Archive for the ‘gas prices’ Tag

Today, June 1st, marks start of summer gasoline rules in Michigan

Rules mean higher gas prices at the pump:

You can expect to see a jump at the pump starting Wednesday.

June 1 marks the beginning of summer gasoline rules in Michigan — which means gas stations in Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties must only sell or dispense a “summer gas blend” that does not exceed 7.0 pounds per square inch (psi) vapor pressure.

“Summer-formula gasoline increases fuel efficiency and helps smog-causing compounds from being released into the atmosphere,” said Craig VanBuren, acting laboratory division director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “MDARD inspectors will conduct on-site testing during the summer gas season, which runs from June 1 to September 15.”

The current statewide average price for regular unleaded is around $2.50 a gallon. That’s up 19 cents compared to a month ago, but still lower than the $2.73 average we were paying a year ago.

How to file a gas quality complaint

If you suspect that you have purchased substandard fuel (mislabeled octane, water in gas, etc) or that you have received a short/incorrect measure, contact MDARD on our Complaints page. Questions about gas gouging should be directed to the Michigan Attorney General’s office at 877-765-8388.

Tips for energy efficient driving

1. Combine trips for shopping and errands.

2. Avoid unnecessary trips. Use the telephone or e-mail to communicate.

3. For short trips, walk or ride a bike.

4. Join a carpool or use public transit to and from work or school.

5. Don’t idle the car for more than one minute.

6. Drive the speed limit, or below, for better mileage.

7. Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during highway driving.

8. Avoid sudden bursts of speed, tailgating and pumping the accelerator pedal. Gradual starts and stops result in less fuel use and less wear and tear.

9. Out on the open highway, keep windows rolled up to reduce drag.

10. Using a vehicle’s air conditioner on a hot summer day can decrease mileage. If it’s cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation on your car instead of the air conditioner.

11. Travel during off-peak hours when possible.

12. Take the shortest route with the best roads.

13. Use the cruise control — it can save fuel by maintaining a steady speed.

14. Keep tires at the recommended air pressure.

15. Keep your car engine properly tuned.

16. Remove bicycle and ski racks when not in use.

17. Excess weight uses more fuel. Remove unnecessary items from inside the vehicle, trunk or truck bed.

18. Use the lowest octane gasoline recommended by the manufacturer.

19. When buying a new car, make fuel efficiency a priority.

20. Don’t buy a bigger engine than you need.

Read more at: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/june-1st-marks-the-start-of-summer-gasoline-rules-in-michigan

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Where’s the cheapest gas in the US? It’s Michigan

MICHIGAN — Of all 50 states, Michigan now has the cheapest gas prices in the entire country, according to data from GasBuddy.com. But it likely won’t last long.

Michigan’s average price for a gallon of gas is $1.802, barely beating out Oklahoma’s $1.804 per gallon.

Nationally, the average is around $2.03 per gallon.

GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan said on Twitter it was back on Feb. 26, 2009—more than 2,400 days ago—that gas prices were this low in the state. DeHaan also said it’s likely the lowered prices won’t last more than 24-48 hours.

Why the drop?

DeHaan says it’s likely because of some ‘healthy competition’ as gas stations are continuing to try undercut each other. But he said it won’t stick around.

“I expect an upward adjustment likely tomorrow as most stations have been selling at a loss,” he told FOX 17. “I’d top off tonight, but wouldn’t get too excited when prices rise, because I’m expecting they’ll stay under $2 more often than over it thru the rest of 2015.”

Both Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties are averaging the cheapest gas prices with an average of $1.60 per gallon.

Missouri has the third cheapest gas in the state with an average price for gallon around $1.817.

Read more at: http://fox17online.com/2015/11/29/wheres-the-cheapest-gas-in-the-us-its-about-to-be-michigan/

US gas prices may climb back up in mid-February

Valentine’s Day may not bring a whole lot of love to those headed to the fuel pumps. Gas prices may start rising by the middle of February as oil companies switch over to the so-called “summer blend” of gas, Willits News says, citing an analyst for GasBuddy.com. That blend is better for the environment, but is also more expensive to produce.

San Francisco’s ABC news affiliate, citing a Lundberg poll, also said wholesale fuel prices may spike within a couple of weeks. That city is particularly concerned because, even though the rest of the US is enjoying cheaper gas, San Francisco’s fuel has the highest gas prices in the continental US.

