Gas prices up by 13 cents a gallon

Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 7:59 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 7:59 a.m.

Gas prices around Florida rose by 13 cents a gallon over the past week, according to an ongoing price survey by AAA. Gas was selling for an average of $3.44 a gallon in Florida over the weekend, AAA officials said.


Average unleaded gas prices in Florida

Current – $3.441
Week ago – $3.313
Month ago – $3.308
Year ago – $3.117

Source: AAA

Some analysts said the future direction of gas prices will be shaped by recent improvements in U.S. employment, an Iranian threat to block a key shipping canal and demand for fuel.

Factors pushing prices higher include Iran's threat to block ships from entering the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is a major shipping point for oil exports form the Middle East.

The potential for demand for gasoline is also on the horizon. Federal officials said 200,000 more people are working now than were a few months ago, a situation that could increase demand and therefore raise prices.

On the other side of gas price equation are factors that could push prices back down. For example, analysts are weighing the potential for Europe to enter a recession. That could tamp down demand for oil.

And, despite more Americans now working, the federal oil supply is growing. The U.S. Department of Energy announced last week that the federal reserve supply grew by 2.5 million barrels to 220.2 million during the end of December.

In published reports, the publisher of the Lundberg Survey - Trilby Lundberg - attributed the price hike in part to increases in crude oil prices. Lundberg told CNN that recent hikes in wholesale gas prices have not yet been completely passed on to drivers but if crude oil prices remain at their current levels, drivers may see hikes in prices at the pumps as retailers catch up with the higher prices they are paying at wholesale.

In her weekly news release on gas prices, AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said, “Gas prices generally inch up after the first of the year on optimism the economy will continue to improve and set the stage for increased demand in the new year.”

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