COLUMBIA — The 20-cent jump in gas prices last week put Columbia closest to its July 15, 2008, all-time high of $4.06 per gallon.
"It is possible the prices could rise to $4," said Mike Right, spokesman for AAA of Missouri. "It depends on the price of crude oil."
The rising price of crude oil, which is about $107 per barrel, is the reason behind the increased gas prices, Right said.
Gas prices in the city averaged $3.69 per gallon on Sunday evening, according to Columbia's AAA daily report. The average price remained the same as of Monday evening.
On Tuesday evening, gas prices in Columbia rose to $3.79 before coming down to $3.67 on Wednesday morning, according to the site.
In Missouri, gas prices averaged $3.68 per gallon on Sunday evening, the AAA daily report for Missouri stated. The average remained the same as of Monday evening.
Local residents are feeling the impact and already rethinking their driving and spending habits.
Jeanne Kelley said she is looking at canceling her summer vacation plans to drive to Minnesota to visit with family because of the cost.
"It is possible we will cancel our trip, we are trying to save but it is getting harder," Kelley said. "I already have to drive three extra miles to work due to construction work on the road, with the recent jump in gas prices it is getting hard."
MU graduate student Stephen Christ said if the prices continue rising as they did last week, it would limit his ability to drive around and visit family out of the Columbia area.
Christ said he and his wife have had to limit their entertainment because of the rising prices and are staying home more.
"We have had to change some of our habits, especially driving for entertainment; we are now staying home more," he said
Dean Crader, a research analyst with the Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center at MU, said rising gas prices reduce the amount of money people spend and have an impact on the cost of producing goods for local business, which could affect prices.
"People have to make different choices on how they spend and save," Crader said. "It is an additional cost for businesses, especially those in transport."
Nationwide, a gallon of regular gas averaged $3.82 on Sunday evening, which is up $0.06 in the past week and $0.28 in the past month, according to the AAA website. It was 3.83 as of Monday evening.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects the retail price of regular gas this summer driving season – between April 1 and Sept. 20 — could average $3.86 a gallon, and is likely to peak at about $3.91, compared to $2.76 per gallon a year ago.