Florida gas prices reached a 3-year high in 2017. It likely won’t get better this year.

Expect to see gas prices in this range more often this year.
Expect to see gas prices in this range more often this year.

Natural disasters’ effect on the fuel supply and rising demand drove Florida’s average gas prices to a three-year-high in 2017.

And 2018 should be even higher.

That’s the analysis from the American Automobile Association and the Energy Information Administration. In 2017, according to AAA, Florida’s $2.37 per gallon of regular average remained in line with the $2.39 national average. Prices reached their highest national average in 2017, $2.67, on Sept. 8, the day before before their highest Florida average, $2.73. A week earlier, Hurricane Harvey ruined gasoline distribution routes and shut down some of the nation’s largest oil refineries.

The Energy Information Administration predicts a $2.51 national average for the year of 2018, which is exactly where AAA says Miami is right now.

None of this approaches 2014, when Floridians paid $3.34 per gallon.

“After a quick jump at the pump last week, prices are relatively stable right now across the southeastern U.S., and should begin to take a downward turn soon,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a release. “Gas prices normally decline during January and February, as gasoline demand hits the lowest levels of the year. The pump-price plunge has faced resistance from oil prices which have been trading at 2-year highs. Oil analysts believe the oil market is somewhat inflated due to geopolitical tensions and supply concerns, but prices should decline soon.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal