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Gas Prices Near Record High

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KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- West Michigan pump prices made a roughly 18-cent jump Monday, but s $4.17 cents as high as it will go this spring?

Fuel analyst Patrick Dehaan at Gas Buddy.com doesn't think so. He says he doesn't expect to get to $5 a gallon as some have predicted, but he says he would not be surprised if a new record is set.

"I certainly don't see a $5 per gallon average," Dehaan said, though he said some areas might reach $5 where gas is most expensive - such as the west coast or perhaps Chicago. 

When the last record was set in 2008, prices fell off sharply afterwards but Dehaan believes that was then and this is now.

"We had the Wall Street banking companies collapse, that sent oil into a dive. This time around we have a much stronger economy," Dehaan said, meaning prices could stay higher for some time to come.

Michigan tourism officials have their fingers crossed that they may be one of the few industries that actually get a boost from the price of filling up, by keeping Michiganders closer to home this summer.

They are already seeing an 18% increase in booking for campsites and a 15% increase in boat slip rentals.

That may just be a sign of an improving economy, but it's good news for the tourism industry either way.

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