Help for Floridians Facing High Fuel Prices

Josh McGillFlorida

Gas prices in Florida are at an all-time high. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded fuel in Florida on May 16 was $4.497, which is $0.014 higher than the national average. Gas prices are up $1.60 cents per gallon from one year ago, while diesel prices have rose $2.62 over the past year.

Fuel Prices
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins says many factors are contributing to the increased costs. “Right now, what’s driving prices is the expectation that demand for the summer driving season is going to be much stronger than last year,” he said. “You couple that with lowering supplies here domestically and stronger demand internationally.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill recently that will suspend the state’s roughly 25-cents-per-gallon gas tax, but it does not go into effect until October.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on May 9 issued an emergency rule that allows the additional sale of gasoline containing 15% denatured anhydrous ethanol, also known as E15. The rule follows a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) temporary waiver approved this month related to E15, which is typically available in winter months. The rule aims to increase the supply of gasoline products due to the crude oil disruption caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

After reviewing the EPA waiver, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) determined without an adjustment to Florida’s fuel standards in the face of an extraordinary situation, the state may be incapable of meeting demand leading to fuel shortages. FDACS filed emergency rule 5JER22-1, allowing all fuel suppliers to utilize additional fuel types to secure a consistent fuel supply and alleviate additional strain on Florida’s fuel market. The rule shall remain in effect for a period of 90 days or until the expiration of the EPA’s waiver, whichever occurs first.

Sources: News Service of Florida and FDACS

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