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Why the omicron variant could cause Florida gas prices to plummet in the next couple of weeks

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
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Florida motorists could soon see deep discounts at the gas pump.

According to a release from AAA, the price of crude oil dropped by 13% on Friday over concerns that the omicron variant could impact fuel demand.

Friday's closing price for crude oil was $68.15] a barrel. That was the lowest price since Sept. 9, when the a gallon of gas in Florida cost right around $3 a gallon.

Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA, said drivers should see "significant relief" in gas prices, but the change will not be immediate.

"The recent drop in futures prices could potentially result in a discount of 20-25 cents per gallon, unless oil prices stage a quick comeback," Jenkins said in the release. "But it'd be unusual for that discount to hit the pumps overnight.

"Gas prices normally rise like a rocket and fall like a feather. So it could take a couple of weeks before prices at the pump fully reflect the downturn in the futures market."

Motorists in Florida are currently paying $3.34 a gallon. That's 2 cents less than the highest average for this year.

In the greater Tampa Bay region, the average is $3.32 a gallon.

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Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.