Columbia sees summer's largest gas price decrease over shortest time

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | 6:39 p.m. CDT; updated 11:33 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 10, 2011

COLUMBIA — Drivers take note: Columbia gas prices have decreased by 8 cents over the past five days — the largest decrease in the shortest period of time this summer.

Gas prices have decreased from $3.51 per gallon on Aug. 5 to $3.43 per gallon Tuesday morning, said Mike Right, spokesman for AAA in Missouri. A month ago prices were $3.56 per gallon but were only 2 cents lower last week, according to Columbia’s AAA daily report.


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"What we're experiencing now is the largest drop in such a short period of time," Right said.

However, this is not the cheapest gas has been in Columbia this summer — prices dipped as low as $3.27 in July, Right said. 

“There’s been a significant reduction in crude oil cost,” Right said. “Today, crude oil is selling for $81.31 a barrel. That same barrel on the first of August was almost $95.”

The Kansas City Star reported that the dropping prices can be attributed to last week's plunge in the stock market as well as the end of the summer when people travel less frequently.

This summer's fluctuating gas prices left some people questioning whether to cancel their vacation plans, but for Columbia residents Danny Bell and Samantha Gibson, their summer plans weren't affected.

"I wouldn't say it changes anything," Bell said.

Seeing the lower prices from the road, however, did make Bell and Gibson pull into a Break Time on Providence Road.

The state as a whole is experiencing this price drop, Right said. The national average is $3.65 per gallon, down from $3.70 last week, according to the national AAA report.

Just a little less than 130 miles east, St. Louis drivers have seen a 24-cent decrease since Aug. 5, a much more significant drop.

Traci O’Connor drove from St. Louis to Columbia this morning, and filled up in St. Louis because of the drastic decrease in gas prices, noting that she was only filling her car in Columbia because her tank was close to empty.

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Gary Straub August 10, 2011 | 10:01 a.m.

Is this a press release for the petroleum institute? What should be discussed is why several times this summer the prices increased 15 cents or more at one time, while dropping by a penny or two when oil prices dropped. How about a story comparing gas pries to oil prices for the last couple of years. That should be of much more interest to your readers.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 10, 2011 | 10:40 a.m.

Here's a chart up to the end of 2009:

You see gasoline prices are proportional to oil prices, and have been for many years.

No one is getting gouged (there's no such thing as gouging in a free market, BTW). I think the oil companies do an excellent job (perhaps too excellent) at bringing us abundant fuel at a fair price. For all it can do for us, gasoline would be a bargain at $20/gallon. At that price, we'd simply be a lot more careful about how we used it.


(Report Comment)
Corey Parks August 10, 2011 | 2:03 p.m.

Does the Federal Govt get paid for each gallon purchased or a percentage of what it costs for that gallon?

And why do people that complain about the cost of a gallon of fuel blindly toss money on the counter for a 3 dollars cup of coffee?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 10, 2011 | 2:25 p.m.

Corey Parks wrote:

"Does the Federal Govt get paid for each gallon purchased or a percentage of what it costs for that gallon?"

The federal tax on gasoline sold is 18 cents/gallon, I believe. If oil is produced on federal lands, there are leasing fees and excise taxes paid on production.


(Report Comment)

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