ON YOUR SIDE: Rising gas prices are burning a hole in wallets

From college students to business owners, we’re feeling the effects at the pump.
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:06 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - While Missouri’s average gas prices remain about 20 cents below the national average, they are steadily rising.

From the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to refinery shutdowns in February because of snow, 2021 is already taking a toll.

Gas prices are rising nationally. The national average is at $2.79 per gallon, which is near what it was two years ago.

“So it costs me about $35 to fill up, and it was $23 just a month or two ago,” Ty Blue, a Springfield resident, said his car runs on diesel.

Last year gas prices dropped when few people were traveling.

Now, GasBuddy is warning drivers to prepare for $3 a gallon. This in part is due to the increased demand for gas as more people head on the roadways. The higher prices are also the lingering impacts of refinery shutdowns in Texas because of the winter weather and extreme cold in February.

Austin Sandberg, a local college student, said he’s had to make a tough choice, “Do I want to buy food or do I want to leave the house?”

He’s chosen to forgo traveling until the gas prices come back down.

Express Foods, a local specialty seafood delivery business in Springfield, has a business model dependent on being out on the roadways. Over the last year they have implemented new policies when driving to help bring down the gas cost.

Chris Perkins, the owner of Express Foods, said, “Every day of the week we’re out all over the place. Joplin, Branson, Lake of the Ozarks. It’s almost every day we’re filling up.”

Filling up three vans is costing an additional $300 a week.

Perkins said, “We have to adjust, we have to adapt.”

Express Foods adjusted routes to avoid out of the way driving. The company is steering clear of delivering during high traffic hours. This avoids cars from idling at stoplights and in traffic.

“We increased our pickups, instead of doing deliveries we do pickups,” Perkins said.

The effects are starting to trickle down, driving prices up on the food he delivers. Perkins said his prices are still comparable to local grocery stores.

“Food prices aren’t getting any cheaper. No matter where you shop. Hopefully it doesn’t last forever,” Perkins said.

Ways you can save at the gas pump:

  1. Use a gas app such as GasBuddy. These apps will show you where the lowest prices in town are. For example, in Springfield Wednesday one side of town the gas price was $2.69 per gallon. Not far down the street the gas price was $2.51 per gallon. For a 12 gallon tank, you’re saving over two dollars filling up. If you fill up four times a month, this saves you over $100 dollars a year in gas.
  2. Choose a credit card or debit card with rewards. Many cards offer cash back or rewards of purchases. Some gas stations have special cards which gives you added savings.
  3. Buy from a warehouse membership program. Sam’s Club, Costco, and Walmart sometimes have their own gas stations which give special prices to their customers.
  4. Check you are buying the right gas for your car. If your car does not require specialty gas, like premium or diesel, do not but it. Buy instead the lower grade gas, regular, which will add onto your savings.
  5. Pay cash for your gas. Some gash stations offer cheaper prices when using cash instead of a credit card. A debit card as opposed to a credit card may also give you a discount.
  6. Fill your car up before a spike. Natural disasters and severe weather often lead to a surge in gas prices.

Other tips

GasBuddy: For finding lowest price in town

AAA: Gives predictions for future gas prices and shows current trends

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