Northern Michigan Gas Prices Rise Past $5 per Gallon
“High gas prices, higher than we've ever seen. To say it's going to last throughout the summer- that's impossible to say.” - Gary Bubar, AAA Michigan
Gas prices continue to rise to new highs, most stations all across the state are now at, or above, $5 per gallon as of noon Monday.
Gary Bubar is with Traffic Safety and Public Affairs at AAA Michigan. He says, “The more miles, the more it dips into your pocketbook. How high will it go? That’s anybody’s guess.”
But drivers should get used to it. “There are still parts of the state within the 4.99 point-something per gallon. But I’m not sure how they hold that down. The rest of the state is above $5 per gallon. And even overnight it’s gone up several cents.” Bubar says there is “a lot of pent-up demand in travel, post-COVID. We saw it over Memorial Day and we tend to think it will remain during the summertime.”
The auto club says we’re not at our breaking point yet. Despite a survey they did about ten years ago, it seems our mood has changed. Bubar says “the survey data that AAA had, supported a tipping point of somewhere between $4.25 and $4.50 a gallon where people would change their driving habits and maybe not take that long road trip or maybe not take that RV out the way that they used to. We’ve not seen that so far (this year).”
Traverse City Tourism COO Whitney Waara adds, “The season has started off great, we are really happy seeing the return of travelers.” Despite higher gas prices, people are still traveling. “I think gas prices are going to impact people’s decision making to some extent, I think it’s inevitable. But they’re really looking to adjust their trips. They’re still going to be taking those trips. They might make shifts in terms of where they go. They might stay a little closer to home. I think anybody who’s within that driving distance market is going to be in really good shape this year because there is so much pent-up demand continuing for travel right now,” Waara says.
“The trade-off is going to happen. People are going to be making decisions based off the places they love to go. They’re still excited to spend their resources. They’ve been saving up and having to miss trips in the past. So there’s a lot of energy right now,” she adds.
Bubar agrees. “It depends on how bad you want to go. If you want to take that trip you’ll simply build fuel cost into the price of that vacation. And that can be jet fuel too.” Gas prices are continuing to rise with no immediate end in sight. Cherry Capital Airport says there may be a small window of opportunity before jet fuel prices catch up – making it a good time for you to look into air travel.
Airport Director Kevin Klein says, “If you’re thinking about traveling anywhere between now and the end of the year, now is the time to start booking your travel. The prices of gas are impacting jet fuel. There seems to be a little bit of a lag in what jet prices are and what you see at your gas pump as it goes up. However there is a lag but that lag catches up. That’s why we’re truly telling everybody now is a good time to book your airfare right now. Even for travel later in the year.”
Klein says it’s not just limited to air passengers, either. “We also see that same effect happening in the freight business, where you see a lot of our freight shipped up from downstate, will actually convert to being flown up.”
As for what the future holds? Bubar argues, “To say what’s going to happen between now and July and August? Tough call.”
AAA says there are ways you can save money: plan multiple trips in town together, so you’re not wasting time, or gas, going back and forth. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, that improves gas mileage. And watch for discounts like rewards clubs or stations that offer a discount when you pay in cash. That can also save you a few cents a gallon.