That said, predicting gas prices can be like predicting the weather, says the Christian Science Monitor. Obviously, simple supply and demand come into play, and demand has been down because of more fuel-efficient US cars and lower demand from Asia, while North American crude supply is up.

US gas prices have held steady at about $2.04 a gallon for the past week, though are down about 25 cents from a month ago, according to AAA. Gas prices, which are at a five-year low, averaged $3.28 a gallon a year ago.

As read on: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/30/us-gas-prices-may-climb-back-up-in-mid-february/?ncid=edlinkusauto00000016

Gas prices below $2 a gallon for 1st time since ’09

Gasoline just keeps getting cheaper in Michigan, where the average pump price dropped Thursday to $1.97 a gallon — the lowest since March 2009.

Prices on New Year’s Day 2015 were down 13 cents in the past seven days, AAA Michigan said. Gas was 42% cheaper than it was one year ago, when the average price per gallon was $3.37.

“Gas prices continue to drop due to a significant decline in crude oil costs,” auto club spokeswoman Susan Hiltz said. “Crude oil represents about two-thirds of the cost of gasoline and is directly correlated with changes in gas prices.”

Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily.

The latest price report marks a dramatic turnaround in gas prices. The statewide average peaked at $3.96 a gallon on June 16 before beginning a steady decline, according to the auto club. The national average also hit its 2014 high in June, reaching about $3.66 a gallon.

Nationwide, the average gas price was $2.24 a gallon Thursday, AAA said. It said drivers in the Midwest were paying the least for gas, while the most expensive prices in the contiguous 48 states were in the Northeast. Only Alaska at $3.09 and Hawaii at $3.53 a gallon averaged more than $3 this week.

If Michigan’s sub-$2 prices seem too good to last, they probably are, senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy told the Detroit Free Press. But even as prices make their expected rise, they probably will remain under $3 a gallon through 2015, he said.

“This may be getting as close to as good as it gets,” said DeHaan.

As read on: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/01/02/gas-prices-michigan/21178567/

$2 Gas Is Back! Is That Good?

If you’ve been to a gas station in recent weeks, you know that fuel prices are low — crazy low. That seems like a good thing, but is it?

Yes and no.

According to AAA, today’s price for a gallon of unleaded regular averages $2.67. In some parts of the country, you can find it for $2.50, and even cheaper at discount stations. This time last month, the price was nearly 30 cents higher ($2.94), and a year ago, it was more than 75 cents higher ($3.27).

So, what’s the deal? There are a range of factors keeping fuel prices low, but two stick out:

1. We’re in the middle of “winter gas” season. “Winter gas” — technically, just “gas” — is easier to produce than “summer gas”, which is required by law to contain more additives so that it burns more cleanly and efficiently in hot weather. That makes winter gas comparatively cheap, but that’s just part of the explanation for today’s low fuel prices.

When refineries switch from one type of gas to the other, they scale back on the outgoing version to ensure that they can sell all of the inventory they have. Those slowdowns in production cause artificial shortages, which cause prices to spike — usually around May and September. Now, in December, we’re well into the cheaper winter gas season, and the summer gas changeover is a long way off, so prices are very low.

2. Oil production in the U.S. is booming. Thanks to new extraction techniques, the U.S. is experiencing a golden age of oil production. While we still depend on imported oil for some of our supply, the country now produces enough gas and diesel to be a net exporter.

That sounds like good news — and it is for some. For others, not so much.

WINNERS

Those who stand to benefit the most from low oil and gas prices are:

Consumers: As the U.S. economy continues to improve, inflation has begun creeping upward. Unfortunately, U.S. wages aren’t keeping pace, meaning that the money workers earn doesn’t go as far as it might. Low fuel prices give consumers a break, allowing them to focus their spending on food, mortgages, education, and the like. Some argue that cheap gas also slows auto sales by allowing owners of gas-guzzlers to keep their rides a bit longer, though there are people who disagree with that, including…

Makers of trucks and SUVs: Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and other makers of pickup trucks and large SUVs are doing bang-up business these days. That’s in part because the truck-loving construction sector is humming along, but also because consumers aren’t put off by the lackluster fuel economy most pickups and SUVs earn. (Though it bears mentioning that more fuel-efficient, car-based crossovers are also selling like hotcakes.)

