Energy Economy

Gas Price Hits $5.99 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. -- Highest in Nation

The average for a gallon of regular gasoline nationwide is $1.83. For the most part, though, the most expensive gasoline is sold in California, where prices in parts of the state are well over $3.

Oddly, prices are over three times the national average at a Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Shell station at $5.99, according to GasBuddy. A few miles away, at a Suncoast Energy station in Orlando, the price for a gallon of regular is $5.95. While the numbers seem oddly high, both are near expressways entering Orlando, where drivers are likely to be forced to fill up.

The two locations in Florida are an anomaly. Most of the stations with the highest gas prices in the United States are in and around the large cities in California, which has the highest average price among all states. As a matter of fact, of the 30 stations with the most expensive gas, 26 are in California. These cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, Studio City, San Bruno, Santa Monica and Glendale.

That national average will go lower, probably much lower. Crude oil prices have dropped to $30. A year ago, the price was nearly $65 a barrel. One main reason for the drop in gasoline prices is the sea of available oil, due in part to a flood from Saudi Arabia, and perhaps to falling demand as the global economy slows. Despite the loud protests of other OPEC members, the kingdom said it will keep pumping.
Oil inventory is not the only factor. Proximity to refineries is also an issue. The average gas price in Louisiana is $1.64. In Oklahoma it is $1.53 and in Texas $1.61. All are near the huge refineries south of Houston and on the Gulf of Mexico, which is dotted by deepwater oil drilling platforms.

Gasoline taxes by state are another factor. The average nationwide is $0.48 per gallon. In Oklahoma it is $0.35. But in Florida the number is $0.58, more evidence that parts of the state are in the midst of a price war.

California has the fifth highest gas tax in the United States at $0.59 a gallon, which is likely the reason that gas prices are so high across the state. Residents face gas prices at the high end of the national average, if only for that reason.