Sarasota gas prices slip to summertime low

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Drivers in Sarasota-Manatee paid $2.37 average on Monday, down 30 cents for the month.

Gas prices have dropped to a new 2019 summertime low, according to AAA.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice market was $2.37 on Monday, AAA reported, down 30 cents over the month.

Statewide, the average price of $2.42 is just under the previously seasonal low set in June.

Drivers in Southwest Florida are paying 36 cents less for a gallon of gas than last year.

“Florida drivers continue to benefit from oil prices that remain lower than last year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman at AAA in Tampa. “Fortunately, the highest gas prices of the year are likely far behind us. As long as economic and global demand concerns continue, it’s unlikely drivers will see a significant jump at the pump anytime soon.”

Since Memorial Day gas prices have averaged $2.56 per gallon. The summertime peak was $2.70 in July, while the highest price for the year was  $2.80 in April.

Drivers in the Punta Gorda metro paid the lowest average price in Florida, at $2.34. Panama City recorded the highest at $2.58. Florida now has the 14th lowest average price in the country.

But growing demand and tightening stocks could lead to modest price increases ahead of Labor Day. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed demand for gasoline hit an all-time high record at 9.93 million barrels per day for the week ended Aug. 9, and is now at the highest level since EIA began recording the data in 1991.

Pump prices at stations in the Sarasota area ranged from $2.25 to $2.55 per gallon, according to GasBuddy reports.

“For a surprising fifth straight week, the national average has declined, ushering in lower gas prices to every state and providing relief to consumers who’ve watched the stock market tank, but for the same reason oil prices have plunged,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “While gasoline demand remains healthy, continued worry over U.S. and China relations clouds energy markets and has weighed significantly on oil prices.

“As the summer draws to a close, the declines may slow down as new signs from both the U.S. and China show a less aggressive tone regarding trade, but we’ll have to see if that materializes into something concrete in the weeks ahead,” he said.

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