Gas spikes after dipping below $2
For a few brief glimmering days, drivers in Lee County drove past local gas stations and saw a sight they hadn’t seen since the winter of 2009.
After a close call last winter, gasoline prices went below $2 a gallon at numerous area gas stations early this week.
However, just like last year, when prices stalled out at $2.02 before refinery maintenance and “summer blends” caused prices to shoot up, prices jumped as much as 15 cents a gallon overnight Wednesday.
Stations that sold gas for under $2 were now charging $2.15 with few exceptions.
As of Thursday, the current average price for a gallon on regular unleaded gasoline was $2.16 a gallon, six cents higher than Wednesday’s average and eight cents higher than a week ago. The national average is currently $2.31, while Florida’s average is $2.21.
Prices are still well over a dollar a gallon less than at this time last year, which was $3.33 and almost half of the record high of $4.06 set in July 2008.
Marsha Kut, manager of the AAA location in Fort Myers, said the spike is similar to the one you get before spring when refineries go into maintenance mode and they switch over to the winter blend. She also said the low prices have had much to do with the spike.
“Because prices have been so low, we had a record for most travel at this time of year. They slow down production for this time of year anyway because of kids going back to school. But everyone has been taking advantage of the low prices and there are shorter supplies,” Kut said.
Kut said, unlike the spring spike leading to the summer driving season, she didn’t expect this one to last.
“The maintenance is done and the blends have changed so you’ll see it come tumbling down again,” Kut said. “We think it’ll come back to around $2 because production is so high. This is the lowest gas has been in years, so we’re fortunate.”
At the Shell station on Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers, prices fell to as low as $2.01 before climbing up to $2.15 on Wednesday and to $2.19 on Thursday.
Patricia Meyer of North Fort Myers was filling up and said she was a little shocked.
“That’s quite a bit for us who live here. The shock was how much it went up at a time. You know you’ll get an increase, but it went up so suddenly,” Meyer said.
Next door, at Dodge’s Southern Style store, the rise in gas bottomed out at $2.04 Monday before going up to $2.12 per gallon for cash purchases.
Those who work at the local stations can’t speak on the record concerning gas prices. But they all said that the national office calls them when there is a price change and they pretty much have to follow that.