Tropical Storm Isaac Impacts Michigan Gas Prices
FOX 47 News
Photo: Video by fox47news.com
It may be more than 1,000 miles away, but the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac will be felt here in Michigan.
Heavy rains and high winds in the Gulf could mean higher gas prices in the Midwest, and just days before people hit the road for Labor Day Weekend.
"You can't fight Mother Nature," said Linda Mudge, who filled up Monday morning anticipating rising gas prices.
Mother Nature has already shut down some oil refineries for safety reasons in the Gulf Coast, where Michigan gets about a third of its oil supply.
"They're the backbone of the refining industry in the U.S.," said Executive Director of Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan John Griffin. "They supply the Midwest, so if the Gulf Coast has some problems, we're going to experience some of that."
Experts at gasbuddy.com estimate gas prices could increase to at least $4 a gallon, which has travelers worried. Mudge is foregoing her usual Labor Day Weekend trip to Lake Michigan.
"We can't go anywhere," Mudge said. "We're staying home because the gas prices are just too high."
Higher gas prices don't have to mean completely scrapping a vacation though. Pure Michigan said people can take advantage of what their own towns have to offer, plus many businesses are still offering discounts for the holiday weekend.
"Some of our convention visitors bureaus and other attractions around the state have been really making an effort to make it easier for people to still make that trip," said Pure Michigan spokesperson David Lorenz. "So, they're offering deals where you stay for two nights, maybe you get that third night free or if you stay for three nights or whatever, you get a free meal."
But remember, Michigan residents don't always have to travel far.
"We literally have great places to visit right in your own backyard," Lorenz said. "We're never more than five miles away from a major river, lake, stream. We touch on four of the Great Lakes."
For many, that's a nice enough alternative to pain at the pump.
"We're going to make the best of it," Mudge said. "I'm probably going to have an outdoor barbecue and have some friends over, and celebrate Labor Day at home."
In the meantime, experts recommend people conserve gas, and keep buying patterns normal to help prices be less volatile in the next week.
Gas prices could go down after Labor Day Weekend, according to gasbuddy.com, but it all depends on how long oil production has to be decreased in the Gulf due to Isaac.