The workweek closed with local prices hovering just below $3.40 per gallon — nearly $1 less than they were just a couple of weeks ago.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com, predicts a bit more of a downtick, likely to the $3.30 range — and, with an incredibly optimistic outlook, possibly the $3.20 range.
But the gasoline glory may be short-lived.
“Prices will drift lower at least through the weekend,” DeHaan said from his Chicago office. “But we're starting to see the bottom nearing, as far as how long it will decline. The end is near.”
DeHaan predicts we're near the lowest prices of the summer. He expects gas to sell for $3.50 or more per gallon in July and August, but he doubts it will rise to $4 a gallon, barring a hurricane or other major disruption in supply.
However, DeHaan certainly doesn't expect fuel prices to reach the levels of earlier this month. On June 1, prices in the area spiked to $4.15, then climbed less than a week later to $4.29.
The severe increase left Michigan with some of the highest per-gallon prices in the nation. DeHaan said it was due to refinery malfunctions in Joliet, Ill., which have since been mended.
“It's a reversal of fortunes,” he said. “Effectively, it's the undoing of what brought high prices to begin with. There's a lot of psychological shifts that have occurred."
DeHaan, who visited his parents last weekend at their Lake Michigan cottage in the Muskegon area, said he was pleased to see West Michigan prices on the decline.
Although the state attorney general's office launched an investigation after prices skyrocketed earlier this month and social network chatter complained unabashedly about fuel prices, DeHaan said the publicity and politicking has nothing to do with relaxed gas prices.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.