Gas prices haven’t moved much in the last few days, but don’t expect that trend to stay that way for long.
Fuel prices are expected to rise over the next month as refineries shut down for annual maintenance and switching the summer fuel blends, which are more expensive to produce.
The question is by how much.
The average fill-up in Naples was $2.61 per gallon on Tuesday, and $2.51 in Lee County. Statewide, drivers are paying an average of $2.53. For the most part, prices saw little movement over the last week, though the average in Naples did drop a few cents.
“Gas prices are usually volatile during the spring, with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA’s The Auto Club Group. “Wholesale gasoline prices lowered late last week, which should allow retail to do the same. While motorists could see gas prices drift a few cents lower in the short term, they should expect more surprises this spring. In total, pump prices could rise 20-30 cents before the summer, as refineries work through scheduled maintenance and prepare for the switch to summer blend gasoline.”
According to a survey conducted by AAA, about 25 percent of drivers say they would change their driving habits at $2.75 per gallon. At $3.00 per gallon, that becomes 40 percent.
“This spring, consumers may have to make decisions on where they can cut costs to cover gas prices that are potentially 40-cents more per gallon than last spring,” AAA’s Jeanette Casselano said.
Among the most popular changes in the survey were to combine trips, with 79 percent of drivers saying they would, 73 percent said they would drive less. Only 46 percent said they would drive a more efficient vehicle.
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