By MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS
TRAVERSE CITY — That trip to the gas station just got a little more pocketbook-friendly.
Area gasoline prices fell sharply this week, averaging around $3.55 per gallon for regular, according to GasPriceWatch.com.
The recent drop was precipitated primarily by lower demand and is typical for this time of year, said Shane Pochard, communications director for Marathon Petroleum Corp., which supplies gasoline to area Speedway and Marathon stations.
"There are a lot of things that factor into the price of gas," Pochard said. "Right now the summer driving season has come to an end, the holiday season hasn't started yet. This time of year we typically see a drop in demand."
Gas prices around the area ranged from $3.48 to $3.77 on Wednesday. That's $0.19 lower than the U.S. national average.
Walter Scott, of Traverse City, took advantage of the dip to fill up his mini-van instead of merely topping off the tank.
"I noticed that the prices were falling a few days ago," said Scott, from the Speedway station at Front and Division, where on Thursday regular gas was $3.54. "I hadn't had a chance to fill up for a long time so this was a good opportunity."
Scott, a graduate student, said it usually costs at least $50 to fill up the van. But this week he got away with $45, for a welcome savings.
"My wife works but we're still a one-income family," he said. "So we definitely watch the expenses closely."