St. Louis could be characterized as a city that reveals something yet to come. The area was a major Native American site in prehistoric times, evidence of which can still be viewed in its outlining area of Cahokia. During the early expansion of the U.S., it became a gateway for those moving to the West and a stop on wagon trails.
In the early 20th century, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the U.S. Currently, it is the 52nd largest city, but its metropolitan area is ranked as the 16th largest, according to the July 2007 U.S. Census estimate, with more than 2,800,000 people.
St. Louis is widely known for its arch, a physical representation of the city’s important location as an early division between the American East and West. Its location still serves as an important crossroads, as the area is serviced by four interstate highways and six major railroads. Three major rivers, the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois, allow for 14 active ports and more than 100 docks. St. Louis is the second largest inland port in the U.S. and handles 32 million tons of goods and materials annually, including petroleum.
The economy was once fueled by manufacturing, but has now turned to medicine, biotechnology and other sciences. According to the city’s Regional Chamber and Growth Association, the St. Louis area has the headquarters of 21 Fortune 1000 companies, nine of which are in the Fortune 500.
The city has its problems, however, indicated by St. Louis’ ranking as the most dangerous city in America in 2006. According to the list by Lawrence, Kan.-based Morgan Quitno Press, St. Louis fell to the second most dangerous city in America in 2007.
St. Louis is part of the Clean Cities Coalition, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to expand the commercial use of vehicles that operate with fuels other than petroleum-based gasoline and diesel. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently notified Missouri that it will designate the city of St. Louis and some of its counties as nonattainment for the 24-hour fine particle National Air Quality Standard.
States with nonattainment designations are required by the Clean Air Act to enforce strategies to reduce pollution, which could include stricter restrictions on industrial facilities and air permits. The St. Louis metropolitan area now requires reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol.
Even though Missouri has no refineries, major crude oil pipelines pass through it to centers in the Midwest. Additionally, petroleum products are moved by barge on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. There are five ethanol plants in the state, according to the Energy Information Administration, and has 10,826 alternative-fueled vehicles in use.
The EIA has the state’s petroleum consumption at 141,051 thousand barrels, which is commensurate with its population. Missouri’s consumption of gasoline is 77,084 thousand barrels.
There are 4,094 gasoline stations in the state, according to the 2008 NPN Station Count. EIA information shows Missouri has 10,826 alternative fueled vehicles in use. The state’s average price per gallon of regular gasoline for this year is $3.457, not including tax.