Editorial: Gas prices continue to be discouraging

What does this area and Hawaii have in common these days?

As evidence by the weather recently, it certainly isn’t sustained warm weather.

The answer, unfortunately, is the price of gas. Hawaii leads the country with the highest gas prices, where regular unleaded was $4.36 a gallon. At $4.29 a gallon at most stations across Northeast Michigan, we’re not far behind.

We understand Hawaii’s high prices. An island in the Pacific, everything has arrive through port, which only adds to the prices through tariff and port fees. But Michigan? Why are we experiencing such high prices?

Apparently it stems from a Midwest oil refinery that is experiencing some production problems.

“One thing remains the same throughout the United States, and that is we’re still reliant on oil refineries to process crude oil into gasoline,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “When they go partially offline, whether expected or unexpected, there’s going to be tightness in gasoline supply, and that has an almost immediately impact at the gas pump.”

Indeed it did.

Gas prices in Michigan rose 25 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $4.10 in the state. Then, Wednesday, they jumped another 15 cents in many instances. The national average is $3.64, with the lowest prices per gas is $3.18 in South Carolina.

It’s discouraging to know that as of Thursday, we were paying 65 cents more for gas this week than we did a year ago and 47 cents more than last month.

If it weren’t for having to deal with its exhaust system, a horse and buggy looks better and better these days.