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By PAT FAHERTY
Special to the Citizen
The price sign at Chiefland's old $AV-A-TON gas station is somewhere between historic and wistful thinking.
Even tripled, the posted price of 99.9 cents a gallon at the long closed location on U.S. 19 would be a bargain.
Though local pump prices have been trending down, drivers can still expect to pay the highest July 4 gasoline prices since 2008.
But despite the cost, AAA is predicting the busiest car travel summer holiday in seven years.
"The price of oil slipped last week, so motorists should begin to see some relief at the pump," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "However, the discount may only be a nickel, keeping the average price on Independence Day at its highest level since 2008.
Prices peaked early that summer – more than $4 a gallon – then started to slide in September and, as the year closed, drivers could find regular for less than $2.
Motorists are likely to pay about 20 cents more for gasoline than they did during last year's Independence Day holiday weekend," Jenkins said. "Still, current prices are about 10 cents cheaper than they were earlier this year. So AAA doesn't believe gas prices will keep people from traveling for the holiday."
The week before the holiday and the week after have the highest demand for gasoline, according GasBuddy.com. The website, which tracks about 10 filling stations in Chiefland and Bronson showed an average Monday pump price of $3.58. The average price in Florida is $3.61.
“Barring something extraordinary in the Mideast or a major storm, we could see prices flatten," explained Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, "We probably will not see a significant decrease until after Labor Day."
Laskoski said the real uncertainly still rests in Iraq. Even through it is not a critical supplier to the United States, it is second to Saudi Arabia in exporting oil.
On the plus side, the U.S. is benefitting from increased domestic production, which he credits with helping stabilize pump prices.