The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.47 a gallon. That is down nearly 47 cents a gallon from the record high just this past April. Locally you can find gas 10 to nearly 20 cents cheaper and across Kirksville gas seems to be pretty consistent around $3.35 a gallon. According to www.gasbuddy.com and some of our Facebook viewers, gas was going for $3.31 in Macon, $3.49 in Ottumwa, and $3.45 in Oskaloosa.
Now part of the reason gas has been going down over the past few weeks is in fact lower demand and increase in production. Along with that, previous refineries down for maintenance are now back up and running across the Midwest. The upcoming presidential election could also keep prices in check over the next couple of months.
Now on Thursday crude oil fell four percent to $78.20 a barrel. That is down nearly 20 percent just from this January. And with no natural disasters happening over the summer, prices could fall to $3.00 a gallon by this fall.
Many of you may be wondering why portions of the heartland have some of the cheapest gas in the country. This in part comes from the low gas tax that Iowa and Missouri have. Across Missouri, the state gas tax on gasoline is 17 cents a gallon with an additional 3 cent tax for agriculture inspections and transportation. In Iowa the state gas tax is 21 cents a gallon with an additional state tax of one cent.
In other portions of the country, taxes are much higher. Take California for example where the tax on gasoline is nearly 50 cents a gallon. North Carolina also has some of the most expensive gas with taxes reaching almost 36 cents a gallon. The cheapest is Alaska with only an 8 cent tax?|.
So with the Heartlands low gas tax, increase in production, and lower demand there is a pretty good chance we could see lower prices here throughout the summer.