Oil refineries in the region producing higher product volumes compared to last year and the switch from summer blends of fuel to winter blends are helping to drop gas prices at the pump, Tom Collins Sr. said.
Collins said consumers are likely to see lower prices in the fourth quarter although there is the ever-present risk of geopolitical issues that could threaten to hike crude oil prices.
Although there has been a shortage in the gasoline supply on the east and west coast in recent weeks, Collins said the Midwest isn't seeing the same price hikes. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties was $3.47 Friday, down 50 cents from one month ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
"In the Chicago market, we're in pretty good shape," Collins said.
Business at Luke Oil-owned County Line Orchard in Hobart may be reflecting a local economy that's "a bit sluggish" as the amount spent per transaction is lower this season and total traffic was down 20 percent from a year ago. He said this year's traffic was comparable to 2010.