Gas hits dreaded $4 mark in Tampa area
TAMPA - A few gas stations in the Tampa area have passed a grim threshold: $4 per gallon. Granted, the average price at the pump was about $3.80 for a gallon of regular unleaded as of Friday. But at a few of the pricier locations, the cost topped $4. That compares with an average low of about $3.10 in December, and a peak last summer of about $3.50, according to TampaGasPrices.com. “We’re paying the most now than we ever have for this time of year,” said AAA Auto Club South gas watcher Jessica Brady, adding that federal forecasters initially expected 2013 would not be a record-breaking year. “At this point, it does look like prices will increase into March.” That’s because retail prices haven’t yet caught up with higher wholesale prices in 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration.The highest reported average ever in the Tampa area was $4.01 in July 2008, according to AAA, just as the economy was tipping into recession. Though it may offer little comfort to drivers, about 10 cents of this recent price spike relates to the shift from winter-blend fuel to summer-blend fuels that are refined and formulated to reduce pollutions.