Gas prices jump leading up to Memorial Day Weekend
COLUMBIA - Gas prices leading up to Memorial Day Weekend went up in Mid Missouri by about ten cents.
According to GasBuddy.com, the cheapest gas in Columbia on Friday was $2.21 per gallon. In Jefferson City gas was averaging $2.24. Just two weeks earlier, gas was $2.15.
There was a similar trend in prices around Memorial Day Weekend last year. GasBuddy.com reports on May 27, 2016, also the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, gas averaged $2.15 in Jefferson City. Two weeks before, gas was $2.01.
GasBuddy data showed a consistent spike of about ten cents in gas prices during the weeks leading up to Memorial Day in 2015 as well.
GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Dan McTeague explained the spike in prices was most likely caused by increased demand.
"It’s really important for people to understand that, right now, it costs gasoline stations, with taxes at about 35.7 cents a gallon, and $1.60 to buy from the refiner, costing about $1.95 to buy the gasoline to begin with," McTeague said. "10 to 15 to 20 cents a gallon isn’t out of the extraordinary when it comes to a retail margin, that’s to cover the cost of monitoring credit cards, things like being able to pay for the electricity to turn on your pumps."
McTeague said he believes the jump in prices these past few weeks isn't the beginning of an upward trend, and prices will return back to normal.
"The up and down here is just the retail operating costs, and that tends to increase sometimes, other times it can decrease," McTeague said. "I think after tonight [May 26] you’ll see prices drop five or six cents a liter, in fact if you look at our live ticking averages, they’ve dropped substantially in many counties."
According to McTeague, even though prices have increased in the past couple of weeks, they are relatively low compared to past years. McTeague said consumers should not be concerned that prices will continue to increase during the summer months.