Gas prices head lower in week

Aug. 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM
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DETROIT, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Consumer watchdogs said the average price of unleaded gasoline dropped in the week, sharply in Michigan and modestly elsewhere.

In Michigan, average prices fell 21 cents in just over a week to $3.61 per gallon. Nationally, the average price of gasoline began the week at $3.703 per gallon and ended the week at $3.606.

"Most people are concerned about the economy, so this is their one bright light," said Nancy Cain, a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan, The Detroit News reported Saturday.

"This is such an unusual year because we saw prices jump way up this year, and now they're down," she said.

The price of crude oil, which accounts for up to 80 percent of the price of gasoline, slid from about $100 per barrel in late July to $80 during the week before staging a comeback. Oil closed at $85.38 per barrel Friday.

Prices at the pump also shifted slightly higher at the end of the week and will likely continue to rise, said Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy, a watchdog group, who predicted prices in Michigan would reach $3.75 per gallon within a day or two.

Earlier this year, the national average gas prices rolled up close to $4 per gallon, before heading lower. But Ed Weglarz, executive vice president of Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers Inc., said gasoline stations prefer prices to remain low.

"We actually make more money when the price is low … because the customer tends to spend a little more," Weglarz said.

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