Are you already cutting costs because of climbing gas prices that are nearing $4 per gallon at some stations?
Industry experts say the costs likely will continue to increase, deepening the average 45 cent-per-gallon jump since January.
The average price of a regular gallon of gas in Florida is $3.88, according to AAA. That's increased 46 cents since a month ago and tops the national average by 10 cents per gallon.
For many, gas is a necessary expense. "You got to pay, you have no choice," said John Marcenek, who stopped Thursday morning to buy gas at a Sunoco station at State Road 520 on Merritt Island, where the price of regular was $3.79. "What are you going to do, stop buying gas? Stop driving?"
Despite the already steep surge, some experts say prices will continue to rise and peak at about $3.95 per gallon by early April. Others say the cost will eclipse the highest recorded prices set in 2008, when regular gas was $4.08 in Florida.
Gasoline prices typically climb from February to Memorial Day on expectations of rising consumption and costlier summer-blend gas. The sluggish economy and stubbornly high unemployment rate have done little to curb consumer demand. If either gains momentum, prices will rise. Moreover, political unrest in the oil-rich Middle East, refinery woes or prolonged natural disasters could cause additional jumps in crude oil and wholesale gas prices.
Some people already are looking toward relief. "Gas prices go up, but they never seem to roll back to where they were before the price goes up," said Alan Smith, who also had stopped on Merritt Island for gas. "That's the way it is."
Seeking out the cheapest gas? Sam's Club in Melbourne listed prices at $3.75 on Wednesday, the cheapest in Melbourne, according to consumer-driver website GasBuddy.com. The Murphy USA station on Cheney Highway in Titusville was cheapest in that city, charging $3.79, as was the BP on U.S. 1 near Linwood Lane in Palm Bay.
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