$3 Per Gallon Gas Back in Parts of Mid-Michigan

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That familiar but unwelcome number -- $3 -- is confronting drivers again.

"You automatically think, 'here it goes again,' " Sandie Richardson told News 10.

And while the effect of that three in front of the price per gallon may be part psychological, AAA Michigan reports a gallon of regular does cost nearly $0.20 more this week than last in the Lansing area.

"Everything we've seen in the last couple days indicates it's just your normal fluctuations," said John Griffin of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan, an oil company trade association.

So far Hurricane Dean has not played a role, Griffin says. Fears that the hurricane could hit Gulf Coast oil production did cause some facilities to be evacuated and a temporary increase in the cost of crude oil.

But the price of crude has already come back down and those prices do take a while to affect the price at the pump.

Griffin says at the moment, things look okay going forward.

"All of the weather reports indicate [Hurricane Dean]'s going to miss the gulf coast oil structure," he said.

Of course, if the storm changes course or if a new one forms, prices could get much higher.

"What happened with Rita and Katrina -- obviously we saw what happened there and likely we'd see the same reaction," Griffin said.

That's because the Gulf Coast provides about a third of the gas and diesel supply to the Midwest. But there haven't been any problems yet -- gas is still below $3 per gallon in some parts of the area.

Still, the oil industry will be keeping an eye on the storm.

Perhaps drivers should too.

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