Gas prices — getting cheaper and cheaper for months — are taking a turn upward.
For the first time in four months, Florida gas prices stopped going down this past weekend.
Is it a sign of things to come?
Fuel analysts say that drivers should get used to fluctuating prices, although there won’t be a predictable trend.
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In Florida, gas had plunged $1.25 a gallon during the past few months, and even more in other parts of the country, according to AAA, the auto club group.
While the decline has been painful for the oil industry, drivers have been giddy.
Although the statewide average price increased a tad over last week — from $2.071 to $2.074 a gallon for regular unleaded — some stations in South Florida are showing as much as a 10-cent-a-gallon increase.
"Prices usually rise between 30-50 cents in the spring,” Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, said in a statement. “There is a chance that prices will not increase as much as in years past, but even if they do, gasoline should remain well below $3 for the rest of the year.”
Jenkins said there will likely be fluctuation in gas prices, but does not expect a dramatic increase or decline.
“It’s kind of hard to predict this year because it’s so unusual what's been happening with gas and oil prices,” he said.
The last time gas prices were this low was March 2009, Jenkins said. But even though they are inching up, he said he doesn't expect it to affect travel.
“It hasn’t really increased much,” he said. “Just a couple of cents here and there. I wouldn't expect it to have a negative impact on travel.”
There is also variation in gas prices across South Florida. At Costco in Miami Lakes, regular gas on Monday rang up at just more than $2 a gallon, but other stations in North Miami-Dade are selling gas for more than $3, according to the website miamigasprices.com.
Nicolas Zapata, who was getting gas at station in Doral, said how much he pays depends on the station. He said he was surprised there was an increase, but it won’t change his behavior unless it goes up significantly.
“It’s an expense you have to take into account,” he said.
Florida’s gas prices are in line with the national average, which is $2.05 and the price is still far below $3.335, the average at this time last year. The national average also rose last week, breaking the longest decline in gas prices on record.
Drivers said if prices continued to rise, they would pay what they needed to or try to travel less.
“It’s depends how long the upward trend is,” said Carlos Puente, who filled up his tank Monday at a station in Doral charging $2.18 per gallon.