Michigan’s soaring gas prices could cushion impact of OPEC oil reduction

Gas Buddy petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan says improvement in refinery outages could mean prices drop below $4 by the end of October
OPEC Oil Prices
OPEC Oil Prices
Posted at 6:35 PM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 18:52:50-04

(WXYZ) — Michiganders are watching as gas prices around the state continue to rise.

OPEC’s announcement Wednesday of a reduction in oil production has many people worried about the future. Yet, recent high prices could prove to be a silver lining, cushioning the impact.

Gail Young, 67, admits things have changed lately.

“I’ve been able to go wherever I want to go and now I’m limited because of the gas prices,” said Young.

She says she’s had to modify how she spends her time.

“I do all my shopping at Eastern Market versus if I want to go out to the suburbs. I enjoy going out to the mall. I can’t go to the mall like I used to,” explained Young.

She said it feels “disgusting.”

Satrice Coleman-Betts is the executive director of St. Patrick’s Senior Center in Detroit. The center helps get people to medical appointments. This requires lots of gas.

“Currently we’re spending about $40,000 dollars a year just on gasoline alone,” explained Coleman-Betts.

She says while high gas prices are hard on everyone, it gets serious for those on fixed incomes.

“Often for us when we have financial issues or budget issues, we go get another job. They don’t actually have that luxury so sometimes they’re decreasing the amount of food they have or the quality of the food or skimping on their medications,” said Coleman-Betts.

She explained how expensive gas can have dire consequences for this population.

“Skimping on your medication so you can actually buy gas and get to your doctor or buy gas to get to your social security office, can be life or death,” Coleman-Betts said.

So what can be done to bring Michiganders relief? Representative Mark Tisdel said the state legislature made an attempt at a gas tax holiday earlier this year.

“Prices are back on the rise. And back in the Spring we did pass in the House of Representatives and the Senate a six-month gas tax holiday which would have been about which would have been about 27.2 cents per gallon advantage to the buyers. But that was vetoed by the governor," explained Tisdel.

He said there’s still time.

“If she is serious about it, we’ll be back in session. I’m vice chair of the tax policy committee. It will rush through my committee. And, I’m sure legislators on both sides of the aisle would eagerly in this election season come back and be able to claim they helped lower taxes,” Tisdel said.

7 Action News reached out to the governor’s office but did not receive comment.

So where does Michigan stand right now compared to the rest of the country when it comes to gas prices?

“Well, right now, it’s probably in the top 25 percent in terms of prices. Along with the West Coast, ” explained Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Many are concerned that OPEC’s decision to slash oil production by 2,000,000 barrels a day will send prices soaring. However, and perhaps surprisingly, De Haan said Michigan’s recent rise in prices cushions us.

“They will rise in some regions because some regions have not had refinery issues. But in areas where prices have already soared in the last two weeks, the OPEC decision is basically not something that will be seen directly at the pump,” said De Haan.

So what can Michiganders expect going forward?

“For the next couple of days, prices might inch up. But I would say that by next week, prices solidly across much of Detroit, much of Michigan really should start to inch down because of improvement with the refinery outages that caused prices to surge. By the end of October, we could see prices back under the 4 dollar a gallon mark, so long as there are no new refinery outages or hurricanes or major disruptions,” said De Haan.

If you are interested in supporting senior services at St. Patrick’s Senior Center, donations can be made here: