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2017 brings higher gas prices than last year
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
The price at the pump at this station in Largo is $2.39 for a gallon of regular unleaded. But prices cheaper prices can be found around Pinellas, according to GasBuddy.com.
Gas prices are on the rise and that trend is expected to continue in 2017. Today’s pump prices for a gallon of regular unleaded are on average 30 cents more than the same date last year.

The national price for a gallon of unleaded, as of Dec. 29, was $2.30, according to AAA Fuel Gauge. Pump prices were $2 on the same date in 2016. Floridians were paying slightly more with the average price of $2.37, up from $2 last year. Motorists in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater were paying an average of $2.34 a gallon, up from $1.93 in 2016.

A spot check of prices at GasBu­ddy.c­om on Dec. 29 showed prices in Pinellas County ranging from a low of $2.17 going up to $2.48.

AAA’s experts reported as of Dec. 26 that the average price for gasoline had increased for 28 of the past 30 days. And prices are likely to continue to rise despite an expected drop in demand following the holiday travel season. The reason is a promise by OPEC and other countries to cut oil production, which should boost the cost of crude oil and in turn increase the cost of gas. Gas Buddy’s analyst reported that oil prices have doubled since February 2016 going from $25 to $54.

The upward trend is expected to follow with motorists paying the price at the pump. However, experts say gas prices may go down a bit through the winter months. But the real test of the hit to wallet will come as refiners go through a maintenance period before transitioning to the more expensive summer fuel blends.

AAA estimates that motorists saved about $27 billion in gas costs in 2016 compared to last year. However, that trend is not expected to continue. Experts predict that households will need to budget a bit more for transportation costs in the New Year.

Suzette Porter is Tampa Bay Newpaper’s Pinellas County editor. Send her an email at webmaster@tbnweekly.com.
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