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South Florida motorists face rising prices at the pump this Labor Day

If you’re just heading to the pump for a pre-holiday fill up, you’re in for a shock.

South Florida gas prices are up almost 13 cents in the past week.

Good news: They should slide again soon.

But for now, “it’s just too much,’’ said Julio Perez, 27, as he filled up his work vehicle, a Honda CRV, at the BP station on Biscayne Boulevard, near the Julia Tuttle Causeway, where a gallon of regular gasoline cost $4.19.

He thought stations took advantage of Tropical Storm Isaac that passed through South Florida to raise prices.

A few pumps over, a cyclist on a Harley Davidson pointed at the prices and said wistfully, “I wish we were back in the day when you would see a two in front.”

The double whammy of refinery closures due to Isaac, which later turned into a hurricane, and refinery blast in Venezuela are responsible for this past week’s price leap. It comes on top of an increase that has lifted the price of a gallon of regular about 38 cents in South Florida in the last month and led the American Automobile Association to predict the highest Labor Day gas prices ever.

Thursday, a gallon of regular averaged $3.91 in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. The statewide average was almost $3.80 — about 2 cents below the national average.

In advance of Isaac, oil companies evacuated many Gulf of Mexico platforms and refineries. Some 95 percent of the daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut down, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

As companies assessed damage Thursday, the price of a barrel of crude oil dropped 87 cents. Early reports indicated little damage, leading experts to predict that refineries and rigs would soon be back.

Motorists, meanwhile, are looking for different ways to cope with rising pain at the pump.

Perez, father of a 10-month-old, says he is always looking for bargains on gas. A friend in Canada, who rides his bike to work, jokes constantly that Perez should do the same.

Andrew Smith, 27, has resigned himself to the higher prices.

“You need gas to drive. It’s a must,” he said as he filled up a black Toyota Celica. “So whatever you gotta spend, you gotta spend.”

One driver was downright optimistic about the prices.

Agata Sulej, 32, recently arrived in Miami from Poland, where gasoline cost 50 percent more, she said.American prices are fine with her, she said.

“Europe is crazy expensive,” she said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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