Pandemic drives down gas prices in Florida to lowest in 16 years

Gas prices in Florida during 2020 were the lowest in 16 years as travel and daily commuting dropped because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to AAA.

The auto club also said that as 2021 started, prices at the pump averaged $2.19 a gallon, down from $2.50 a year ago.

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"Florida drivers saw big swings at the pump last year, primarily because the pandemic caused lower fuel demand both nationwide and around the globe," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a prepared statement.

Gas prices in Florida have hovered around $2.20 a gallon for the past 20 days, up about 4 cents from a month ago.

As of Sunday, the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton metro area had the highest average at $2.32 a gallon, followed by Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie, each at $2.22 a gallon. Punta Gorda had the lowest average, at $2.13, followed by Jacksonville at $2.15 a gallon and Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice at $2.16 a gallon.

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Nationally, the average gallon cost $2.26, down from $2.59 a gallon a year ago. In Georgia, the average was $2.10, down from $2.45 at the start of 2020.

"Although the fuel market remains optimistic about the long-term recovery of fuel demand, thanks to the coronavirus vaccine; the short-term future of prices at the pump will likely continue to be hampered by reports of rising cases of Covid-19," Jenkins said.