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Gas prices projected to stay low into the summer


Good news, drivers. Look out for a summer of road trips that will be cheaper than they've been for the past six years.

Right now, national gas prices average around $2.40 per gallon while Michigan gas prices average around $2.37 per gallon. And gas prices for the summer – a time when drivers take to the roads a bit more than in the winter – are projected to stay at about those same levels.

These levels are “a far cry from a year ago,” a time when Michigan’s gas prices fluctuated around a $3.73 per gallon mark, Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com said.

Gas prices this year did not go skyrocketing like they have in past years in part because the U.S. is producing more oil than it has in the past and automakers are making cars lighter and more efficient. At the same time, China’s “red-hot economy” is producing less demand, thereby causing a pile-up of oil inventories. And that’s not all.

“The U.S. is producing more and more, the situation in the Middle East is easing. Libya crude oil – which was all but gone from the market in 2011 – is now returning in full force,” DeHaan said. “Canada’s ramping up output and of course, like I said, we’re producing more than we have in the last 35 years here in the U.S.”

It’s all of these different pieces added together that will likely maintain these low prices into the summer months. DeHaan said Michigan’s prices peaked at $2.52 per gallon somewhere around March 22 and that the state’s average may stay below that through the summer.

“Now of course, barring any major hurricanes or action in the Middle East, which is unpredictable, we’re looking at prices for a majority of the summer in Michigan in the low to perhaps mid-two dollar a gallon range, but gone are those three dollar a gallon prices we saw so much last year,” he said.

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