Gas prices dropping for holiday, but still above Indiana average
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org | 648-3154 May 24, 2012 5:10PM
Vehicles travel on I-65 in Merrillville, Ind. Thursday May 24, 2012 ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:44AM
Meloney Prentice, of Gary, pumped gas into her Chrysler Town and Country minivan Thursday and looked at the $3.79 per gallon sign.
“For $47, I got 12 gallons,” she said.
Prentice said her family would stay home this weekend, despite the Memorial Day holiday. “Gas prices are kind of high. We would normally take a trip to Indianapolis to visit with friends and family.”
This year, with the Indiana gas price average of $3.81 a gallon outpacing the national average of $3.68 a gallon, many families are sitting out the holiday weekend in their own backyards.
“We’ll barbecue at home and gather at my mother’s house in Gary,” said Prentice.
Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said there’s great price volatility in the Great Lakes region. “Generally your highs are higher and lows lower, it averages out about the same.”
Laskoski said gas prices are in a downward trend. “You’ll see your prices go down, there’s some lag time between crude prices going down and retail prices.”
Average gas prices began rising earlier in the year and peaked in March at $4.51 a gallon in the Chicago suburban area and at $4.68 in the city as oil prices spiked due to increased tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Going forward, “the trend for gasoline prices continues to be down,” said oil industry analyst Phil Flynn of Chicago-based PFGBEST.
Benchmark U.S. crude closed at $89.90 a barrel Wednesday, down 2.1 percent, after the government said U.S. oil supplies grew last week by 900,000 barrels and hit the highest level since 1990. Analysts had expected supplies to grow by 750,000 barrels. The price has fallen from a 2012 peak of $110.55 on March 2 and hit the lowest level since October, Flynn said.
“The Iran premium that drove up prices dramatically early in the year is going away,” Flynn said.
While gas is cheaper, AAA’s forecast shows air fares running 7 percent higher than last year, with an average lowest round-trip fare of $189 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.
Gas prices didn’t keep everyone home. The Lahmon family from Delavan, Wisc., hit the road early Thursday en route to Warsaw, Ohio, and stopped in Gary for gas about 11:30 a.m.
“We paid $3.65 a gallon in Wisconsin,” said Andy Lahmon as the family prepared to continue on the nine-hour trip.
It could be worse, Devon Lahmon, a U.S. Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, Calif., said the price there was $4.26 a gallon.
Sun-Times Media staff contributed to this story.