LOSERS

Not everyone is happy about cheap gas, though:

Oil-producing states and countries: States that depends on oil for their revenue — either from producing the stuff or refining it — now find themselves in a bind. Soon, they’re likely to be forced to make painful budget cuts, trimming funds for schools, hospitals, and other important community resources. Farther afield, in countries that derive most of their income from oil, the situation is much worse. If things don’t change, low oil prices could destabilize entire nations, leading to humanitarian crises, mass emigrations, and in extreme cases, terrorism.

Eco-advocates: Campaigns for reduced auto pollution and greenhouse gas emissions work best when gas prices are on the upswing. With fuel prices so low, there’s little incentive for consumers to shell out the extra dough needed to buy hybrids like the Toyota Prius, much less all-electric models like the Tesla Model S.

Automakers: The Environmental Protection Agency has set strict guidelines on fuel economy and auto emissions leading up to the year 2025, and automakers are working hard to create fleets that can meet those standards. All that new technology comes at a premium, though, and low fuel prices mean that customers may be more inclined to shell out for less fuel-efficient models while they can. (Then again, who knows?)

Mother Nature: Low fuel prices typically translate into upticks in travel, meaning greater auto emissions. That means more air pollution and more greenhouse gases, which at the very least make breathing more difficult and at worst, increase global warming.

WILL THESE PRICES STICK AROUND?

Like it or not, fuel prices aren’t likely to stay this low for long. Even if OPEC changes its mind and decides to scale back production, sending crude prices higher, we’ll soon reach the changeover to “summer gas”, which should cause prices at the pump to climb.

In other words: get now while the getting is good.

As read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1095806_2-gas-is-back-is-that-good/page-2

Michigan gas prices tumble to 10-month low

Gasoline prices in Michigan tumbled to their lowest point in about 10 months, and analysts expect prices to keep falling.

The average price of an unleaded gallon of gasoline fell to $3.27, down 13 cents from a week ago, according to AAA.

In metro Detroit, it was a similar story. The average price dropped 10 cents to $3.31 per gallon.

“Decreased demand, relatively lower crude prices and the cost savings associated with producing winter-blend fuel will likely keep downward pressure on the price for retail gasoline,” AAA Michigan said in a statement. “Barring any major disruptions in supply, drivers are expected to see some of the lowest autumn prices since 2010.”

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst of GasBuddy.com, said prices are heading below the $3 mark.

“We’re really looking at wholesale prices that point to not just lower, but they’re dramatically lower,” Kloza said in an interview. “It’s coming fairly soon.”

In fact, stations in Greenville and Ionia have already reduced prices to below the $3 mark.

The lowest average price for a Michigan region is $3.14 in the Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland region. Marquette has the highest price at $3.49.

More than a dozen gas stations in metro Detroit are charging $3.07 or less, though most of those prices are cash only, according to GasBuddy.com.

Kloza said a confluence of factors are driving prices down.

The price of crude oil has been falling, hitting the $90 mark, and Bloomberg reported Thursday that betting on the future price of oil hit a 17-month low last week.

Refineries in the Midwest have also ended maintenance initiatives in recent weeks, increasing supplies and lowering prices further.

Political turmoil in the Middle East has had little effect on gas prices, economists noted.

“Geopolitical events remain front of mind for market watchers, but in recent months have not translated into upward pressure on global oil markets,” AAA said.

Kloza said the price of crude oil has fallen despite ISIS violence in Iraq and Syria, indicating that the market is not concerned that continued fighting will disrupt the flow of oil.

Still, he cautioned that $3 gasoline isn’t necessarily here to stay.

“I don’t think that becomes the new normal,” he said. “I do think that becomes a level that people will get used to in the offseason.”

Read more at: http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2014/10/06/gasoline-prices-metro-detroit/16796443/

Gas-saving tips & myths: Test-based advice for improving fuel economy

As the summer travel season rolls in, prices at the gas pump are usually going in the wrong direction for our wallets. That’s when drivers become more concerned about how to squeeze the most miles from their fuel dollars and keep their cars running their best.

To help you stay in the know, here are some common questions that our auto experts often get asked about gas mileage and related topics:
What’s the best way to cut fuel costs?

Slow down. In our tests, we’ve found that driving faster on the highway can really take a bite out of your car’s fuel efficiency. We measured gas mileage while driving at a steady 55, 65, and 75 mph in a Honda Accord, Toyota RAV4, and three versions of a Ford Fusion, including a hybrid. The drop in fuel economy while going from 55 to 65 rangedfrom 4 to 8 mpg. Upping the speed from 65 to 75 cut it 5 to 7 mpg more. Overall, speeding up from 55 mph to 75 is like moving from a compact car to a large SUV.

