A sudden and rapid spike has taken gas prices in Carthage and Southwest Missouri to near all-time highs, with no obvious reason for the increase, according to the Auto Club.
Mike Right, vice president of the AAA-Missouri, said gas prices approaching 3.90 a gallon for the lowest price grade of gasoline in Carthage would set a new all-time high for the area.
He said the average gasoline prices in Missouri as of Thursday was $3.71.8, per gallon, well above the national average of $3.62 a gallon
“Typically, Missouri drivers enjoy some of the lowest gas prices in the country, usually in the top three to five in terms of lowest price,” Right said. “Today, Missouri ranks 29th in gas prices and that shows how unusual the situation is for 28 other states to have lower prices.”
On Tuesday, Missouri ranked 22nd on that list of states.
Right said some kind of constriction in the supply of gasoline or a “hiccup” in transportation of fuel is causing the increase, which is localized to Missouri, eastern Kansas, and possibly parts of Iowa.
At one station in Carthage, the price of the lowest-price grade of gasoline jumped from $3.499 on Wednesday morning to $3.879 Thursday morning. AAA-Missouri Vice President Mike Right said a jump in the price of gas of nearly 40 cents in one day is “outrageously unusual.”
The price of regular unleaded gas has also jumped higher than the price of diesel, which has held steady at about $3.699 in Southwest Missouri.
Right said the price of gasoline in Missouri and across the country is usually based on certain fundamentals, including the price of a barrel of oil and the wholesale price of gasoline.
But those prices have been holding steady for the past several weeks.
“There is a disconnect from the fundamentals that is highly unusual,” Right said. “The wholesale price of gas has been holding steady at between $2.80 and $2.90 a gallon for quite a while and the price of crude oil has been steady as well.”
Right said the good thing about a spike like this is it shouldn't last long, but he has no idea when prices will come back down. Nationwide, economists have been predicting that the price of gasoline would drop over the summer because of increases in production and supply of oil in the U.S.