Aug 3, 2023 - Climate

Heat wave hits Tampa Bay's gas pumps

Illustration of a car gas gauge, with a neutral emoji on the left and a swearing emoji on the right, and the needle reaching the swearing side.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As temperatures climbed at the end of July, so did gas prices.

State of play: Fuel costs ticked up 15 cents in just the past week, as the global heat wave slowed Texas' and Louisiana's oil refineries down, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

How it happened: Refineries, which turn crude oil into products like gasoline, don't function as efficiently in 100+ degree weather.

  • Meanwhile, demand for gas typically rises in the summer, and gasoline inventories in the U.S. are at their lowest July level since 2015, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a note.

Zoom in: The current average for regular gas in Florida is $3.84, compared to last month's average of $3.27, per AAA.

  • Local averages are even higher. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater is $3.87, Lakeland-Winter Haven is $3.88, Homosassa Springs is $3.91 and Brandenton-Sarasota-Venice is $3.88.

Yes, but: Prices are still nowhere near the high levels we saw last summer. The highest recorded average price for regular unleaded in Florida was $4.89 in June 2022.

What to watch: Hurricane season. Severe weather could also impact refineries and push up prices.


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