TAMPA, Fla — Filling up your tank before you're on "E" has gotten a little harder.
"A very pricey Thanksgiving in the pump. Prices in Tampa took a big jump up last week," Gas Buddy Petroleum Analyst Patrick De Haan said.
Prices are up more than 60 percent across the Tampa Bay area. A percentage, De Haan says, isn't typical around the holidays.
"It all traces back to COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, Americans stayed far closer to home for the first couple of months - back in April 2020. So, demand plummeted. Oil companies that cut production from early on in the pandemic, they really haven't caught up to the rise in demand. Gasoline demand has soared compared to production," De Haan said.
That's why gas experts say whenever you go to fill up, the number you'll see is going to be higher than usual. But filling up in about two to three weeks will make a huge difference.
"Prices are starting to inch back down here in the last couple of days. Prices a week ago in Tampa were about 20 cents a gallon lower. That's thanks to that big increase we saw last week that happened before the price of oil started to plummet. It's that falling price of oil since last week that will likely bring us lower gas prices across much of Florida ahead of Thanksgiving," De Haan said.
While we won't see anything close to last year's average price of $1.98, prices should dip under $3.00.
"There are some [gas] stations now in Tampa that are back under $3.00. In fact, several the wholesale clubs are at $2.91 a gallon and there's a Circle K at $2.94, so just give it time," De Haan said.
Until then, if the price is too high, experts say you should try to avoid the pump if you can.
"Motorists shouldn't be in a hurry because prices will come down. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. Feel better that prices are about to decrease instead of continuing to go up," De Haan said.