Comment on the December 4 prediction: CORRECT, as we have been hike-free the last two weeks.
Saturday, December 17, 2022, 9AM: What has happened to gas prices in Standale? I built my original Gas Game formulas more than 20 years ago based on monitoring gas prices in Standale, which is a business district in the city of Walker, Michigan. To this day, I drive through Standale regularly, passing six gas stations on Lake Michigan Drive, between I-196 and the county line. But I have found it harder over the past few years to make price predictions based on the dynamics in Standale, and I am thinking about turning my focus to Allendale, seven miles to the west.
This morning, a gallon of gas in Allendale costs $2.65. This is 90 cents cheaper than in Standale! In the past year in Allendale, and nearby Coopersville, two new gas stations have opened — a BP at Lake Michigan Drive and 48th, and a large Mobil/J&H at one of the Coopersville exits on I-96. These two stations joined several at the other Coopersville exit and several more on Lake Michigan Drive, between Grand Valley State University (where I work) and 68th street. The middle of Ottawa County is awash in gasoline! This creates pricing competition, which means a perfect venue to play The Gas Game.
Meanwhile, in Standale, just a 10-minute drive away, there is apparently enough business for all the stations to declare a truce on any gas price wars. They are actually the most expensive spot in Kent County this morning, at $3.56 a gallon. It didn’t use to be this way. Should I blame the new Chick-fil-A?
I don’t know, but I haven’t bought gas in that part of town for months, and I don’t plan to until there is some sort of system-wide reset. If Allendale prices are deciding factor, then we are close to one, since I calculate the 0-cent margin price to be $2.59 this morning. That would correspond to a hike to $2.89-$2.99. Would the stations in Standale lower their prices, if they received a text from Gasoline Central saying the new price is $2.99? I doubt it.
But, fill your tanks in central Ottawa County while you can. I don’t think those prices are going to last. And after Christmas, we’ll have some comments about the 1.4-cent gas tax hike coming on January 1. -EA