Mar 2, 2023 - News

Filling up in Tampa Bay gets a little easier

Data: GasBuddy; Note: Price as of the 1st of each month; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tampa Bay drivers spent an average of $3.33 for every gallon of gas in February, per GasBuddy data. That's down 4% year over year, and down 1% from January.

The big picture: Nationally, gas cost about $3.40/gallon in February — down 6% year over year, but up 2% from January.

Why it matters: Cheaper gas is good news for American consumers, especially commuters, more than three-quarters of whom rely on car travel, making them particularly sensitive to the ebbs and flows of prices at the pump — especially as other basic goods also get more expensive.

Between the lines: Gas prices are also a political football, rightfully so or not.

  • When prices are high, many Americans tend to blame whoever's sitting in the Oval Office — even though, as Axios' Andrew Freedman has reported, they lack significant control over the cost of commodities priced on global markets, oil included.
  • If Gov. Ron DeSantis runs for president, we could be looking at a fight over gas prices with Biden.

Driving the news: Crude oil prices have fallen over the past year, leading to cheaper automotive gas.

  • A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude — a common industry benchmark — costs around $76 as of late February, down from about $122 in June 2022.
  • Oil prices spiked last year amid uncertainty over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Russia — a major oil producer — that followed.
  • While the fighting drags on, oil markets have largely stabilized, as CNN reports.

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