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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gas prices hit 28-month high, Missouri Lowest in Nation, $ 1.20 higher than two years ago

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Gas prices hit 28-month high but Mo. is cheapest
02.16.2011www.connectmidmissouri.co
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Prices at the gas pump have reached a 28-month high, even though oil and gas supplies continue to grow and demand for gas is weak.
While you might dread handing over cash at the pump, you might be happy to learn that Missouri has the cheapest gas in the country.
The average price of a gallon of gas in the Show-Me state is $2.94.
The national average for regular gasoline is now $3.13 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.
That's about $1.20 higher than two years ago.
Just eight states have average prices less than $3 a gallon, Misssouri, the lowest.
Hawaii has the highest average of $3.746 a gallon.
Tom Kloza, OPIS chief oil analyst, predicts gas prices will range from $3.50 to $3.75 a gallon this spring and then drift lower, to between $3 and $3.40 a gallon.
The Charlotte Observer reported the reason for the increase is being blamed on a number of factors.
The current spike in prices is being attributed by many analysts to the recent unrest in Egypt.
While that country is not a major oil producer, commodities traders worried that political upheaval could spread across the Mideast and interrupt shipments of crude oil.
Kloza called the recent conditions "a perfect storm."
“Frigid winter temperatures increased the demand for oil, in addition to increased demand from China and the revolution in Egypt,” Kloza said.
But Kloza saw a silver lining to the rising gas prices.
"I do believe that this year is front-end loaded," Kloza said. "I think that perhaps the first third of the year sees higher retail prices for gasoline and diesel, than the middle or final thirds."
MSNBC reported Mastercard SpendingPulse said in its weekly survey, gasoline consumption across the country fell 3 percent last week compared to the week before and suggested that higher prices may be discouraging driving and trips to the gas station.
Average gas prices have climbed steadily from about $2.80 a gallon in November.
In January Executive Director of MPCA Ron Leone told KRCG gas stations and convenience stores were not to blame for the increases.
He said there's actually a positive side to the price hike.
"The increase at the pump is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is prices are going up because demand is going up, and the economy is recovering,” Leone said. “The bad news is, if it goes too high it tends to dampen the recovery we're seeing here in the U.S."
Not only are gas prices on the rise, so are groceries.
The New York Times reported there are four main factors driving prices higher: weather, higher demand, smaller yields and crops diverted to biofuels. Volatile weather patterns often attributed to climate change are wreaking havoc with some harvests. Heavy rains in Australia damaged wheat to the extent that much of its usually high-quality crop has been downgraded to feed, experts noted.
KPAX reported the price of lettuce jumped 10 cents to tie its highest price in 13 months. The cost in February is $1.59, marking a 25% hike in price since last February.
KPAX said Bananas have also hit their most expensive price in a year. They're now averaging 64 cents a pound which is up two cents from January. Cheese, eggs and diapers are also costing more this month.
Crude oil prices have also been climbing.

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