It’s costing more to pump gas at the pump than it did a few weeks ago — locally more than a dime more per gallon — but gas price spikes are nothing like what’s happening in and around Orlando.
There, prices have jumped as much as 16 cents per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. And all of it is because of an “imperfect storm of events.”
The biggest problem, according to senior petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski, is supply. Florida is transitioning to its “summer blend” gasoline, in a process that will take at least another month to complete. At the same time, GasBuddy said there have been unconfirmed reports of gasoline transportation delays moving from Houston or New Orleans to Tampa due to fog in the Gulf of Mexico.
Imports from offshore sources also have stayed low, while freight rates for moving gas from Texas and Louisiana remains high because of a shortage of American-flagged vessels to transport it.
Another problem affecting gas prices is ethanol, which has jumped to $3.75 per gallon in Florida. That alone has raised gas prices by at least 6 cents a gallon, compared to the beginning of the year when the abundance of ethanol probably cheapened gas by a few pennies, according to GasBuddy.
Trains that bring ethanol to Florida have been backlogged, although southern Florida is experiencing those effects more than central Florida.
Trucks to transport gas also are in short supply, especially since many of them are being used for move jet fuel from the ports on the east coast to Tampa.
Finally, demand is probably the strongest in the last six years, primarily because of northern states experiencing some of its harshest winters in the past century, experts said. That demand, which also can drive up prices, could continue through the end of April.
GasBuddy operates more than 250 websites that track gasoline prices at more than 140,000 stations in the United States and Canada.