Nov. 27–LAKE COUNTY — Black Friday deals this year extended past retail establishments all the way to the gas pumps with average prices that AAA — The Auto Club Group says are at or near the lowest of the year in some metro areas.
In Lake County, the average price of gas as of Monday stood at $2.307 and in Sumter County, the average fell to $2.289. The statewide average price is $2.419, as compared to this time last year when it was slightly higher at $2.461.
In Leesburg, prices, according to GasBuddy.com ranged from $2.18 at the Shell station on 14th St. to $2.39 at the Mobil stations on County Road 48 and at Main St.
In Clermont, there was a Marathon on U.S. Highway 27 with gas for $2.18 and a Green Swamp Country Store on U.S. Highway 33 with it for $2.25.
Last month, the state average hit $2.714 but no need to fear because AAA Spokesman Mark Jenkins said the slashed prices are expected to continue to decline through the end of the year — just in time for Christmas.
“Lower gas prices means more money in people’s pockets to allocate for gifts and to fund travel plans,” Jenkins said.
He said there are several reasons for the decline, starting with currently low oil prices.
“Last week’s plunge in crude prices adds even more weight to what was already strong downward pressure on prices at the pump,” said Jenkins. “Florida motorists should see gas prices drop another .05 to .15 cents as a direct result of the recent crude drop. These falling prices are mostly due to record crude production rates from the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia. Unless the oil market quickly recovers, these low gas prices should hang around through the end of the year.”
Other reasons include the time of year gas is being produced and the demand for it, Jenkins said, explaining that people travel more during the summer than they do in the winter.
“Right now, oil refineries are producing winter blend gasoline, which is cheaper to produce than summer-blend gasoline,” he said.
Jenkins explained that in the summer heat, gas burns differently than it does in the winter when it’s cooler.
Because of that, the EPA requires more additives be used when producing summer fuel to lessen the amount of pollutants being released into the air.
“Because the winter blend has fewer additives, it’s cheaper to make,” Jenkins said.
Many people will feel the savings, as will agencies throughout the county, including the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies are on the road each and every day.
Sgt. Fred Jones, a spokesman for the agency, said he checked with the finance department and though they do not have a specific number amount as far as what the savings may mean for their budget, said it will impact them positively.
“It will help, but it takes about a month or two to see where it’s at exactly,” Jones said.
Jenkins said the pump prices will continue to drop steadily until they “catch up” with the drop in oil prices.
He said it can be a slow process, however, since station owners cannot drop the prices all at once because of the contracts with retailers that lock them into set prices for a set time. He said if they drop too quickly, they’ll lose money in some cases.
“On the average, they (gas prices) rise like a rocket and fall like a feather,” he said.
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