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Price at the pump hits record high in Florida, expert says relief is in sight

According to Jacksonville University professor of finance Abdel Missa, the price of gas may have peaked thanks in part to the federal reserve raising interest rates.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The price at the pump has been painful, and especially painful Friday.

According to AAA, the average price of gas in Florida Friday hit an all time high at $4.46 per gallon. That's three cents higher than the national average. 

Jacksonville University professor of finance Abdel Missa said the price of gas may have peaked, though. He said it's thanks in part to the federal reserve raising interest rates to fight inflation.

"This is a worst case scenario because you have high inflation numbers and the problem is the inflation is with essentials, so it’s with food, it’s with gas and it’s shelter and these are to me like basic things that everybody needs," Missa said.

He said raising interest rates is a delicate balance. If they're raised too fast, it could cause a recession. That uncertainty caused a drop in stocks Thursday into Friday that Missa said he hasn't seen since the Great Recession.

“Right now, the market is not fully pricing a recession. Maybe 50, 50, but the reality is it’s very hard to predict,” he said.

When it comes to inflation impacting food and other items, Missa said relief won't come quite as soon. He said inflation won't level out until most likely the end of this year. 

"This is my opinion, but the fed was so behind, unfortunately [raising interest rates]. We had such fiscal stimulators and monetary stimulators and with the COVID demand, the pent up demand. It was a perfect storm to push prices up," he said.

That news will cause Jacksonville resident Debra Harris and others to have to continue to pinch pennies.

"We're trying to make stuff stretch and last," Harris said.

Her grocery bill has doubled over the past couple of months, Harris said.

“I don't go to the grocery store as frequently. In fact, the last time I did major grocery shopping was right before Easter, and that was, I'll tell you, I remember that vividly," she said.

“I make sure I check my air pressure in my tires more regularly to get better gas mileage, don't eat out as much as we used to. The price is, even for eating out, and I realize it's not the restaurants fault. They're having to pay the same ridiculous prices that we do for for beef and chicken, but it has gotten ridiculous. It's easier to eat at home. It's not cheaper, hardly, but it's still easier to eat home because then you'll have to go out and use gas," Harris said.

She said she anticipates having to cut more costs.

"With summer approaching, and my granddaughter out of school, I'm her caregiver during the day while her mother and father work. I don't see us doing a lot of stuff like we're accustomed to doing. Just maybe little day trips, little community pools, picnics at the parks, simply because everything is too expensive. I mean, it's just crazy," Harris said.