While you may not be able to avoid the spike in gas prices this week, officials say there are ways to ease the pain.
Gas prices shot up nearly 50 cents in the past week following an unexpected shutdown of a distillation unit at the BP Whiting refinery in Indiana, according to AAA.
The statewide average is $3 a gallon. Gas stations in the Blue Water Area are averaging $2.99, a sharp increase from last week’s average of $2.54 — but still a significant drop from last year’s $3.45.
Port Huron residents Trevor Westbrook and Ken Kruse were both filling up their gas tanks at the Marathon Gas station at Union and Military streets on Monday afternoon.
Westbrook said he hasn’t really noticed the sudden hike in gas prices because he mostly sticks around the area.
The Semco Energy technician also said he often doesn’t have to pay for gas, but added he usually spends about $60 every week.
“It doesn’t affect me,” Westbrook said. “But I feel bad for people who have to drive back and forth from Detroit.”
Kruse said he’d just noticed how high gas prices seemed Monday.
He also mostly keeps his travel around the area, and admitted rising prices are bothersome, but that “it is what it is.”
“I pay whatever the gas prices are because that’s the cost (of living),” Kruse said. “I take it when it’s low and I take it when it’s high. But that doesn’t mean I like it.”
Doug and Lisa Bach were filling up their motorcycle Monday at a Port Huron Speedway en route between their home in Royal Oak and upstate New York.
“It isn’t preventing us from traveling,” Lisa said. “But we get better gas mileage on our motorcycle than if we drove our car.”
They too are bothered by the hike. Lisa said she didn’t think there was any legitimate merit for the increase.
But the Bachs agreed if they could convince enough people to not buy gas on a particular day across southeast Michigan, it’d make a meaningful statement.
“They feel like they can jack us around,” Doug said, “then we could jack them around.”
There’s potential for gas prices to drop, but not immediately.
“Gas prices could drop after Labor Day as the summer-driving season concludes and people take fewer road trips, use less gasoline and the potential for demand drops,” according to Susan Hiltz, AAA public affairs director. “Gas stations can switch over to less expensive winter-blend gasoline on September 15.”
Hiltz said how much of a drop will be seen is hard to forecast, especially with the issues at the refinery not yet settled.
“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed just like everyone else,” she said.
Tips on driving more efficiently are pretty simple — slow down and plan ahead.
According to AAA, drivers should accelerate slowly, anticipate stops (take your foot off the gas as early as possible), drive slower (every 5 mph over 50 mph is equal to paying an additional 24 cents per gallon), and combine outings to avoid driving more than necessary.
Proper air tire pressure, turning on the air conditioner instead of putting windows down and a clean air filter will also help in efficiency.
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