No gas station in Palm Beach County has reached the $2 per gallon price point consumers love yet, as of Monday morning, based on prices reported to GasBuddy.com. However, it could happen any day now at a handful of stations as gasoline prices continue to plummet.
At least a dozen stations were offering regular gasoline for $2.02 a gallon Monday, with Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway, North Palm Beach, standing alone at $2.01 a gallon, to GasBuddy.
There could also be a lingering “Wawa effect” in some areas.
Gasoline prices continue to fall across the country, as well in Florida’s highest-priced fuel market, Palm Beach County. The county’s average fell to $2.30 Monday from $2.36 a week ago, AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report shows.
Florida’s average is $2.20 a gallon, down from $2.26 a week ago, and elsewhere in the state, motorists are finding $2 a gallon gasoline, AAA said.
Even with the Fourth of July travel period beginning this weekend, Florida’s average has been falling for 23 consecutive days.
“It’s amazing we’re staring at some of the cheapest prices of the year as the holiday comes into view,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said.
“As motorists pack their cars in preparation for the July 4 holiday, gasoline prices continue their widespread drop, falling in all but five states over the last week, as retail prices play catch up to the falling price of crude oil,” DeHaan said.
“Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois saw prices rise slightly due only to the fact that gas prices had fallen so significantly that stations in those areas were selling under their cost, prompting an adjustment. For the rest of the country, the downward momentum has continued and may do so again this week, so long as there’s no sudden reversal in the price of crude oil,” DeHaan said.
As the summer travel season began earlier this month, gas prices are averaging the lowest in 12 years, AAA said.
AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said, “Oil prices moved even lower last week, dragging gas prices down with them. Oil prices are having a hard time stabilizing amid fears that oversupply will continue dominating market. The slump at the pump is not over yet. Prices are falling at a steady rate, and motorists should see another round of discounts this week.”
It may be a distant memory, but in November 2016, as the Thanksgiving holidays approached, a few stations in Palm Beach County were offering gasoline for $1.99, cash price. The county’s average stood at $2.27 then.
Here are the lowest prices for a gallon of regular gasoline in Palm Beach County as reported to GasBuddy.com:
$2.01: North Palm Beach, Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway
$2.02: West Palm Beach area including Raceway, 288. N. Haverhill Road; Mobil, 2050 Belvedere Road; Wawa, 1530 Belvedere Road; 7-Eleven, 1001 N. Military Trail; Murphy USA, 1050 N. Military Trail; Speedway, 2450 Okeechobee Blvd.; Cumberland Farms, 2692 N. Military Trail; Speedway, 6840 Okeechobee Blvd.
$2.02: Royal Palm Beach including Costco, 1001 Southern Blvd.
As motorists fill up their vehicles’ tanks for Memorial Day travel, they’re reminded that skimmers could be lurking at the pump.
So far this year, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has found and removed 185 skimmers. Thieves place the devices on gas pumps to steal consumers’ debit and credit card information.
The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer is estimated to be about 100 per device, with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday.
Travelers can take the following steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with.
Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.
Putnam worked with the Florida Legislature last year to change Florida law to better protect consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps by:
Requiring self-service fuel dispensers to use certain security measures to prevent theft of consumer financial information;
Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit cards;
Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence; and
Increasing the offense level of the crime, which affects sentencing guidelines.
Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
The department regularly inspects gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure. For more information, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
Where is the cheapest gas in Palm Beach County? Since three Wawa convenience stores opened last Thursday, it’s likely to be at Wawa, as well as at numerous gas stations within a few miles of those.
The “Wawa effect” is in full force, but it’s not known how long it will last.
“It is not uncommon that when a store enters a new market, that it is hyper competitive on gas prices,” said Jeff Lenard, the National Association of Convenience Stores vice president of strategic industry initiatives.
Wednesday, regular was priced at $2.17 a gallon at the three Wawas at 3950 S. Congress Ave., and 1771 S. Congress Ave., both in Palm Springs and at 7289 Garden Road in Riviera Beach. That’s well below the county’s average of $2.44 a gallon, down 3 cents from a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report
But Florida’s average remains unchanged from a week ago at $2.29 a gallon.
The increased competition helps explain why five gas stations in Lake Park within 1 to 3 miles of the Riviera Beach Wawa, are also selling gas at $2.17, according to GasBuddy.com. Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway, North Palm Beach, is offering regular for $2.15.
A few stations near the Palm Springs Wawas dropped their prices to $2.16 a gallon, and Wednesday gas was also $2.16 a gallon at Costco in Lantana and Royal Palm Beach and at BJs in Boynton Beach.
Wawa’s introductory $1.99 a gallon ended Saturday.
