Today’s #AskJAXTDY question comes from reader Ray B.
And it is probably one that thousands of local drivers have asked as they seek the best price on a gallon of unleaded for their steel steed:
“For example, yesterday I started in Oakleaf, 32222, and gas is $3.71 at WaWa and $3.81 at Gate. I drive across the river to the Southside, 32216, and WaWa is $3.51 and Gate $3.41,” he ponders.
The question comes as Florida gas prices increased last week, jumping 11 cents per gallon to a 2023 statewide high of $3.85 per gallon last week, according to AAA. Pump prices have begun moving lower again since then. Nassau County’s average was $3.86 per gallon as of Sunday, while Duval and St. Johns counties sat at $3.80 per gallon. Clay County’s average as of Sunday was $3.82 per gallon.
But, as Ray B. wonders, why is there such variation within the city of Jacksonville?
A. The answer to Ray B.’s question comes from Mark Jenkins, who prepares a weekly Florida gas price report for AAA, The Auto Club Group.
Jenkins says there are many variables that play into gas prices, which are set by each station’s operator.
For example, if the cost of living and operating a business is more expensive in one area than another, chances are their gas prices will be more expensive as well. But that isn’t the full story.
“Some of it also has to do with when a gas station buys their fuel,” Jenkins says. “If one gas station purchases their fuel when prices are newly adjusted lower, they might be quicker to implement the lower prices than a gas station that still has the same load of fuel that they purchased at a higher cost.”
Another factor is proximity to other gas stations, he says, so having multiple stations in your neighborhood could be a good thing as competition tends to drive pricing. If a gas station is alone in the middle of nowhere, drivers don’t have other options and can expect to pay a bit more.
Finally, proximity to other landmarks plays a role too.
Gas stations near airports, attractions and interstate on/off ramps are known to have above-average prices, Jenkins says, because they know the demand is there.