When I last updated the local gas price war, the corner station won a battle in the gas war by dropping its price.
Sunday, the corner station dropped its price for regular to $3.49 while it sold premium at 15 cents higher, $3.64, instead of the usual dime. I thought that was odd. Monday morning, I found out why. The three stations down the street were selling regular for $3.55 and premium for $3.65. That meant the corner station was undercutting the competition by the usual one cent on premium, but six cents on regular. This morning, the three stations down the block relented and dropped regular to $3.49. That's not the usual scenario. Usually, it's the corner station that tries to raise prices, not lower them.Last Thursday, the corner station lowered its price to $3.39, back where it was at the end of June. Today, it was still selling gas at that price, along with the three stations down the street. On the way home, I filled up my tank, since I didn't know how long the price will stay down, despite the good news from USA Today via the Detroit Free Press: Relief at the pump: Gas prices on the decline.
Consumers are about to get a break at the gas pump for the rest of 2013 and much of 2014.That was Saturday. Yesterday, more good news arrived, as the Detroit Free Press repeated the Associated Press report that gas prices fell 16 cents in Michigan over past week. The average price Monday for the state was $3.50. That means I got gas at more than a dime below the Michigan average again. As I wrote last time, I can't complain.
Gasoline prices typically head lower after the peak summer driving season, and despite a blip Friday, wholesale prices reflecting September levels are slumping. Coupled with ample supplies and lower autumn demand, the national average price of regular-grade gasoline is likely to fall to about $3.40 in the coming weeks. That's about a 6% drop from today's $3.56 national average.
Prices look even brighter for 2014 after three straight years of rising prices. The federal Energy Information Administration forecasts 2014 will average $3.37 a gallon, vs. an estimated $3.52 a gallon for 2013. That would be the lowest national average since 2010, when gasoline averaged about $2.80.
Wholesale gasoline prices have been sliding. Despite a nearly 2% jump Friday to $2.90 a gallon, they're down from about $3.20 since late July.