Gas Prices Inch Closer to $5 Per Gallon in Sarasota-Manatee
According to AAA, the national average price for gasoline exceeded $5 a gallon over the weekend. Florida's state average has not exceeded the $5 threshold—Sunday's average was $4.89—but it's not far off. The state average increased 13 cents per gallon over the past week and are 65 percent more expensive than they were a year ago. On average, it now costs $72 to fill an average-sized 15-gallon tank of gas.
"The unprecedented pain at the pump continues to worsen after oil prices reached new multi-month highs last week," Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, said in a press release. "The reason remains the same: ongoing concerns that global fuel supplies can not keep pace with rising fuel demand.
"Oil production was already tight coming out of the pandemic," Jenkins continued. "The continued uncertainty surrounding global supply and demand has made it extremely difficult to pin down any realistic expectations on when drivers will see meaningful relief. The Florida average price for gasoline is likely to exceed $5 a gallon this summer, if not before the end of June. From there, drivers should expect gas prices to continue fluctuating throughout the rest of the year."
On Wednesday, the U.S. price of crude oil reached a three-month high of $122.11 per barrel, but finished the week slightly lower. Friday's settlement of $120.67 per gallon is nearly $2 more than the week before.
As if high gas prices aren't painful enough, there's inflation to deal with, too. Last week, the Consumer Price Index showed that inflation grew 8.6 percent in May, and that the war in Ukraine is continuing to affect the prices of food, electric power, housing services and consumer goods. The price of food in the U.S. is showing its biggest—and fastest—annual increase since 1979, according to The New York Times.
Rising costs have actively hurt American families, including in Sarasota-Manatee, where an affordable housing crisis is also plaguing the community. Last week, the Labor Department reported that inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings fell by 3 percent in May compared to a year earlier.
“People who have had to move to North Port, Parrish or Palmetto to find affordable housing are having to drive father to fill a lot of our service jobs,” Heather Kasten, president and CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, told us last week. “High prices are a tremendous tax on everyone, but especially those who are not earning the highest wages.”