Three-dollar gas for Labor Day? Not yet.
Gasoline prices haven't hit the dreaded $3 a gallon rate for the upcoming Labor Day holiday yet, hovering just under an average of $2.80 a gallon in Marshall, according to a price tracker available on the Internet.
Gas prices have been dropping recently in Missouri and across the nation. The average price for a gallon of gas in the United States on Wednesday Aug. 28, was $2.80 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com a gasoline price monitoring Web site. Compare that to a week earlier when the average was $2.87.
A month earlier the average was $2.99.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) also monitors fuel prices and its Web site reports a nationwide average of $2.82, down from $3 a month ago.
The recent drop in prices comes because of a number of factors, including the fact that the summer driving season is coming to a close, therefore reducing the demand for gasoline.
Fred Rozell, who is an analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, told the USA Today on Wednesday, Aug. 30, that "We'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving."
In fact, when crude oil prices closed below $70 a barrel on Tuesday, Aug. 29, it was the first time they closed below the $70 level since May 4. The price of crude oil directly affects the consumer price of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Despite the optimism of some, others say that consumers should not necessarily count on the trend to continue. The market is extremely volatile and oil prices can spike in an instant with certain developments in the middle east or natural disasters.
Essentially, consumers and business owners have no way to reliably predict how the prices will go. What they can do is take measures and change their ways of doing things to increase their fuel economy to deal with the high prices.
Gasbuddy.com offers a list of tips to improve your fuel efficiency. Some of the ideas are the purchase of a more fuel-efficient vehicle, not driving too fast or too slow, use of public transportation or carpooling and learning which gas stations have the cheapest gas.
The use of these Internet resources can help you better plan your gas purchases. Gasbuddy.com and the AAA fuel price finder are great tools to gauge where the cheapest gas is available.
The AAA price finder displays all of the stations within a three, five or ten mile radius of many cities in Missouri.
In a search of Marshall, 10 gas stations were displayed and the prices ranged from a low of $2.69 to a high of $2.80, for an average of $2.74.
High prices not only affect individual consumers, the high prices also affect businesses. The high prices drive expenses up and in turn that affects the economy and the consumer. Fuel surcharges have become the norm in many businesses like the transportation industry, where diesel prices cut into the bottom line.
So while gas prices creep down from the $3 and diesel prices hover at $3, consumers and businesses must find new ways to cope with the reality of higher gas prices, instead of waiting for the prices to go back to the below $2 a gallon prices that were the norm a few years ago.
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