Gas prices in the immediate area have taken a dip in recent weeks.
Those trends are largely in line with predictions made by GasBuddy.com analysts during the holiday period. Gas was predicted to stay below $2 per gallon through the New Year, pushing as high at $1.99 in some areas.
GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan says seasonal weakness due to reduced driving habits may be a contributing factor.
“Good old economics 101: supply and demand,” says DeHaan. “Demand is low, supply has increased as a result of a lack of demand, and that’s working to push gasoline prices lower.”
Several weeks ago, issues were found at refineries in Whiting, which were thought to be causing some of the price jumps around the country. Since that time, the price of a gallon of gas has dropped considerably, checking in at $1.69 per gallon early this week in Knox, and a touch below that at $1.65 per gallon in certain parts of Plymouth.
The price of a barrel of oil is also at record lows, hovering around the $30 mark. Commodity markets were closed Monday in recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
DeHaan says they don’t anticipate refinery issues until later in February when a bit of maintenance occurs.
“Sometimes that leads to a slight increase in price because of the limited production, so don’t be too surprised if by March and April, we start to see a larger upward trend in prices at the pump,” says DeHaan.
Another influencing factor on oil markets may be a slowdown in China’s economic growth. Their figures have slowed considerably, and are already influencing stock prices on the major equity exchanges.
Here at home, central Michigan has made headlines with a gallon of gas costing residents 47-cents per gallon. DeHaan says don’t count on those prices being seen in Indiana.
Markets will reopen on Tuesday for trading to resume.