What if I need to carry stuff on my car’s roof?

Carrying things on the roof increases aerodynamic drag, which hurts fuel economy. When we tested a  2013 Honda  Accord at a steady 65 mph, it got 42 mpg with nothing on the roof. Adding even an empty bike rack dropped the mileage by 5 mpg, to 37. A wind deflector reduced the wind noise but cut gas mileage to 35 mpg. And with two bikes on the rack, gas mileage dropped to 27 mpg, a whopping 15-mpg difference overall. Similarly, when we tested a  2008 Camry with a large car-top carrier, fuel economy dropped by 5 mpg.

Does running the A/C hurt fuel economy compared with opening the windows?

It depends on how hard the air-­conditioning system has to work. When we measured the fuel-economy difference in a  2008 Ford Focus, Honda  Accord, and Subaru Forester, we found that fuel use with the  A/C running went up with higher outside temperatures.  At 55° F, there were negligible differences. But when we measured again on days when the temperature was in the low 70s and high 80s, we got fewer miles per gallon with the  A/C on. In general, expect 1 to 4 mpg less with air conditioning.

How far can I go when my low-fuel warning light comes on?

There is no set rule, but most cars have a reserve of between 1 and 2 gallons of gas when the light goes on, or enough to travel about 40 miles or so at a moderate speed. To maximize those last couple of gallons, we suggest slowing down and maintaining a steady pace.

Can I improve gas mileage by installing a special air filter?

With modern cars, changing your air filter probably won’t improve your fuel economy. When we tested a car to see whether a dirty air filter hurt its gas mileage because of reduced air intake, we found that the car’s acceleration was hurt but not its fuel economy. The engine’s computer automatically compensated for the restricted airflow by reducing fuel use to maintainthe right air /fuel ratio. We expect similar results from any air-filter change.

Can running on empty hurt my engine?

Some people think that can draw in debris from the bottom of the fuel tank, but it’s not really a big concern. That’s because the fuel pump always pulls in gas from the bottom of the tank, even when it’s full. So if there is a debris problem, you’ll probably know about it long before the fuel level gets low. These days, there’s usually a fuel filter in the gas tank as well as one nearer the engine, so debris is unlikely to get through to your engine. If your tank contains junk, though, you might have to change the filters more frequently.

As read on: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/gas-saving-tips-and-myths/index.htm

Gasoline prices drop closer to $3 and could keep falling

Remember $3 gas? Well the price is headed down and might get back to that level again after more than three years.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 6.4 cents in the last two weeks, as crude oil declined and refiners passed on the difference to motorists.

Some industry experts believe the price could keep falling, even below $3 per gallon for the first time in three years.

According to the latest Lundberg survey, the average price was about 31 cents lower than a year ago, based on the Sept. 20 survey of some 2,500 retail stations in the 48 contiguous states.

Trilby Lundberg, survey editor, said the rise came alongside a decline in the price of crude oil. Crude has fallen as Libya has produced more and there have been signs of diplomatic progress regarding Syria and Iran.

“California did buck the trend because of some recent hiccups in the California refining capacity affecting the West,” Lundberg said. “Prices rose at the pump about 16 cents in California, but the spike has already died as those glitches have already been resolved.”

Charleston, South Carolina, had the cheapest gasoline in the survey at $3.14 per gallon, while drivers in San Francisco, paid the most at $4.01 per gallon.

According to another survey, by the American Automobile Association, pump prices are in their usual September decent as demand weakens and supplies increase. But the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded remains well above $3 for the 1,007th day in a row, it said.

“It’s normal for prices to fall in September,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. “The summer driving season is over, demand is down, and refineries are switching to the cheaper winter-blend gasoline.”

“Prices could continue to fall another 5 to 10 cents before the end of the month,” Jenkins said. “But it’s unlikely.”

GasBuddy.com, which monitors prices across the United States, also forecast cheaper prices to come.

GasBuddy’s chief oil analyst Tom Kloza predicts that the fall will see slow but steady attrition in retail gas numbers, thanks to record high U.S. refining rates and consumer demand that will at best match 2012 levels. “Supplies are adequate, and indeed gasoline now typically sells for just a few dollars more than raw crude costs. They’ll go below $3.00 anytime soon.”

As read on: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/gasoline-prices-drop-closer-3-could-keep-falling-4B11232610