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Gasoline prices surge in Grand Rapids and across the state

Gasoline pump photo
Car Talk
Gasoline prices

Michigan gasoline reached a new high-price for the year. The pandemic and world energy demand are causing prices to climb.

AAA Michigan reports the state average for a gallon of gasoline climbed 16 cents compared to last week. In Grand Rapids, it soared 23.4 cents per gallon in the last week according to GasBuddy.

“We saw gas prices across Grand Rapids and Western Michigan jump to their highest levels in seven years.”

Patrick DeHaan is head of petroleum analysis with GasBuddy. He explains over the past three weeks the price of a barrel of crude climbed to $85 a barrel. It’s seven year high. It was only a matter of time before stations passed along the increase to motorists.

“Now, it came right after oil prices plummeted by about $5 a barrel, which is why I was scratching my head. I would have thought that the drop in wholesale prices, which was approaching 20 cents a gallon, would have given stations enough breathing room to avoid passing along the jump that they had seen several weeks ago.”

Big picture, the pandemic is creating global supply imbalances. DeHaan points to a shortage of coal in China. It’s now purchasing all types of energy meeting demand. Natural gas is in short supply in Europe. U.S. natural gas is now making its way there pushing up prices here.

“And as 38% of the nation’s electricity comes from natural gas, some of those facilities can switch over to run crude oil.”

Until energy supplies increase or return balance, prices will remain high.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.