Gas prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota area are down slightly from a week ago and should continue to trend lower in the short term, but analysts warn that the annual spring upswing is fast approaching.
That prices are pointing lower comes as a bit of a surprise as spring tourism season kicks into high gear across Florida, but wholesale costs lowered last week, allowing retail to do the same.
On Monday, the average cost for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Bradenton-Sarasota region was $2.52, according to AAA’s daily fuel tracker.
That’s down a penny from a week earlier but 29 cents higher than this time a year ago.
While motorists could see gas prices drift a few cents lower in the short term, they should expect more surprises this spring.
AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins
Look for more slight drops in the coming days before prices make their expected spring spike in early April, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.
That’s when refinery maintenance is expected to be completed and the switch to a more-expensive summer blend of gas kicks in, along with warmer weather and typical demand increases.
“Gas prices are usually volatile during the spring, with more ups and downs than a roller coaster,” Jenkins said.
Analysts continue to warn that prices could rise up to 30 cents per gallon before the busy summer travel season.
“There are early indications that gasoline prices are about to strengthen helped by a noticeable number of refineries out for maintenance and a stronger demand outlook than we saw last year,” said Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.
$2.52The average cost for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Bradenton-Sarasota region on Monday
The Bradenton-Sarasota average on Monday ranked in the middle of the pack across Florida. The least-expensive averages were in Jacksonville ($2.47), Punta Gorda ($2.48) and Melbourne-Titusville ($2.49); the most-expensive prices were in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.67), Naples ($2.62) and Miami ($2.60).
The statewide average on Monday was $2.54, one cent more than the national average.
For now, analysts say, enjoy the falling prices.
“While motorists could see gas prices drift a few cents lower in the short term, they should expect more surprises this spring,” Jenkins said.