The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that gas prices in the St. Louis area are 20 cents higher per gallon than they were this time last year. A gallon of regular unleaded is running more than $3.60 at most stations on the Missouri side of the Mississippi -- up about 50 cents in the last month. Prices are closer to $3.90 in the metro-east.
Several reasons are being given for the jump at the pump, including maintenance at several refineries and early switch over to summer blends. But the paper reports that commodities speculators may be the real force behind the increase, since they now dominate the oil market.
You most likely noticed over the weekend gas prices went up 26.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.73/gallon yesterday putting our prices above the national average of $3.68 a gallon.
This is according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 983 gas outlets in St. Louis. This compares with the national average that has increased 11.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.68/gallon.
Generally, St. Louis is lower than the national average. Just a week ago, locally we were paying $3.47 per gallon. A month ago, the price was $3.05. Analysts say seasonal maintenance at refineries, this time of year, can crimp supplies and drive up prices.