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Economy & Business

Fuel pumps offer some holiday cheer: Lowest gas prices since 2016

GasBuddy.com says as of May 4, 2008, prices in the St. Louis area average $1.67 per gallon.
futureatlas.com | Flickr

Gas prices have been falling from coast to coast this month, but none are as low as in Missouri. AAA reports the average cost per gallon of regular fuel in the Show-Me State is $1.89, compared to $2.20 a year ago.

Missouri also has one of the lowest state gas tax rates in the country. According to the American Petroleum Institute. Only Alaska has a lower state gas tax than Missouri’s 17.35 cents per gallon. When combined with the recent drop in crude oil prices, Missouri consumers are expected to cruise through the end of the year on the cheapest gas around.

AAA’s vice president for public affairs, Mike Right, said the cause of the recent price drop can be traced back to the source. “The main reason is there has been a precipitous decrease in the cost of crude oil. Crude oil is now selling for less than $45 a barrel. That same barrel, a month or two ago, was selling for $70 a barrel.”

Right said the nationwide average is currently $2.32 per gallon compared to the same period last year at $2.44 per gallon. These are the the cheapest pump prices recorded during the month of December since 2016.

It’s welcome news for holiday travelers.

“AAA expects 102 million Americans to drive to their holiday destination this year, which is a 4 percent increase year-over-year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “No doubt cheaper gas prices are fueling their decision to hit the road.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, recently announced plans to reduce output next year to shore up the supply glut and boost prices. And if the economics of supply and demand theory work, drivers can expect to see higher prices at the local pump, too.

AAA’s website and app provide the daily updates to gas prices by state, city and county along with historical data.

Follow Melody on Twitter @melodybird

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