Michigan gas prices drop big, but hold off on filling your tank

Why you should wait to buy gas

Michigan had the highest gas price drop in the nation today, with prices falling 13 cents a gallon to a state average of $2.52 a gallon.

Moreover, analysts say, there's more good news: Gasoline prices at the pump could go even lower by the end of the week — assuming, that is, that another hurricane doesn't hit the Gulf, which would send them spiking again.

"Hold off on filling the tank," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for gasoline price tracker GasBuddy. "It could go down down another 7 to 15 cents a gallon."

►Related: AAA Michigan: Average gas prices fall 15 cents across the state

Nationally, gas prices fell in 45 of the 50 states, with the average drop of 5 cents a gallon to $2.60  in the first weekly drop since Hurricane Harvey drove up prices, according to GasBuddy.

AAA, which also tracks gas prices, had a slightly higher statewide average price for Michigan at $2.54, 15 cents less than last week's average, but 44 cents more than the same day a year ago.

After Michigan, the states seeing the next biggest declines: Indiana, also by 13 cents; Illinois by 11 cents; Delaware by 11 cents; Nebraska by 10 cents; Ohio by 9 cents; Maryland by 7 cents; Kentucky by 7 cents; New Jersey by 6 cents, and Missouri by 5 cents.

"This week could see some of the largest drops in gas prices in many months," DeHaan said. "With refineries continuing to get back online and with demand cooling off from the summer months, we have more room to see the national average drop in the week ahead."

Oil prices, a factor in gasoline prices, have been holding at just under $50 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude oil.

Gasoline prices will continue to fall even as oil holds steady because of a better supply and demand balance after Harvey, according to GasBuddy. When storms interrupt refineries, oil inventories typically rise at the cost of gasoline inventories since less refining is taking place.

Harvey temporarily knocked out gas refineries in Texas, which led to a price surge. But, as production has recovered, prices have begun to fall.

"It still will take time to completely heal from the issues Harvey and Irma left, particularly due to the large-scale disruptions of fuel logistics and production," DeHaan said. "But, improvement will continue both with lower retail prices and high refinery output."

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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