying."

Analysts said oil prices fell last week after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates, indicating that the markets fear a recession. Prices also faced resistance on reports that the Biden administration is considering limits on petroleum exports in an attempt to strengthen the domestic supply.

Data from the Energy Information Administration shows that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 2 million barrels last week. Oil inventories now stand 10% below a year ago.

Jenkins said it appears unlikely that the average price in Florida will reach $5 per gallon, but "the driving season is young."

The cheapest gas in Florida this week is in Fort Walton Beach ($4.63), Pensacola ($4.65) and Panama City ($4.69), according to AAA. Drivers in West Palm Beach ($4.97), Fort Lauderdale ($4.88) and Gainesville ($4.88) are paying the most.