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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

What happened to the cheap gas around Ann Arbor?

By Paula Gardner

It seemed like a driver's dream: For at least the last week, gas prices have been steadily dropping on the east side of Washtenaw County.

In fact, at least 15 stations - many centered in the Carpenter Road corridor of Pittsfield Township and others in Ypsilanti - had prices of $2.92 per gallon or less on Wednesday morning.

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But by 6 p.m. Wednesday, many of those prices had changed - dramatically.

One example: The Speedway at Carpenter and Packard, where unleaded jumped more than 40 cents to $3.39 per gallon in a matter of hours.

On the west side of Ann Arbor, at the Citgo on Jackson Avenue, the price went to $3.39 per gallon on Wednesday afternoon. Across the street at Meijer, the price was $3.09.

Two situations may be at play, said an expert at

"You are seeing a little (market) tension," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst, when prices fall dramatically lower in a market.

While he said Wednesday that price could keep incrementally falling, the $2.80-something prices per gallon seemed to indicate more of a pricing war among competitors than a regional pricing trend.

He also said that holiday price hikes tended to be a myth - but that prices also reflect supplier prices, so the broad price hike around the area may be a sign that several suppliers raised rates.

As for the big swing in prices, he said: "That's a cause for concern."

So just how concerned should a consumer be about the price hike?

Very, Laskoski said, based on typical trends.

The year-end price tends to signal the peak price for the following year. Based on historical averages, whatever we're paying for gas during the last week of December will be what we're paying at top-of-market in 2012, plus 93 cents per gallon.

If that's the bad news, it could get worse: The range for the forecasted peak high is 80 cents to $1.20 per gallon.

That would take us to $4.59 per gallon as the highest end of the forecasted peak for next year.

Meanwhile, Wednesday's national gas price average was $3.22 per gallon this morning. It was $3.28 in Ann Arbor by 6 p.m.

Laskoski's advice: Take the price swings as an indication that there could be lots of variability right now among stations and their pricing.

"Consumers should be attentive to identify places where they can get the cheapest gasoline," he said. "Nobody wants to spend 30 to 40 cents a gallon more."



Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

Speedway in Saline changes their prices all the time. Yesterday AM it was $3.19, later in the AM it was $3.39. Go figure! They say they don't do this???? according to their corporate office. Liar, liar, pants on fire>


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

When will we get off this gas addiction? If energy prices were low we wouldn't be in a recession and we would cut back on carbon pollution . This country can change but we have to get serious about this problem --- fuel cells and electric cars. Two things we don't seem to be able to control, oil prices and health care prices.

Ann English

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

jns131, If you got to Dearborn via Michigan Avenue, you passed through Inkster, which five years ago sold gas for less than either Canton, Wayne or Dearborn; I guess they don't do so today. Kroger's own gas stations do sell gasoline for less than most Shell stations, over ten cents per gallon less; notice how frequently Shell stations show up on GasBuddy's Most Expensive list, and how they're in Ann Arbor, not Ypsilanti. The Shell at Platt and Ellsworth sometimes makes GasBuddy's Cheapest Gasoline list.


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

And that my dear is why I don't buy gas in Ann Arbor. Although I was over on Jackson Road a few weeks back and still did not save like I could in Dearborn which is the only place I can find that sells cheap gas. Ypsilanti does sell cheap gas on Ecorse road. So good luck finding cheap gas. Ann Arbor does not.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Pilot gas stations in Dexter off of Baker road jumped 20 cents from $3.09 to $3.29 overnight...FYI.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

Has anyone ever wondered why the oil pipeline from Canada has to run all the way to the Texas refineries? We have plenty of refineries in the North. Ahh! I know why! The Texas refineries can then export the finished products by way of the Gulf of Mexico. More massive profits for "Big Oil". Will the average American see gas prices go down? In your dreams!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

@grimmk .... agreed. A friend of mine filled up this week at Kroger for $2.54/gallon!!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

