Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

December 18, 2013

Gas dips below $3.10

TRAVERSE CITY — Halle Meyers pulled into the Speedway on Division Street next to Best Buy because she couldn’t resist filling up her Ford F-150 with gas prices just above $3.

“Especially with a big truck, it’s nice to fill up without completely emptying your bank account,” Meyers said Monday.

Prices for regular unleaded dipped as low as $3.05 in the Traverse City area Tuesday.

Gasoline prices dipped nine cents per gallon across the state in the last week, said an analyst at gasbuddy.com -- a website that monitors gas prices. Nationally, gas prices dropped only 3 cents in the last week.

“In Michigan I think you’re accustomed to seeing higher highs and lower lows,” said Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst at gasbuddy.com.

This week a high gasoline supply coupled with decreased demand resulted in the low prices, Laskoski said. Gasoline consumption declined nationwide for the fifth week in a row.

Flint’s prices are the lowest in the state at $2.81 per gallon, Laskoski said.

Refineries in the Midwest have been especially productive, operating at around 97.9 percent capacity compared to 92.6 percent nationwide.

“You’re already exceeding a very healthy number for the nation,” said Laskoski. “At the same time the gasoline increase in inventory reported last week was the highest week to week increase we’ve seen in this entire year.”

Experts predict that gas prices could continue to drop nominally through January, possibly increasing a bit around the holidays.

“We expect this will continue the rest of the month and into January,” said Nancy Cain, a spokesperson for AAA Michigan. “Sometimes with Christmas, right before a major driving holiday, prices go up a little bit but it would come back down.”

Crude oil prices are down worldwide as well and contribute to low gasoline prices, Cain said.

Despite the significant drop, gas is still more expensive than Bob Bryan, the owner of the Traverse City-based Bayz Construction, would like.

“If it got back to a buck fifty, that’s what I’d consider a good price. They got us used to $4, so when it hits $3 we’re like, ‘oh yeah,’” Bryan said.

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