Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cheaper Gas in Georgia? Not Necessarily Gap Closing along Border with Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cheaper Gas in Georgia? Not Necessarily Gap Closing along Border with Florida

Article excerpt

KINGSLAND -- A sign on Interstate 95 in Jacksonville boasts gas prices are cheaper in Georgia.

While that claim is true when comparing average statewide gas prices, Jacksonville residents don't have to drive across the state line for the cheapest gas around.

The lowest gas prices in Jacksonville this week are $1.25 a gallon at a Hess station on Beach Boulevard and $1.29 a gallon at a Racetrac station on Atlantic Boulevard, said Robin Yales, office manager for the AAA office in Jacksonville.

The lowest gas prices in Camden County, at stations off I-95 in Kingsland, are $1.28 a gallon.

"That's weird, I don't know what's going on," Yales said.

A year ago, the cheapest gas prices in Jacksonville were $1.08 a gallon, Hess said, while they were less than 75 cents a gallon in Kingsland. Prices in Kingsland have been traditionally about 30 cents a gallon less than Jacksonville.

But nobody can explain why the gap has closed.

"Historically, the prices in Georgia are cheaper than in the surrounding states," said Mike Kumpf, regional director of government affairs for BP AMOCO.

"When it swings like this, I don't want to say it's an aberration, but it's unusual," Kumpf said. "The likelihood is there will be a marketplace correction that will swing back the other way. When that will happen, I don't have the slightest idea."

Ed Crowell, president of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, said he was "baffled" by the price difference.

"It should be cheaper [in Georgia] because the tax differential is cheaper," Crowell said.

David Mica, executive director for the Florida Petroleum Council, said it was "amazing" that any merchant in Jacksonville could sell gas cheaper than Georgia retailers because the state tax is about 20 cents a gallon less than in Florida.

"It's a bizarre one," Mica said. "I've never heard this before. …

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