Although average gas prices across Missouri are lower than the national average, Missouri prices per gallon have actually gone up more than the national average in the past week.
According to MissouriGasPrices.com, the national average is $2.85 a gallon, whereas in Missouri it is $2.66 per gallon. The gasoline price Web site reported that prices have gone up 6.5 cents per gallon state-wide in the past week, compared to 5.4 cents nationally.
Callaway County residents have noticed the increasing prices at the pump, especially those who have to commute to work.
Erin Cerneka lives in Fulton but works in Columbia. She said the price of gas seemed fairly steady through the summer but now, "It seems like it's creeping back up."
"It doesn't seem like there's any rhyme or reason to it," Cerneka said.
With her commute to work and her husband's, who has to drive to Jefferson City, Cerneka said the money her family spends on gasoline is "a big part" of their budget. Cerneka said rising gas prices means her family has to limit visits to see relatives that live in the St. Louis area, as it costs enough just to drive back and forth from work.
Including the change in gas prices in Missouri during the past week, prices Monday were 18.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 0.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, analysts reported. The national average has increased 6.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"I think we'll continue to see a price increase," said Kevin Phares, store manager at Phillips 66 FastLane in Fulton.
He said the filling station employees aren't told why prices increase. Corporate sets the price, and the employees price the gas accordingly, he said.
"You wake up every morning and never know what it's going to be," Phares said.
However, Phares said he hasn't heard any customers complaining yet about the recent price hikes.
"Everybody's used to it," he said.
Analysts also say that prices might be on the rise for some time to come.
"Last week we saw oil prices surpass $87 per barrel after the Federal Reserve announced a $600 billion injection into the U.S. economy, causing the U.S. dollar to lose value, thereby pressuring oil and gasoline prices higher," reported Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst, in a statement.
DeHaan stated that in addition to the federal reserves actions, a Department of Energy report indicated another drop in U.S. supplies against rising demand. DeHaan also noted that areas of the Midwest were affected by a fire at a Chicago area refinery, sending pump prices in some of those areas above $3 a gallon for the first time in 25 months.
"With oil prices breaking out of their well-established $75-$85 a barrel range, I'm quite concerned we could see prices trade in a higher range, perhaps $85-$95 a barrel for several months, signaling higher gasoline prices in the future," DeHaan added.