Lower Gas Prices Help Gas Stations

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Gas prices are down about 90 cents from June, and that makes for better business for the Shell gas station in Delta Township.

"When gas prices go down, people generally are happier." said store manager Jeff Kriek. "People do tend to spend more money when it doesn't cost as much for gas. Plus we get more people coming in when there's lower prices."

Most of the money made at gas stations doesn't come from the gas itself, said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association. Rather it's the items in the convenience store that bring in the green.

"Offer[ing] gasoline at a lower price means our customers have more money in their pocket to come inside and buy our convenience store items," Griffin said. "They use gasoline to get folks to come in to buy the pop, candy, cigarettes, milk, all those other things that they sell. And those are the things that keep us in business."

AAA lists the average price of gas in Michigan as $3.43 per gallon. That's down 15 cents from last month.

Gas prices do follow a seasonal cycle, Griffin said. Winter gas is cheaper than summer gas. The lowest gas prices -- typically in December and January -- coincide with the lowest demand.

But Griffin says other factors play a role too.

"Anytime that there's a decrease in the price of crude oil which causes us to have lower cost for gasoline, that's a good thing and consumers should be excited about it," said Griffin. "We certainly are."

And while consumers remain frustrated at the high cost and the quick fluctuations, Griffin says he thinks prices are trending downward.

"As we see more product come available in this country, that there's a likelihood that in the next 5-10 years that we may see cheaper gasoline," he said, adding that more efficient vehicles are helping too. "Following the logical rules of supply and demand, you would assume that that will translate into lower prices at the pump for consumers."

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