Miami-Dade County

As gas prices continue to drop, drivers more likely to take a trip

FILE--Commuter Jose Collazo pumps gasoline at Valero on NW 27th Ave. and 71st Street in Miami. With the holidays approaching, people say spending less money at the pump means more money for trips and gifts.
FILE--Commuter Jose Collazo pumps gasoline at Valero on NW 27th Ave. and 71st Street in Miami. With the holidays approaching, people say spending less money at the pump means more money for trips and gifts. EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF

Coconut Grove resident Joshua Kingston is considering something he hasn’t done in more than two years: taking an 18-hour road trip over the holidays to surprise his parents in Louisiana.

His reason — the trip won’t cost as much because gas prices are on the decline.

“Cost is always a factor,” said the independent curator, who is spending about $10 less per tank of gas for his Honda Element. “This is great timing for gas prices to drop.”

And while gas prices may seem like they are at an all-time low — Florida is averaging $2.70 a gallon, seven cents cheaper than last week — the prices are expected to drop another 15 to 20 cents by the end of the year, said AAA — The Auto Club Group.

“It’s great news for motorists who are finalizing their holiday budget,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA in Florida and Georgia. Florida’s average is 73 cents cheaper than this time last year and it has been dropping for 65 consecutive days.

Florida mirrors the nationwide average of $2.70, which is 10 cents lower than last week’s national average. There are some states, including South Carolina, that could see prices drop to $2 by the end of the year, Jenkins said.

Jenkins attributes the falling prices to an increased supply of oil because of the shale boom, the reduced price of crude oil, the lower demand during the winter and the cheaper production costs in the winter. On Monday, the price of U.S. crude oil fell to $63.05 a barrel, a five-year low, and analysts expect gas prices to continue to drop through at least the spring of next year.

“This means more money in peoples’ pockets for shopping, traveling and dining out,” Jenkins said, adding that the average motorist is saving about $12 on a tank of gas. “That adds up.”

Motorists are welcoming the break.

Miami resident Tanya Chen said with the holidays approaching she is considering straying from her “home-to work-and back home travel routine.”

“Visiting a Christmas event sounds nice,” she said, adding a trip to Disney World in Orlando is also an option.

Miami resident Juan Alberti said “the less money we spend on gas, the more money we'll have for other things.”

“Not specifically to take a trip but money for gifts, now that the holiday season is here and for other stuff,” he said “Pretty much it's a welcome gift to those that are always tight on money.”

But others are hesitant to get comfortable with the lower prices.

As the co-owner of a plumbing business that serves Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Todd Stiff said dropping gas prices means a little more money now, but not enough to make a difference.

“We are just recouping what we lost when the prices were high,” said Stiff, who gets the receipts from all seven trucks that need to be filled. “And they’ll probably go back up.”

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with the Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a source at MiamiHerald.com/insight.

Current and past gas prices

National: Sunday, $2.679; Saturday, $2.692; a week ago, $2.776; a month ago $2.947 and a year ago, $3.263

Florida: Sunday, $2.703; Saturday, $2.714; a week ago, $2.773; a month ago, $2.923 and a year ago, $3.431

Georgia: Sunday, $2.605; Saturday,$2.617; a week ago, $2.691; a month ago, $2.849 and a year ago $3.233

Tennessee: Sunday, $2.493; Saturday, $2.503; a week ago, $2.569; a month ago, $2.708 and a year ago $3.133

Source: AAA

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