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Columbia Missourian

Finally — a little relief at the pumps in Columbia

By Wangui Maina
May 6, 2011 | 6:11 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The retail price of gasoline in Columbia declined on Thursday, and one analyst said further declines are likely.

A 10-cent drop Friday in local gas prices to $3.799 per gallon came one day after the price of crude oil fell nearly 9 percent to below $100 a barrel.

"We could see them go down slightly further," Jason Toews, co-founder of gasbuddy.com, said of retail gas prices.

The drop in price of crude was the reason for the “slight relief” in prices, Toews said.

“The relief depends on how long the price of crude stays down,” Mike Right, a spokesman for AAA of Missouri, said Friday.

The $3.899 price per gallon in Columbia on Thursday was 17 cents shy of the all-time high in the city of $4.06 per gallon in July 2008.

In Missouri, gas prices averaged $3.85 per gallon Friday morning, the AAA for Missouri reported, up 10 cents compared to a week ago.

Prices could still bounce back up due to increased demand, especially during the Memorial Day weekend, Toews said.

Demand for fuel has been down compared to last year, Right said. “It shows people are cutting back.”

On Friday morning, a gallon of regular gas nationwide averaged $3.98 — up 27 cents from a month ago, according to AAA.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects the retail price of regular gas this summer driving season — between April 1 and September 10 — could average $3.86 per gallon, and is likely to peak at about $3.91, compared to $2.76 per gallon a year ago.