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Northern Michigan town first to see sub-$1 fuel prices

A price war in northern Michigan has driven gas prices below a dollar a gallon, marking the first time in decades that American consumers have experienced such affordable fuel prices.

According to Detroit's ABC affiliate, WXYZ, the Beacon & Bridge Market in Houghton Lake, a popular northern Lower Peninsula vacation destination, dropped the price of 87-octane fuel to just 78 cents a gallon yesterday, while another report from an NBC affiliate in Clio, MI came out late yesterday showing prices at just 47 cents a gallon. A Marathon station across the street was offering $0.98/gallon gas. But don't hop in your car and head Up North just yet – is reporting that prices at both stations are back to more normal levels, with $1.46 at the B&B and $1.47 at the Marathon. That's still well below the state average of $1.72.

These prices are truly remarkable when you put them in a national context. For example, according to Department of Energy data, the prices in Houghton were far, far lower than the lowest national average ever recorded, which was 1998, when a gallon of regular was going for just $1.06, which is $1.54 in today's dollars (we used the Consumer Price Index online calculator, while the DoE data adjusted for inflation using the Gross Domestic Product Inflation Index).

Now, the Houghton Lake prices are going to be obvious outliers in any set of data, and of course, we're comparing them with 12-month averages for effect. But they're further proof that gas prices are charging towards staggering new lows, and serve as the earliest proof that stories like this one from USA Today, and reports like this from AAA do indeed have some weight to them.

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