COLUMBIA — It's a good time to fill the gas tank.
As of noon Friday, gas prices in Missouri had fallen to $3.22 per gallon on average across the state. That's a drop of 42 cents from the high of $3.64 per gallon in late September.
In Columbia, prices at the pump were down to $3.19 per gallon at noon Friday. Prices at some stations in St. Louis and Kansas City were as low as $2.99 at the same time, according to GasBuddy.com.
Gas prices are on the decline around the United States. This week, the Midwest experienced the largest drop in price since November 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Diesel prices are also down across the country.
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said the decline in gasoline prices is an annual occurrence. The cooler weather and a decline in recreation is responsible for the drop in prices, he said.
"As the demand drops, the supply continues to build," he said. "Demand will always be less in fall than it is in the summer."
While the amount of crude oil being produced in the United States is increasing, gas prices have not been affected by the larger supply of domestic oil, DeHaan said.
Crude oil production in the United States has jumped to levels not seen since 1998, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
"Oil inventories are up," DeHaan said. "We are certainly seeing some good news in U.S. oil production."
The reason U.S. gas prices are not being affected by this increased oil production, he said, is because the country has a limited number of oil refineries. The increased supply of oil does not translate into cheaper gasoline.
For now, the price is down at the pump.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.