The price of gas is still the top reason 51 percent of consumers surveyed say they stop at a particular station, but 16 percent say they choose a fueling location for the quality of its food, a national survey NACS released Wednesday revealed.
“The margins on fuel are slim, and the idea is to get them in the store and incent them with a snack, sandwich or drinks,” Lenard said.
In the convenience store business, gasoline accounts for 70 percent of revenue dollars, but only 40 percent of profit dollars, Lenard said.
Patrick Dehaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said, “Sometimes, a large chain similar to Wawa will enter a new market and use low prices to spread word of mouth to bring in traffic and acquaint customers with their stations/brand.”
DeHaan said the low prices can last for days or weeks until the ownership is satisfied the brand is established.
“Wawa is likely forgoing profit for the aforementioned reasons. I wouldn’t expect it to be permanent. It’s likely an accepted cost of entering a market,” DeHaan said.
Lori Bruce, spokeswoman for Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa, said, “In new markets, it is our goal to attract new customers, as we are doing that in Palm Beach County with our offer and competitive pricing. In every new market we’ve entered, we’ve increased the level of competition in the market, and that benefits our customers and fulfills our value proposition. We consider fuel as part of our overall unique offer that includes food, fresh beverages, convenience, services and fuel in one experience.”
Inexpensive gasoline is something many consumers seek, and more than half of consumers will drive out of their way to save 5 cents a gallon, Lenard said, even if driving those extra miles doesn’t make sense.
NACS’ survey found that 67 percent of consumers will drive 10 minutes out of their way to save 5 cents a gallon. That’s a 20-minute round trip, and at 30 miles per gallon, equates to burning to half a gallon. If gas is $2 a gallon, the motorist won’t break even, Lenard said.
Even saving 10 cents a gallon amounts to only $1.80 for an 18-gallon tank.
“But there is a real feeling of satisfaction and a real feeling of accomplishment when you are able to, as a consumer, affect your gas prices. There is nothing else like it,” Lenard said “You will not see someone drive out of their way to save 50 cents on milk, bread or eggs.”
Motorists are about to experience a spring surprise. Gasoline prices could plunge as much as 5 to 10 cents a gallon in the short term as the price of crude oil fell last week.
The falling prices come at a time of year when gas prices typically rise as refineries undergo maintenance and switch to more expensive summer fuel blends.
Monday, Palm Beach County’s average had already dipped 2 cents a gallon to $2.49 from $2.51 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. Florida’s average stood at $2.27 Monday, down 1 cent from a week ago.
Some stations are well below the average. Here’s the lowest price for regular as reported on GasBuddy.com in the following cities:
Jupiter: $2.39, Circle K, 126 W. Indiantown Road
Palm Beach Gardens: $2.34, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.
North Palm Beach: $2.27, Citgo, 100 N. Federal Highway
West Palm Beach area: $2.28, Citgo, 970 S. Military Trail
Lake Worth area: $2.24, J&A, 4703 S. Military Trail
Wellington: $2.39, Marathon, 2741 State Road 7; Shell, 192 U.S. 441
“The oil market suffered a ‘mini collapse’ last week, following reports of a record build in domestic crude oil,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “This will postpone the customary spring-time gas price spike. Prices could drop 5-10 cents int he short term, but this downward trend may be only temporary.”
“A sudden plunge in the price of oil is likely to weigh on gas prices, at least temporarily,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “With little warning or expectation, crude oil last week broke out of the rut it had well established, with crude prices falling out of a 3-month range of $51-$54 per barrel to $49.”
“Naturally, when oil prices take a beating such as they did last week, one might expect gasoline prices to move in lockstep, but due the complex relationship of oil and gasoline prices and the middleman- U.S. refineries- motorists may not see as large a decline at the pump as they may hope for- but certainly stay tuned,” DeHaan said.
DeHaan said he remains optimistic that the annual spring rally at the pump could be less severe than expected, but added that is remains difficult to know where the new path will lead oil prices in the week ahead.
The spring run-up in gasoline prices has begun in Palm Beach County, as the average for a gallon of regular shot up 6 cents to $2.51 on Monday, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Last Monday the county’s average for regular grade was $2.45 a gallon.
Florida’s average rose to $2.28 Monday from $2.27 a week ago.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.”Gasoline prices are starting to pick up steam as a majority of states see their average rise over last week, a function of the season’s theatrics coming into view: refinery maintenance and the transition to cleaner gasoline pumping up prices.
“Some states gas prices may slightly lag the upward trend being seen in 38 states as remaining winter gasoline inventories are purged. However, as we grow closer to Baseball’s Opening Day, the nation’s motorists will be more likely to strikeout when trying to find $1.99 gas prices, which remain at just 8,000 stations across just handful of states. In a sign of what’s to come in some of the nation’s largest cities, motorists in Southern California have become the first in the lower 48 states to see the ugly “3” showing up on gas station displays at street level,” DeHaan said.
