ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Labor Day weekend is coming up, typically the last big summer travel weekend. Over the last two months, gas prices have been declining, but that decline has slowed late this summer.
The statewide gas price average in Missouri is now $3.50 a gallon for regular unleaded fuel, but there are concerns prices may start heading in the wrong direction.
“Of course, some much-needed relief at the pumps for drivers who’ve been dealing with some record high prices for most of the summer,” said Nick Chabarria, the spokesperson for AAA. “But again, as we’re heading into the last summer travel season, we might start to see some of those prices creep back up a little bit.”
Crude oil prices are up which accounts for about 50% to 60% of what drivers pay at the pump.
“Not too long ago, we saw crude oil prices reach their lowest point since late January,” Chabarria said. “But there’s some news globally of oil-producing countries may start to cut back on production, oil production so that’s caused prices to come up a bit.”
This news is not what drivers want to hear.
“I drive 1,500 miles per month. So gas prices are really, really important for me,” said Dominique Gatewood, a liquor sales representative who travels daily around St. Louis County. “I’m glad that the pricing is low right now but who knows what it’ll be in two months or two weeks.”
These fluctuations may impact Labor Day travel.
“For Labor Day, AAA expects about 30% of Americans to take some sort of trip, with the vast majority, about 80% of those, going by car,” Chabarria said.
“I do have plans to go to Florida actually September 3,” said St. Louis resident Melina Flores. “Gas prices are outrageous, especially out there. Luckily, I won’t have to worry about it too much because I have a vehicle that I’m sharing with someone.”
And some may make different decisions based on the prices.
“We try to make a route to make sure that we limit the amount of mileage we put on the vehicle because obviously, it costs you more,” St. Louis resident Jim Smith said.
“Me and my girlfriend were actually thinking about going to Chicago in a couple of months so we looked at gas prices and we didn’t want to drive. So we may fly instead of drive. Who knows,” Gatewood said.