It is the Christmas holiday, don't you get it. Folks will be traveling a good deal more so up go the prices. It is only to put profits into the pockets of the gas and oil companies. Yes, the word for this is greedy. To all, regardless of cost, have a marvelous holiday period, Merry Christmas and happy holiday to all and the happiest of New Year.--


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Eliminate all the pie in the sky green energy milarkey and stick to developing our own oil and gas resources instead of giving it to the middle east and you might actually get back to the way oil isn't just gasoline it affects everything in your life from chewing gum to medicine and beyond..without it you'd be living in a cave eating dinasour crap....

Suze Harrison

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

Most of our imported gas comes from Canada these days.

Tim Belcher

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Whether the oil comes from here or the Middle East there is no indication the oil companies will give the US consumer a break on price. The only leverage we have is as you put it "the pie in the sky green energy milarkey".


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

"He also said that holiday price hikes tended to be a myth"...........right...............that is why gas spiked up just as travel for the holiday went into full swing........where did you find this guy?....

Buster W.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Still wondering why gas prices didn't spike over Thanksgiving though??? They were stable.

Buster W.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

Glad I filled up both both cars at Sam's yesterday and today...2.89 ppg. Consistently the cheapest in Washtenaw County.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:49 a.m.

Get a Kroger Card. Buy a lot of stuff. Get cheaper gas.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Totally agree. Save 10 cents a gallon. That is why I got 3.09 on Tuesday.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

I was at the BP at Carpenter and Michigan Ave when it jumped from 2.91 (that was the price at the pump even though the sign was 2.92) to 3.36...I watched the guy change the sign as I waited with a number of other cars. Fortunately they didn't change the price at the pump right away so people that were waiting still got the cheaper price. Of course it was for Christmas...I'm glad I made it just in time.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

we the people seriously need to avoid the pumps for two or three days straight to send a message, we have got to do something!

John Tuttle

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

My brother's up in Bay City, and he said the prices up there took the same jump today as well. Pre-Christmas travel price gouging, plain and simple. I guess it's a good thing we did our family traveling last weekend, and are staying in town over the holidays.

mike gatti

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:09 a.m.

This article makes no sense.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

I'm glad I gassed up in Ypsi Twp this morning for 2.92! I think I've seen this phenomenon before. The gas cartel basically has a "price minimum" in their heads and when the prices begin to approach or even hit that minimum, they all simultaneously jack up their prices by 30 cents a gallon or so. This usually means that there are still downward pressures on the price of gas and that the prices will slide back down again in the near future, but the retail gas cartel is fighting the market pressure so they'll continue to exert their influence as long as they can get away with it.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Ypsilanti and places east seem to have cheaper gas then Ann Arbor. I filled up at 3.09 with my Kroger card in Dearborn on Tuesday. Cheapest I am ever going to get.

Monica R-W

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

Christmas, it was snowing lightly this morning, greed, they felt like it and all of the above. Look, its a game. Similar to charging 15 cent more on Washtenaw from all gas stations from Hewitt to EMU today, just to use credit? Are you serious? Noticed at those same stations "true" gas price, if one used cash that is, was only $3.15. So, when will our state Government officials going to step in on the gas gouging going on in Southeastern Michigan? Still waiting, been waiting since last summer....


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Citgo was 2.95 this morning near 94 in ypsi this evening 3.35, that's price gouging.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

you are buy gas from a guy whom went before the united nations and hates us. from argentine (CHEVAS). I will not buy from any citgo station. this is the only thing i refuse to buy from any country. they were at one time and still might going to change there name.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

It's all rigged. The price swings have NOTHING to do with what was paid for the gas in the tanks under the pumps. It's like the stock market. Rigged against the average person. Drive less. There is NO reason for these wild swings up other than speculation in the oil markets, that has nothing to do with supply and demand. It's about traders and commodity players and Big Oil getting rich off the backs of average people filling their tanks.