GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It's becoming a familiar sight: Gas prices over $4 per gallon. Right now, Michigan is averaging $4.06 a gallon.
We've been hearing excuses like refinery issues, hurricanes, and now unrest in Libya. We asked gas analyst Pat Dehaan from GasBuddy.com what he thought.
"We're seeing after these events everybody freaks out on the wholesale level. Prices rise. So gasoline prices are determined just how stocks are. if everybody wants or needs to buy ahead of the storm, prices go up," says DeHaan.
Michigan is typically one of the first to go up. It's a frustration expressed on wzzm 13'S Facebook page. One person commented, "Why do our prices go up 20-30-cents, but never go down that fast?
DeHaan says it's up to the gas station. "They've looked at the margins, they're coming close to making or losing money and these price increases are the result of the station restoring its profit margin from zero to 15 or 20 cents."
DeHaan also says Michigan has some of the highest wholesale prices in the country. We asked the state's top cop what he thought.
"You get out of line, there are consequences," says Attorney General Bill Schuette. "We have a team of investigators that monitor the ups and downs, making sure the prices at the pump are not excessive, which is a statutory definition from wholesale prices that gas stations are delivered."
This year, Schuette successfully prosecuted five cases of retail gas price fixing in Michigan. He says he will continue to be a watchdog for the state. But when it comes to prices on a national level, there's not much consumers can do, besides not use gas.