Gas Prices Increase For First Time Since Summer

By Lindsay Cohen email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) -- If you're heading out to work or to drop the kids off at school Monday morning, you may notice a pint-sized pinch at the pump.

AAA Auto Club South reports that gas has climbed more than 20 cents a gallon in the southern United States since New Year's Day, despite ample supply and weak demand.

The current increase at the pump is odd, experts say. It is the first since July 11, when the average national price peaked at $4.11 a gallon.

"The past week showed a 'disconnect' that's difficult to explain," said Gregg Laskoski, Managing Director for Public Relations for AAA Auto Club South, in a statement. "Early last week, crude rose to $49 per barrel in response to the war in Gaza and the potential threat that posed to oil imports from the Middle East. But the price of oil fell consistently the rest of the week due to the U.S. recession and the weakness of the global economy."

"It's rare when retail gasoline prices are not moving in the same direction as crude oil prices," Laskoski's statement continued, "given current supply and demand, they should both be decreasing. We should expect to see retail gasoline prices decline this week, barring any major disruptions to the oil infrastructure."

This time last year, Floridians were paying about $3.15 on average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas.

The lowest price in the country is about $1.34 in Billings, Montana.