Gas prices expected to rise through May, AAA says

Gas prices are expected to rise steadily through Memorial Day, according to AAA.During the last five years, the annual refinery maintenance season has seen prices gradually increase by 35-70 cents per gallon between February and the end of May and drivers...

Gas prices expected to rise through May, AAA says

Gas prices are expected to rise steadily through Memorial Day, according to AAA.

During the last five years, the annual refinery maintenance season has seen prices gradually increase by 35-70 cents per gallon between February and the end of May and drivers can expect the same this year.

“All this comes at a time when demand typically rises as Americans resume road trips in the spring," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for travel club AAA. 

Oil refineries undergo routine maintenance every spring and prepare for the switch to the more expensive summer blends of gasoline which lowers refinery production and drives up prices, he said.

Metro Orlando is one of the three areas in the state with the best average gas prices, at $2.18 on Monday — just behind Tampa’s $2.17 and just ahead of Jacksonville’s $2.19. 

Orlando’s average price has been relatively flat of late, about half a penny cheaper than a week ago and six cents cheaper than a month ago — but 53 cents more expensive than a year ago.

On Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Florida was $2.27 which is a half cent less than a week ago, five cents less than last month, and 54 cents more than at the same time last year. 

The national average price for the same gallon is $2.29 which is just fractions of a cent more than a week ago, a half cent less than a month ago, and 56 cents more expensive than a year ago.

The three most expensive areas of the state to buy gas, on average, are Palm Beach County at $2.46, Miami-Dade at $2.40, and Broward at $2.39 per gallon of regular unleaded.

Compared to a week ago, gasoline production levels along the Gulf Coast fell 7 percent and supply declined 2 percent, but demand has risen 2 percent. 

Oil prices averaged $53.20 per barrel last week — the same average as the week before.

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wkroustan@sunsentinel.com

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