GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, gas prices in West Michigan are averaging a dollar less than last year.
“A lot has changed (since last year), especially with the overall pace of the U.S. economy,” Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told News 8 on Monday.
This year, the demand for gasoline is down compared to 2022. De Haan believes this is due to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and that Russia has continued to produce oil and sent it to countries like China and India.
Despite the fact that prices are lower than last year the price map for the state of Michigan shows that there is a large range of prices across the state. De Haan said this is common.
“You’re seeing a lot of volatility in the price of oil which segways into the wholesale price of gasoline. (For) some stations simply, it’s a timing adjustment. There’s been a 60-cent-a-gallon difference here between wholesale prices over the last few weeks. So, some stations are buying it lower than others…” De Haan said.
As we go into the busy holiday weekend, De Haan said we could see prices increase, “especially with these debt discussions that are going on in Washington D.C.”
“If there is a deal, that could push the price of oil up and that could bring a price hike just in time for Memorial Day. If there’s no deal before Memorial Day, we could see prices inching down until the holidays,” De Haan said.
No matter what happens in D.C., if you’re going north for the holiday weekend, De Haan said you should expect to pay more for gasoline due to less competition. At the same time, if you head south you should see cheaper prices at the pump.
“With the exception of northwest Indiana where they are required to use that more expensive summer blend that Chicago uses. So, prices in northwest Indiana (are) a bit higher,” he said.
For those looking for relief at the pump, De Haan said that historically prices peak in May unless impacted by hurricanes.
“For most of the summer, we could see prices bouncing around the low to mid $3 range. If there are hurricanes or unexpected refinery disruptions, it’s not impossible that we could temporarily hit that $4 mark,” he said.