JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gas prices in our area jumped to about 14 cents more per gallon in the last week and according to a AAA spokesperson, prices will continue to go up.
Much of that spike is being blamed on a yearly blending switch. According to AAA spokesman Bill Bishop many refineries shut down this time of year to switch from a winter blend to a summer blend of gas.
"The refineries just can't flip a switch and change it they actually have to shut down parts of their plant, retool and reset it up for a different way," said Bishop.
The federal government mandates this switch because the summer blend has up to 10 percent ethanol, which is more environmentally friendly.
Although not all refineries shut down at the same time, less production usually means higher prices.
One of the highest prices we came across in Duval County was at a RaceTrac on University Boulevard. The regular unleaded is at $3.65 per gallon, that's 13 cents above the national average.
The BP across the street also had the same price.
Pauline Hawley feels the pain at the pump almost daily, she owns a local landscaping business.
"It adds up, it kind of bites into my income," said Hawley.
Hawley tells Action News her customers are the ones who are ultimately affected.
"I've had to raise my prices so that's not great for my customers," said Hawley.
According to Bishop the fluctuation in prices also depends on the county.
"If you go from Duval into Clay the taxes are much different. The Duval County taxes on gasoline are much higher than Clay," said Bishop.
For example, Bishop says, Middleburg has one of the lowest prices in northeast Florida.
However, the switch to a summer blend is not the only factor affecting prices locally. A rise in crude oil prices is also to blame.
"It's going to go up, it's going to go up more," said Bishop.
Commuters, like Hawley, are being forced to make adjustments to their routine.
"I'm taking less trips out and trying to stay in one area," said Hawley.
According to Bishop, as the summer months near, more people will be traveling which will increase demand in gas and with it the prices.Check out where the lowest gas prices are in your area.