Monday, May 02, 2011

A New Record


This might be just a West Michigan thing. For now, anyway. (Edit: Nope. $4.29 in Saginaw as well.)

Gas prices today were surging past record highs in West Michigan, moving to $4.29 at many stations.

Today's spike is likely directed related to reported problems at an oil refinery in the Chicago area, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with

The record high in the Grand Rapids area before today was $4.25 in summer 2008.

Even at that, the average price in Michigan was $4.15 last week, up $1.26 a gallon from this time last year.

Um, yikes. Scary report was released just a few days ago on how this is starting to affect auto sales...

Analysts worry that first-quarter momentum in U.S. car and light truck sales is tapering off — a sign the industry's recovery could be a rougher ride than they'd anticipated.

April started strong, but took a dive as gas prices spiked, storms ravaged the Midwest and South, and parts supply shortages in earthquake-stricken Japan squeezed new car and truck inventories, analysts say.

Those April numbers should be good because of the strong start, but May? That is the month to watch. If this keeps up, it just may stall the fragile recovery. Manufacturing overall has started to slow down as well - a leading indicator that we may be headed for trouble again.

Buy that fuel-efficient car yet? Better hurry, they are starting to run low...

UPDATE: The SE Michigan Purchasing Managers Index - a good barometer on the state's economy - is still showing strong growth, but it has dropped a bit, from 71.8 to 67.9 (anything over 50 indicates growth). Hiring has dipped slightly as well, and commodity prices were up across the board. So, as of April, we are still showing 15 straight months of growth here in the state - hope it maintains.