Florida ties for highest gas jump nationwide

Florida gas prices rose 14 cents in the last week, tying North Carolina for the largest jumps nationwide, according to Monday’s AAA report.

Florida’s average stands at $3.31 a gallon with Alachua, Bradford and Levy counties coming in a cent higher.

Nationwide, Florida still remains below the $3.38 average, a six cent increase from last week. California takes gold with $4.54 a gallon while Pennsylvania rounds off the top ten list with $3.56.

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“With the U.S. economy slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic, demand for gas is robust, but the supply is tight,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a report. “We haven’t seen prices this high since September of 2014.”

The report noted that oil production worldwide has yet to match pre-pandemic numbers, but demand for gas grows as America emerges from the pandemicfrom 9.19 million barrels a day to 9.63.

Gas at the Sam’s Club in Butler Plaza remains the lowest in Gainesville with $3.16 a gallon.

AAA recommends the following tips for gas savings:

Ownership, Maintenance & Repairs

  • When buying a car, look for models that offer the best fuel economy in their class. For most drivers, an optional larger and/or more-powerful engine is unnecessary.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Modern cars don’t need “tune ups,” but regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance and longevity.
  • Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blow out.

The Daily Drive

  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.

To idle or not to idle

  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
  • When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
  • When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
  • Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
  • Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
  • If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.

Don’t be Fueled into Wasting Gas

  • The practices above will definitely help improve fuel economy. Also keep these more general fuel saving tips in mind:
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.

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