GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Maintenance and other refinery issues are the reasons gas prices have shot up in the last month and a half. Experts say we can now credit improvements in refinery problems for prices going down.

“Now it looks like the numbers are just in free fall,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said. “An improvement in refineries, a drop in oil prices all helping to precipitate a pretty substantial decline not only into Thanksgiving but could be beyond that. In fact, some of the numbers right now could support prices as some Michigan stations falling below $3 a gallon over the next few weeks.”

De Haan said competition is keeping gas prices in the Detroit area lower than we’re seeing in West Michigan. He said there are cheaper prices out there if drivers shop around. He said a station at Michigan Street and Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids is one of the cheapest in the area at $3.71.

With prices falling, De Haan’s advice is to fill your tank as you head out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, not in advance.

“You shouldn’t be in any rush to fill your tanks,” he said. “Gas prices will continue falling at basically every station across the state as we progress closer to Thanksgiving.”

If you’re heading to the Chicagoland area for the holiday, he recommends filling up in West Michigan. He said when you hit areas like Michigan City and Hammond, Indiana, you’ll start to see those higher prices. On Wednesday, Chicagoland was seeing prices from $4.20 to $4.50 per gallon.

De Haan said as long as a refinery in northwest Indiana gets back online, which he expects will be soon, we will continue to see prices fall.

“We could see gas prices falling maybe 25 even 50 to 75 cents a gallon,” he said. “There’s a long way for us to go. As long as nothing bad happens, knock on wood, we could see gas prices, like I said, $2.99 in time for Christmas.”