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Gas prices fall below $4 for the first time in months

Gas pump.jpg
Wilfredo Lee
/
AP
A car is shown at a gas pump in North Miami.

It's a good time to fill up your gas tank. Gasoline prices in Florida have now plummeted 96 cents over the past seven weeks, leaving the price in Florida below $4 per gallon for the first time in nearly five months.

The average price statewide on Monday was $3.92 for a gallon of regular, according to the AAA auto club. It was $3.89 in Jacksonville.

The average full tank of gas now costs about $14 less than it did when pump prices were at their peak in mid-June, AAA said. At that time, when the state average was $4.89 per gallon, drivers paid $73 to fill an average 15-gallon tank. Now, that same 15-gallon tank costs around $59.

"After paying almost $5 a gallon just a couple months ago, Florida drivers are likely breathing a sigh of relief when seeing gas prices back below $4 a gallon," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release. "However, it's too early to tell just how long these sub-$4 gas prices will hang around."

Oil and gas futures prices rose last week, which could cause falling gas prices to level out or potentially increase.

The price for U.S. crude settled at $98.62 per barrel on Friday, 4% more than the week before. Gasoline futures jumped nearly 30 cents per gallon.

The price hikes came after OPEC and its allies — who have steadily raised fuel production rates on a monthly basis — decided to hold production at current levels in September.

The market remains concerned about a global recession and the potential of it driving down global fuel demand, AAA said.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, forecast a continued drop in most places outside the Northeast, at least in the short term.

"For now, Americans are seeing prices nearly 90 cents lower than their mid-June peak and are spending close to $330 million less on gasoline every day as a result," De Haan said Monday on the GasBuddy blog. "As long as oil prices hold at these levels or lower, we’ll see another decline in most areas this week.”

De Haan cautioned, however, that energy markets have been volatile, "with various headlines shoving prices around, including renewed economic worries from Europe and China about a decline in manufacturing activity."

In the U.S., with back-to-back quarters of negative economic growth, prospects may be dimming for a quick rebound, GasBuddy said.

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at rroguski@wjct.org or on Twitter, @rroguski.