Inflation hurts but what can be done?

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The latter portion of May should be one of optimism and excitement, right? Local high schools are preparing for commencement exercises, (and those who aren’t graduating are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year), the weather is starting to heat up, vegetable and flower gardens are greening up. Memorial Day is nearly here, the unofficial start of the barbecue season or garage sales. The point is there certainly is a lot going on. However, the optimism level quickly drops back to a more measured sense of reality when checking inflation and its unfortunately upward trend. The high percentages of inflation are impacting a lot of different sectors of the economy, the focus here will be on driving costs.
Yes, gasoline and diesel prices are way, way up. That may cause a few to pause prior to planning a high mileage, road trip style summer vacation. Or, people will still take the trip with the understanding that, yes, it’s likely going to cost more.
Without getting into the micro- or macro-level economics of it, there are factors that really are out of everyone’s control.
Missouri drivers should probably consider themselves somewhat fortunate. While prices are high, they could be…much higher. The average price per gallon for regular gas in Missouri was $4.153 as of May 20, according to AAA Gas Prices (gasprices.aaa.com) which is a public service of the U.S.’s largest motoring and leisure travel membership organization and updates the price information daily using the Oil Price Information Service. The $4.153 per gallon cost ranks seventh lowest in the nation and is among 11 states now featuring a per gallon cost for regular gasoline of between $4.033 and $4.200.
Missouri’s regular gasoline price is about 9.5 percent lower than the U.S. average of $4.593 a gallon and 19.9 percent cheaper than nearby Illinois which is now $4.982 per gallon. The Land of Lincoln, with the seventh highest average cost in the nation, is one of nine states or territories (this is where the District of Columbia fits in) in which the price at the pump for regular gasoline per gallon is between $4.859 and $6.064.
An increased demand for fuel is part of the push for the price increase, as well as crude oil trending upward.
“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” said Andrew Gross, an AAA spokesman, in a recent statement. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.48 as of May 16, up 40 cents from April 2022 ($4.08, 8.9 percent lower) and $1.43 higher than May 2021 ($3.05, 34.4 percent lower). The average price per gallon of gas in Missouri in May 2020 was $1.90. The only holdouts still below $4 a gallon May 16 were Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma, though by May 20, all three had surpassed $4 per gallon.
The Show Me State is faring better in another fuel cost measure.
Ten U.S. states had average diesel prices above $6 per gallon as of May 20. However, Missouri is now in the enviable position of having the second lowest diesel prices in the country. The average cost of $5.176 per gallon is second to only Wisconsin ($5.111 per gallon), according to the AAA Gas Prices guide. While it’s good to see Missouri near the bottom of this list, with all of the products and freight shipped across the country, residents — in Perry County, Missouri and elsewhere — will probably continue to see increased costs somewhere for quite a while.
Thanks for reading!
Daniel Winningham is the managing editor of the Republic-Monitor. He can be reached at 573-547-4567, ext. 227 or email editor@perryvillenews.com.

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