While the nation continues to see a decrease in the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, prices for fuel at some stations in Southeast Missouri continue to rise while others remain well below the national average.
Gasbuddy.com reported that a gallon of unleaded gasoline could be found for as low as $1.34 in Miner, Mo., to as high as $1.79 in Cape Girardeau. The national average for gas was $1.65 per gallon.
Economist Bruce Domazlicky said the recent increase in gas is due mostly to an increase in demand as travel by motor vehicle picks up around the holiday season. He said increases are likely to be modest due to a slowing economy and a decreased demand for oil worldwide. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced last week they are cutting production by 2.2 million barrels a day, which Domazlicky believes will cause a larger increase in gas eventually.
Today's price of crude oil was $39.92 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have decreased by about 73 percent from the record price of $147.27 on July 11.
"As long as the worldwide economy remains sluggish, gasoline prices are not expected to rise much," said Domazlicky, a professor at Southeast Missouri State University. "Given current conditions, unless there are even larger cuts in supply, prices are likely to remain below two dollars per gallon for some time yet."
The highest price for a gallon of gasoline was on July 17, when the nationwide average was $4.11 a gallon and statewide was around $3.90.
Gas had reached as low as $1.33 on the morning of Dec. 17 in Cape Girardeau, but increased by as much as 12 cents at some stations shortly after 11:30 a.m. On Monday afternoon prices in the city ranged from $1.39 to $1.54, though UKwick Stop, 1702 Broadway, was selling gas for $1.79, the highest in Missouri, according to gasbuddy.com.
The lowest price for gasoline in Jackson was reportedly nine cents per gallon more expensive. In Jackson, the cost for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline ranged between $1.48 and $1.53.
Gas reportedly could be found for $1.45 in Sikeston, Mo., and $1.47 in Scott City, Gas fluctuated between $1.40 and $1.49 in Fredericktown, Mo., $1.45 and $1.49 in Benton, Mo., and $1.45 to $1.59 in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Still, Missouri ranks near the top of the cheapest states to fill up at $1.49 per gallon. Wyoming was the cheapest overall at $1.38 while Hawaii was the most expensive at $2.47.
Missouri AAA spokesman Mike Right said his office has seen a noticeable increase in the past few days, but he believes the increase may be near its end, at least for now.
"Most retailers are getting their last batch of the higher priced fuel and that may be why you're seeing an increase in some stations in your area," Right said. "We're seeing fits and starts in the prices. The market's in a state of flux right now and you'll continue to see fluctuations that are inexplicable."
Right declined to make predictions on how high gasoline prices could go in the future. "But I will say you'll probably not see anywhere close to four dollars a gallon like we had earlier in the summer," he said.
Look for additional information later at semissourian.com or in Tuesday's edition of the Southeast Missourian.