Average area prices are a nickel higher than Thursday due to holiday travel, active hurricane forecast.
Eric Morath - The Detroit News - April 7, 2007
The British sailors are free, but local gas prices are going up again. The latest factors being blamed are rising demand, the Easter Bunny and a pessimistic hurricane forecast.
The average gas price in Metro Detroit rose to $2.70 a gallon Friday, up a nickel from Thursday, AAA Michigan reported. Several stations were charging $2.85 or more.
Earlier in the week, Iran's release of the British sailors that had been held hostage caused wholesale prices to dip and helped keep pump prices stable.
Now prices are rising again on reports that, even though it's only April, U.S. demand for gas is nearing levels typically seen in midsummer and this year's hurricane season is expected to be active. Hurricane damage to Gulf Coast refineries would disrupt the supply of oil nationwide.
Short-term, Easter holiday and spring break travel are driving up gasoline demand, assuring that prices will remain high through at least this weekend.
The Oil Price Information Service said gas prices are likely to hit their peak for the first half of the year in the next week or two and then remain near that level into May and June.
Among factors that could cause prices to dip are continued relative calm in the Middle East and refineries reaching full production to meet summer demand, said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association. But, of course, any number of other factors could push prices up.
"You're going to see wild fluctuations because it's an unstable commodity. As long as that's the case, we'll have unstable prices."