Steep Gas Prices to Remain through Holiday Weekend

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JEFFERSON CITY - Even if Missouri escapes tropical storm Isaac's heavy rain predicted to pelt the state this holiday weekend, relief from storm-induced high gas prices isn't likely.  According to Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association Executive Director Ron Leone, it could take at least a week to 10 days, depending on Isaac's damage, for Missourians to see a significant decrease from the $3.751/gal. state average calculated Wednesday when the storm hit the Gulf Coast oil refineries. 

Leone said at least half of the state imports fuel directly from pipelines out of the affected Gulf areas.  He affirmed even before Isaac hit the coast, gas prices already were on the rise as a result of the increasing price of crude oil.

According to Missourigasprices.com, the state average of $3.715/gal. is down only slightly from Wednesday's rate and the current national average of $3.80 but is well above the $3.35/gal. rate Missourians saw a month ago.

In Boone County, the average gas price Thursday was $3.69, down about 10 cents from what it was when prices peaked Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Mutrux Automotive Sinclair owner Ross Mutrux.  But, Mutrux and Sinclair attendants affirmed that business has been slower than usual this week.

Mutrux affirmed, "We've all been faced with such high gas prices for the last two to three years, and we just haven't had much of a break at all."

One Sinclair customer said, "When your debit card shuts off at the pump, and [your tank] isn't full, that's definitely a concern."  She added that she has found a high gas price has a "huge impact, especially with several children involved in several activities and driving around town for different practices and such in the evening."

In light of the holiday weekend, the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association has a warning for drivers anxious to fill up their tanks. Leone said,  "I'm encouraging consumers to buy fuel if they need fuel, but not to run out and 'panic buy' and fill up every one of their cars and top every tank, because that tends to make a bad situation even worse and diminishes supply when Isaac also is dimishing supply."

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