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AAA Michigan: Drivers paying less at the gas pump this year

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DETROIT – Labor Day is quickly approaching and gas prices for the holiday weekend are lining up to be the lowest in 2-3 years.

However, there are still a number of factors that could push prices higher before the holiday. Today, the average price for gasoline in the U.S. is $2.59 per gallon, according to AAA Michigan. Drivers are currently paying 25 cents less than they did on Labor Day 2018 ($2.84), and 5 cents less than on Labor Day 2017 ($2.64). 

"Labor Day travelers will benefit from lower oil prices this year as they fill up for their holiday road trip," said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA. "Strong US oil production rates are holding oil prices about 15% below last year's levels, effectively reducing the price of producing gasoline. Gas prices should remain low heading into the holiday, unless something unexpected threatens fuel supplies, like geopolitical tensions or a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico."

Labor Day marks the end of the busy summer travel season, and the last big surge in gasoline demand before the fall. The expectation of strong demand can promote a slight and temporary bump at the pump before the holiday. However, after Labor Day, refineries begin their seasonal switch to winter-blend gasoline. Summer-blend gasoline is more expensive to produce than winter-blend, because the EPA requires more additives in the hotter months of the year. The combination of lower demand and fuel production costs typically restores downward pressure on pump prices through the end of the year

Gas prices in Michigan are up slightly. Michigan drivers are now paying an average price of $2.72 per gallon for regular unleaded, which is about 2 cents more than last week. Still, drivers are paying 11 cents less than this time last month and 23 cents less than this time last year. 

Compared to last week, Metro Detroit's average daily gas price increased slightly. Metro Detroit's current average is $2.76 per gallon, 1 cent more than last week's average and about 18 cents less than this same time last year.

  • Most expensive gas price averages:  Ann Arbor ($2.80), Metro Detroit ($2.76), Jackson ($2.71) 
  • Least expensive gas price averages:  Traverse City ($2.56), Benton Harbor ($2.62), Saginaw ($2.67)