Inland, marine gas prices drop slightly

Boating industry sees gradual increase, still top activity at Lake of the Ozarks

With a rollercoaster of fuel costs since the beginning of the year, gas prices are starting to slightly decrease overall in Missouri, with marine fuel rates also following suit at Lake of the Ozarks.

Despite a small downturn in gas prices on land and on water, boat captains and vehicle drivers are still seeing varied fuel costs depending on the region of the Lake area. According to missourigasprices.com, inland motorists found the average gas price on Friday in Lake Ozark at $3.58 per gallon for regular 87 octane fuel, which also was Friday’s average for Camdenton, Osage Beach and Eldon. In Versailles, motorists saw $3.45 per gallon for regular gas at the pump at several stations and $3.64 per gallon in Laurie.

On the water, gas prices range from $3.88 per gallon at some gas docks or marinas up to $4.50 per gallon, depending on the region of the Lake. However, on average most marinas reported an average of $4.09-$4.19 per gallon of 87 octane gasoline as of Friday.

At the national level, the retail gasoline price increased one cent to $3.66 per gallon as of June 10, up eight cents from last year at this time, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s “This Week in Petroleum” June 12 report. The Midwest price increased three cents to $3.87 per gallon. However, on a positive note, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also reported in its “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” the price of regular gasoline will average $3.53 per gallon over the summer driving season (April through September). In addition, the EIA reported the annual average regular gasoline retail price is projected to decline by the end of the year and land at $3.37 per gallon in 2014.

However, despite unpredictable gas prices, the recreational boating industry is still seeing an annual economic value of $121 billion, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). The organization’s annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, which is a collection of data and analysis on the state of U.S. recreational boating, was released June 11, and it also saw retail sales of new power and sailboats increase 10.7 percent in 2012 to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry. In addition, NMMA reported it anticipates sales of new powerboats to grow five percent in 2013.

At Lake of the Ozarks, the boating industry continues to see more sales and recreational boating spending overall. Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association executive director Mike Atkinson previously reported that the Lake Area’s marine industry has seen a gradual increase in sales since 2010. In addition, boating still remains as one of the top activities at Lake of the Ozarks among visitors. According to the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s most recent conversion study, last year boating was the top activity at 36.6 percent, followed by shopping at 25.6 percent and fishing at 14.6 percent.

In addition, boaters can get a break on the fuel tax placed on gas prices. A refund for the entire 17-cent per gallon fuel tax can be obtained if following the correct procedures.

First, boaters need to file the Motor Fuel Refund Application form 4924 with the Missouri Department of Revenue. This application needs to be updated every two years and must be on file before a claim will be honored.

To apply for a refund, send in the completed form 4923 (“Motor Fuel Refund Claim”), and 4925 (“Schedule A-Marine Fuel Purchases by County”) along with all original invoices or sales slips. Submissions must apply within one year from the date of purchase, or April 15 following the year of purchase, whichever is later. To download forms, visit dor.mo.gov/tax/business/fuel/forms or call the Missouri DOR at 800-877-6881.

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