Gas prices hit 19-month high in Southwest Florida

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
FILE: Gas pump in Southwest Florida. (Credit: WINK News)

Gas prices in Southwest Florida are at a 19-month high, with an average of $2.69 being shelled out per gallon in Lee County.

AAA reports that’s 21 cents more than a month ago and 40 cents more than a year ago.

The rise in prices is making drivers change their routines, spending less time on the road to keep more money in their pockets.

“With the gas going up, man, listen, I don’t even like driving to go anywhere anymore,” said Jerry Galety of Fort Myers.

“I’m used to going into my change and just throwing out anything, you know, to put in the tank. Now it’s taking everything; I’m breaking big bills now.”

Like everyone else, Galety is trying to find ways to save money and time.

“It’s influenced me to carpool more.”

The prices are at their highest in 19 months: $2.69 a gallon on average in Lee and Charlotte counties, and $2.71 in Collier County.

The reason? A slow return to normalcy during the pandemic.

“A lot of optimism in the market that, you know, the rollout of the vaccine stimulus money will encourage kind of a return to normal driving patterns, so that will ease kind of the oversupply of gasoline that’s been out there,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesperson for AAA.

David Catlett drove to Fort Myers from Knoxville. While the gas bill for his 13-hour trip south was larger than usual, to him, it’s about supply and demand.

“I don’t pay too much attention to it; whatever it is, it is. I can’t negotiate a price on gas. What they charge, they charge and you got to buy it.”

AAA predicts we’ll be paying higher prices at the pump at least through the summer months, especially with more people traveling.

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