WEST MICHIGAN — Michigan has the third lowest gas prices in the country, according to AAA.
Because of the low prices at pump, AAA expects more Michiganders to travel for the holiday weekend by vehicle. More specifically, AAA estimates 1.5 million Michigan citizens will travel more than 50 miles from home. Also, the number of vehicles on the highway this holiday weekend will reach levels we haven’t seen since 2007.
Gas prices around West Michigan are at or below $2 a gallon. The price at the pump in Kalamazoo was $1.60 for much of Wednesday.
“It’s pretty cheap. [It] hasn’t been this cheap in forever,” motorist Shanice Bowden said.
Brian Black is traveling from the Windy City to the Motor City to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Thanks to the current price at the pump, he thinks he may save a hundred dollars on this trip.
“[It] puts more food on the table, absolutely,” Black said. “I think it’s at least a $1.20 cheaper from Chicago to here.”
While many drivers remember when this was the norm, Western Michigan student Cole Dillon said he started driving when gas was $4 a gallon.
“I go home a lot to work and everything back in Jackson. So it’s really nice when everything is this cheap, to be able to actually do that. And my wallet doesn’t take a huge cut,” Dillon said.
Petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan with Gasbuddy.com said the drop in price for a gallon of gas can be attributed to the drop in crude oil prices over the last two weeks.
“As recently as October, the price of crude oil was trading near $50 a barrel. And as of late last week, it had dropped down to $39 a barrel,” DeHaan explained.
But due, in part, to Turkey downing a Russian warplane Tuesday, DeHaan said the geopolitical tension caused the wholesale price on crude oil to go back up. But gas stations haven’t passed it on to customers just yet.
DeHaan said no gas station wants to be the first to raise its price. Owners fear they’ll lose customers to competition, he reasoned. He expects gas stations to raise their prices roughly at the same time.