Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gasoline Prices Leap in a Matter of Days

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gasoline Prices Leap in a Matter of Days

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Gordon, Times-Union staff writer

Herb Cox, driving through Jacksonville from Pittsburgh, had a rude greeting waiting for him when he got off Interstate 95 yesterday on his way to South Florida for a week of golfing: the highest gas prices he had seen in 1,000 miles.

"When I pulled off," Cox said, pumping gas at a Texaco station on Butler Boulevard, "I had no idea it was this high."

Cox paid $1.59 a gallon to fill up his Crown Victoria; he said that was 20 cents per gallon more than any other station he had seen during his trip. Similar prices will be putting a pinch on the wallets and pocketbooks of thousands of other First Coast drivers during the Easter weekend.

From Philips Highway near downtown Jacksonville to the Beaches, gas prices have shot up as much as 20 cents a gallon from just a few days ago.

The hike is one of the biggest jumps from one week to the next in Florida, said Cindy Sharpe, a spokeswoman for the AAA's Florida headquarters.

"It's happening all across the state," Sharpe said. "Gas prices are jumping up."

But Sharpe and other gas price followers said the sudden price hike has little, if anything, to do with Easter coming up tomorrow. Sharpe said it has more to do with factors outside the control of gas stations, most notably the lingering impact of a March 16 deal OPEC signed to reduce gas production.

That deal called for a cut of 1 million gasoline barrels by April 1, Sharpe said. It usually takes about a month or 45 days for a reduction to hit gas stations, and Northeast Florida is now feeling the effects.

Al Davis, owner of Al Davis Citgo Service Station on the Southside, said he's raised prices three times over the last five days, including a three-cent jump both Thursday and yesterday. Today he expects his prices to be $1. …

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