Michigan Gas Prices Hit Record Highs

Jackie Royale pumps gas Wednesday at a station in Lansing.
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This latest spike in gas prices being seen across the state are due to a refinery issue in Illinois that has caused a major hiccup in supply in the Midwest.

And many Michigan drivers, like Jackie Royale, are feeling the pinch at the pump this week.

"This is tough," Royale said. "It's hard and I don't make that many adjustments about the travel but I sure see it in the bank account."

With gas prices hovering around $4.29 in many areas around the state, according to GasBuddy.com, the record state-wide average of $4.26 set back in May 2011 has already been broken.

"I'm driving all the time, I get it and I think it's hitting the roof," said Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"My message to the refiners, the wholesalers, the dealers is don't gouge the public and if we see people doing price gouging or price fixing we'll be on the case."

Wednesday's wholesale price for gas was $3.50 per gallon, according to John Griffin, executive director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan.

Griffin said once taxes and shipping charges are added in, most stations are paying about $4.12 per gallon before they put it on sale.

"The margins are really thin even at retail," he said. "What we need to do is get supplies and production back up in the Midwest."

On Wednesday, the highest reported price in Michigan was $4.49 per gallon at a Marathon station on the corner of Okemos and Jolly Road in Okemos, Mich.

This most recent spike is being blamed on a reported issue at an Exxon-Mobile refinery in Illinois.

"We've had some scheduled maintenance that's been going on in some of the refineries in the Chicago area," Griffin said. "But until everything is back up and running we're going to have some supply issues here."

But Griffin did say the current prices shouldn't be sticking around permanently.

Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy.com said another reason for the drastic fluctuations in the Midwest has to do with the fewer number of refineries compared to the South and Gulf regions, which leads to more volatile prices if something goes wrong.

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