HANNIBAL | The American Automobile Association reports the average price for gas in Missouri is at its lowest rate since 2004, and the impact of the prices can be felt in multiple ways in the Hannibal area.
Despite a 16-cent week-over-week increase in pump prices across the Show-Me State, the AAA Gas Prices average for Missouri was $1.84 per gallon. Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, said the lower gas prices can positively affect a variety of aspects for Hannibal — including tourism and more opportunities for visitors to Hannibal and local residents alike to get out following stay-at-home orders and the temporary closure or change in procedures for many area businesses.
“I believe the lower gas prices in the area will be helpful for our tourism efforts. Most travel analysts are predicting some areas of opportunity for the travel industry in Q3 and Q4 of 2020,” Mehaffy said. “On the positive side, recent Shelter in Place orders have created significant pent-up demand. It would be hard to argue that a majority of people are not ready to get out of their homes and travel. In fact, we are seeing evidence of that in historic downtown Hannibal each day.”
Mehaffy said travel experts are predicting many Americans plan to travel when the coronavirus subsides. Because travelers are shifting away from flights altogether in the wake of the virus outbreak, regional travel such as visits to Hannibal and destinations in the surrounding area are options allowing travelers to maintain social distancing guidelines while visiting a new destination.
Across the state, AAA predicts the gas prices will remain at a low rate during the summer — the AAA Gas Prices figures show Missouri's average gas prices are 65 cents lower for this time in 2020 than it was during the previous year.
“Despite pump prices along with retail demand continuing to increase, Missouri drivers haven't seen the statewide average price this low at the beginning of June since 2004,” Nick Chabarria, AAA spokesperson, said in a release.“ AAA anticipates drivers across the country can expect lower summer pump prices this year compared to last.” For Hannibal businesses and retailers, the low gas prices will have a direct impact on what people spend — and the effects are far-reaching.
“Low gas prices will help travelers stretch their dollars and lead to more people to travel in the coming months,” Mehaffy said. “Many of our area businesses including hotels, B& B, retailers and restaurants will benefit from lower gas prices and more travelers. In turn, more revenues for the businesses will result in more revenues for area taxing jurisdictions.”