Gas prices jump in W MI just in time for spring break

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gas prices increased by as much as about 40 cents across West Michigan on Tuesday.

In West Michigan, 24 Hour News 8 found gas for as much as $2.19 at several stations.>>Inside woodtv.com: Gas prices near you

Crude oil was trading at $38.13 per barrel early Tuesday evening, according to GasBuddy.com. The average cost across Michigan for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was about $1.98 and rising. Though that was still lower than the national average of about $2.05, the statewide average was expected increase to about $2.19.

Patrick DeHaan, the senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, told 24 Hour News 8 that “a combination of a few different factors” led to the increase Tuesday.

“A lot of this stems from a drop in gasoline supply,” he said. “It sounds fishy: Oil inventories are going up, gasoline inventories are going down and thus higher gas prices. Well, a lot of it has to do with refinery maintenance that’s taking place. So as soon as we can get that refinery maintenance done, we should see some top out in prices, but that may not happen for another month or two.”

With spring break just around the corner, the timing of the increase may seem suspect. But DeHaan said prices always “spring forward in the spring and fall back in the fall, regardless of holidays.”

Overall, DeHaan expected prices this summer to be slightly better than the last two.

“It’s not impossible that prices could briefly go back over $3. There’s a lot of refinery maintenance this spring, and we all know if an issue develops that’s unexpected, it can lead to a temporary spike in prices,” he said. “But by and large, a cheaper summer than we saw last year.”==Above, DeHaan explains which states may have cheaper gas during the summer travel season.==

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