Missouri drivers upset about expected summer gas price increase

3 months 1 week 4 days ago Wednesday, April 11 2018 Apr 11, 2018 Wednesday, April 11, 2018 3:21:00 PM CDT April 11, 2018 in News
By: Hailey Jennings, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - With temperatures rising, so will gas prices in mid-Missouri.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated that gas prices this summer will rise 14% compared to last summer. That would make gas an average of $2.74 per gallon.

This is a huge jump compared to what mid-Missourians pay in the $2.30's.  

Columbia driver Tamara Hutchen said the price jump will definitely hurt people's pockets.

"I think it's quite ridiculous, because I don't understand how they expect people to survive in Missouri, you can't even afford to go to work if somebody only makes $7.50 to $8.00 an hour that's half of what they make an hour for a gallon of gas," Hutchen said.

J. Isaac Miller is an associate professor of economics at MU, and said the rise could be from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries).

"World events.. we know that we're moving in a certain direction because of agreements between, say OPEC or other events in the world, that could help to try to predict things," he said. 

Miller said OPEC has had market power in the oil market for decades. 

"The shale oil producers in the US have come online, this is in the past four years or so, and they can produce oil very very cheaply. The Russians and the Saudis, Russians and OPEC aren't natural allies. But they have a common interest which is to keep market power jointly to keep prices high," he said. 

Miller said these prices are measured using multiple sources, including forecast models and the price of oil. 

"The price of oil is difficult to forecast, that is for sure, but typically they look at things like seasonalities," Miller said.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) considers April through September summer driving season. As Americans typically go on vacation, they drive more, ramping up demand.

Miller said this isn't uncommon for prices to go up during the summer. 

"We know that basically in the summer people like to go on vacation, they like to drive and they are going to use up energy and gasoline in particular to do that," he said. 

One traveler is worried his summer plans might be delayed. 

"I do a lot of traveling, I plan on doing more traveling this year than I did last year so It's not going to make me feel very well," Roland Davis said, "I don't live her but my mother's here sick she's in the hospital and I've got better prices in another city than I did here," Davis said. 

Hutchen said she feels the exact same way.

"Here in Missouri, we're a town but our gas is more than say Dallas, Texas. That's a top ten metropolitan city. I don't understand why gas is so high here in Missouri and we're not even a city, especially here in Columbia."

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