The good news: Gas prices are starting to drop again. The not-so-good news: You’ll be hard-pressed to notice. Gas prices are declining by fractions of a penny per day nationwide. Here at home, however, that adds up.
Average retail gasoline prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota fell 2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.37 a gallon to start the week, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 308 area gas outlets. Nationwide, the average fell 2.5 cents per gallon to $2.34.
In Florida and Georgia, the price for a gallon of regular unleaded declined 2 cents, and dropped 1 cent in Tennessee.
“Gas prices are beginning to follow that downward trend we are used to seeing in January, as gasoline demand typically hits its lowest point of the year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “It’s possible prices could slip another 5 to 10 cents by the end of the month, but continued volatility in the price of oil could play spoiler.”
Locally, prices were 46.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 8.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 10.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 43.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
“For the first time since November, the national average price for gasoline has fallen over the last week, helped by weak demand and rising gasoline inventories,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “This downward trend is evident in over two-thirds of states... Motorists shouldn’t expect the trend to last long. After the sweetness of Valentine’s Day roses and chocolates is gone, they will be in store for a jump at the pump as maintenance season begins and the long transition to summer gasoline becomes a pinch point,”
An OPEC meeting to monitor compliance will be held Sunday in Vienna to decide what level of compliance would be acceptable in an effort to keep all countries participating. Traders will watch closely how OPEC and non-OPEC members continue to implement cuts and if compliance will continue. Any suspected cheating could push oil and gasoline prices lower.