By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Gas prices statewide have dropped an average of more than 30 cents in the past month, and experts expect them to hold steady or possibly drop even further leading up to Thanksgiving.
“Usually during a traveling period there is a high demand, so it’s kind of unusual to see prices around Thanksgiving down,” said Nancy Cain, the public relations director for AAA Michigan. “We do anticipate at least short term that this trend will continue. Even on Thanksgiving Day you might see prices a bit less than what they are now.”
The average price of regular gas in Michigan was $2.482 per gallon on Monday, according to AAA’s website. On the same date last year it was $2.634, a nearly 6 percent drop.
The national average sits at $2.624.
AAA estimates 1.7 million travelers in Michigan this Thanksgiving week and 54 million nationally, the majority by car. That’s up 5 percent from last year.
Michigan generally has lower gas prices than most other states, Cain said. A state’s tax on gasoline plays the biggest role in determining the final price.
The barrel price of crude oil is the lowest in over a year and there is plenty of supply to meet current demand — two major factors for the drop at the pump, Cain said.
Crude oil is refined to produce gasoline.
Counties in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula face higher prices on-average compared to the rest of the state due to transportation costs and less competition, Cain said.
“You get to some of the more populated areas and there’s more gas stations that often lower the price to get more people to come in,” she said.
For instance, prices in Kent County are among the lowest in the state at $2.337. In the U.P.’s Chippewa County, the $2.733 per gallon price Tuesday was well above the state average.
“If you’re the only gas station in a 50-mile radius, you’re not really competing with anyone.”
You can find the average gas prices in your area here: https://gasprices.aaa.com/?state=MI#state-metro