Missouri Drivers Paying Less for Gas

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COLUMBIA - At $2.865 per unleaded gallon, Missouri's state average gasoline prices are the lowest in the country.

In Columbia, the average price per gallon is $2.800. That's down from $3.444 per gallon in May.

The price of oil largely drives the price drivers pay at the pump.  University of Missouri economics professor Joe Haslag studies big picture market trends.

"Oil prices have been coming down for nine months," Haslag said.

That means gasoline distributors can buy refined oil, the kind used in gasoline, for less. But what makes Missouri prices so low?

"We have very low gasoline taxes," Haslag said. "If there was something other than the gasoline tax driving this, the difference between the price in Kansas and Missouri would converge pretty quickly just because of basic supply and demand forces."

Kansas ranks number four on the list for lowest prices at $2.937 per gallon.

With prices dropping and staying low, drivers are feeling the impact.

"Well I drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle so I'm pretty happy that it's down," said Columbia driver Katie Strutz. "I have to drive from Ashland to Columbia every day for work."

"It's nice to see the prices are going down," said Warsaw resident Jay Curry. Curry said gas prices near Truman Lake are consistently about two pennies more than Columbia.

"It's definitely more encouraging because every little bit helps," said Columbia driver Eli Marchbanks.

With the holiday travel season approaching Haslag anticipates the prices will stay low.

"There's really no strong reason that the price is going to go up."

Gas prices around Columbia on Friday were $2.79 per gallon.