Florida's gas prices reach highest level since 2014

Florida gasoline prices went up 13 cents during the past week and are the highest they have been since October 2014, according to the AAA auto club.

AAA said the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $3.31 on Sunday, up from about $3.18 a week earlier.

Mark Jenkins, a AAA spokesman, said higher crude oil prices, driven by global demand and lack of production, have caused the spike. 

"What we pay at the pump is directly tied to the price of oil," Jenkins said. "When oil prices increase, that makes the cost of producing gasoline that much more expensive. Oil prices have surged recently, all due to concerns that the global supply of crude is not enough to meet demand." 

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Jenkins said higher gas prices are expected to continue the rest of the year, as oil is used for heating and electricity in parts of the country in the winter. 

The most expensive gas in Florida is in the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie markets, while the cheapest gas can be found in the Pensacola, Jacksonville, Panama City and Punta Gorda markets. 

"Last year, we saw demand plummet because of the (COVID-19) pandemic," Jenkins said. "People weren’t traveling as much, so there was an excess in oil supply. So, the U.S. and many other countries cut back on production levels. Now, we are starting to see that demand come back. Unfortunately, oil production has lagged behind."