SH shell gas sign

Motorists in the South Haven area received a surprise Monday, June 6, when the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas exceeded the $5 mark at most gas stations throughout the area. It marked the first time that consumers in the South Haven area have had to pay more than $5 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas.

After seeing regular unleaded gas prices topping the $5 mark in other cities throughout the United States over the past month, South Haven residents are now experiencing it for themselves.

Monday evening, the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas rose from $4.95 to $5.19 at most gas stations throughout the South Haven area.

"It's ridiculous," said Breanna Hankins, Tuesday afternoon, at BP gas station in South Haven. "I normally fill up the tank, but I'm putting in $30."

Hankins, who lives in Grand Junction, commutes to work at the Meijer store in South Haven. "I'm hoping prices will go down a little bit," she said.

Mea Reyes of South Haven voiced similar comments. "I'm now putting $35 in or so, not filling up," she said, while putting gas in her tank at Broadway Shell.

"I looked at the gas prices this morning and thought, 'how are we going to make it?'" she said regarding herself and her family.

Reyes commutes back and forth from South Haven to her job in Grand Rapids where she works as a caretaker. "My daughter lives in Grand Rapids. My son lives in Coloma. I live in South Haven. This isn't easy."

Gas station attendants at both BP and Broadway Shell commented they've heard the lament, since Monday evening, from motorists purchasing gas.

"Nobody likes it," said a clerk at BP.

GasBuddy, which reports gas prices throughout the United States reported on Monday that the average gasoline prices in Michigan rose 47.1 cents per gallon from the previous week, averaging $5.05 per gallon, according to online company's survey of 4,913 stations in Michigan. Prices in Michigan, as of Monday, were 73.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand $2.07 per gallon higher than a year ago. The price of diesel rose 11.5 cents nationally over the previous week and stands at $5.62 per gallon.

Meanwhile, the national average price of gasoline as of Monday rose 26 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $4.85. The national average is up 56 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.81 per gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.

The sad news is prices may continue to increase, according to an analyst at GasBuddy.

“After a blistering week of gas prices jumping in nearly every town, city, state and area possible, more bad news is on the horizon. It now appears not if, but when, we'll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity than we had prior to Covid and strong consumption, a situation that doesn't look to improve drastically anytime soon. Nine states have average gas prices that stand beyond the $5 per gallon mark, with more set to join in the days and weeks ahead. In addition, diesel prices also stand at a record high, a second gut-punch to consumers which pushes prices of most goods higher."

South Haven area residents may be able to take a bit of comfort in knowing that gas prices are somewhat higher elsewhere, such as Chicago, Ill.

When asked what they thought about the high gas prices in South Haven on Tuesday, a couple from Chicago who were at the BP station, said they're paying $7 a gallon where they live in the Windy City.

"This is cheap," the Chicago man remarked.