An unseasonable spike in gas prices last week was attributed to rising oil costs and demand being at its highest point in the United States since 2006.
Even though prices have held steady since the surge, analysts say motorists shouldn’t expect much in the way of relief this week.
Whether that trend will extend into next week, when motorists prepare to hit the road for a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, is unknown at this point.
For now, prices are up nearly 20 cents per gallon in the Bradenton-Sarasota in the past week, according to AAA’s daily fuel tracker.
At an average of $2.51 on Monday, costs were 18 cents higher than a week earlier and 41 cents higher than this time a year ago.
The sudden surge came after Florida motorists enjoyed 47 straight days of declines after Hurricane Irma sent prices to their highest level in 2017.
“If you use gas prices to figure out the time of year it is, you’d probably think it’s spring based on the continued upward trend showing up in much of the country,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, which track fuel pricing.
The Tampa (25 cents) and Orlando (20 cents) regions saw the highest hikes last week, with Punta Gorda (19 cents) and Bradenton-Sarasota not far behind.
The statewide average on Monday was $2.53, up 13 cents in the past week though still below the nationwide average of $2.56.
Looking ahead to Thanksgiving week, motorists could start to see small decreases if oil prices hold steady -- a big if considering tensions in the Middle East, analysts warn.
“Fortunately, domestic oil supply and production made solid gains (last week). If that becomes a trend, oil prices could drift lower and take gasoline prices with them,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.
Added DeHaan: “There’s a lot of upward pressure, which is not really typical of a normal fall.”