Gasoline prices typically rise in the spring as refineries switch from winter fuel blends to more expensive summer fuel blends.
Enjoy this week’s gasoline prices, because the spring run-up is forecast to start any day now.
Gasoline prices are relatively flat this week, with Palm Beach County’s average dipping to $2.45 for a gallon of regular Monday from $2.46 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Florida’s average fell to $2.27 from $2.28 a week ago.
The least expensive gas found locally is $2.19 a gallon at 7-Eleven, 1001 N. Military Trail and Belvedere Road in suburban West Palm Beach, according to GasBuddy.com
“With refinery maintenance and turnarounds beginning across the country, we’ll likely see a draw down on winter gasoline stocks, leading the national average to rise in the week ahead,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.
Throughout the past five years, gas prices rose 35 to 70 cents from February to Memorial Day, and motorists should expect the same this year, AAA said.
$2.24, Murphy USA, 103 N. Congress Ave., Lake Park
“Crude oil continues to drive the market,” said AAA spokesman Josh Carrasco. “Domestic oil production and a glut in oil and gas supplies are keeping a lid on prices at the pump. The best time to fill up your tank is now because, historically, gas prices begin to climb until we reach Memorial Day.”
Gas prices generally peak around Memorial Day. In fact, in six of the past 17 years, the seasonal peak has taken place between May 9th and May 24th. Historically, between February and the peak price, the average annual increase is about 54 cents per gallon. Several factors contribute to this annual increase including, refinery maintenance, the switch to summer-blend fuels which are more expensive to produce and an increase in demand as more people begin traveling in the spring and summertime.
EIA reports showed U.S. oil production held steady at 8.97 million barrels a day, continuing to offset OPEC’s efforts to increase oil prices.
OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report stated that participating countries successfully implemented 90 percent of the agreed production cuts they pledged in last year’s historic deal.
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy released a report showing a huge buildup in gasoline inventory. That coupled with winter storms that brought snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice storms to various parts of the country from California to the Deep South resulted in immediate and downward pressure on fuel prices, Laskoski said.
Say goodbye to cheap gasoline and hello to $3 a gallon for regular gasoline in Palm Beach County this spring.
GasBuddy forecasts that 2017 will bring the highest gas prices in three years. Motorists will shell out $53 billion more over the course of the year compared to 2016, as the national yearly average rises to $2.49 a gallon. In 2016 it was a mere $2.13 a gallon.
For Palm Beach County, which almost always has the state’s highest prices, and the rest of the nation, gas prices are forecast to reach a peak in May.
“For Palm Beach County, it would be reasonable to expect prices to peak in May between a range of $3 to $3.35 a gallon,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski said. “Summer will be fairly high, and when we get into the fourth quarter, we expect prices to decline, which is pretty much what we see every day.”
Thursday, Palm Beach County’s average was $2.52 a gallon for regular, up from $2.30 a month ago. That’s well above Florida’s $2.41 average and the nation’s $2.35, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
AAA has forecast that Florida’s 2017 average will range from $2.25 to $2.75, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said Thursday. Some metro areas are likely to have stations selling gas above $3 a gallon.
The seasonal switch from winter-blend to summer blend fuels as mandated by EPA and the Clean Air Act will bring a spike at the pump later this spring, GasBuddy said.
Crude oil and gasoline prices have been pushed up in recent weeks following an announcement by OPEC and non-OPEC countries that they will cut back oil production by 1.8 million barrels a day this year.
“While gasoline prices nearly always follow the same direction as crude oil and represent an important barometer for consumers and their personal budgets, the increases we anticipate this year may be met with less resistance than in the past if economic improvement softens the blow,” Laskoski said.
“If the Trump Administration delivers on its promises; lower taxes, more jobs, higher salaries and savings, then….then a concurrent increase in demand and gasoline prices may be easier to digest,” Laskoski said.
Of course, as with any forecast, there’s a lot of room for error. Additional components that have the potential to weigh on retail gasoline prices include federal and/or state tax changes, Middle East volatility, currency fluctuations, refinery maintenance and/or unscheduled outages, weather events and shipping/transportation snafus, GasBuddy said.
Now for the lingering question. Why are Palm Beach County’s gas prices the state’s highest? Thursday, that held true, as the county’s $2.52 average surpassed the next highest, Broward County, by 5 cents.
A number of factors are blamed for Palm Beach County’s high gas prices, including its distance from Port Everglades in Hollywood and the Port of Tampa, where gasoline is delivered on tanker ships. Also coming into play are highest allowable gasoline taxes, stations charging what the market will bear and strict zoning that limits the number of gas stations in some areas.
To read more about why prices are even higher in cities such as Jupiter, click here.