The recent spike at the pump notwithstanding, low gas prices appear to have helped last weekend’s Spring Boating Expo near Detroit and gas will predictably stay low this summer, according to Gas Buddy.
There’s little doubt boating in Michigan is on a roll, said Nicki Polan, executive director of the Michigan Boating Industries Association that produced a successful Spring Boating Expo at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
This sold-out 235,000-square-foot show has proven to be a strong follow-up event in surrounding suburban areas to the MBIA’s big Detroit Boat Show in February.
In some ways, really nice weather in winter isn’t necessarily a friend to Northern boat shows. “We saw some unseasonably warm days to start but we finished out the weekend with strong sales and activity,” Polan said. “Despite an overall drop of 5 percent in attendance, crowds were definitely upbeat and the follow-up purpose of this show was realized.
“Equally exciting is that dealers are also indicating their pleasant surprise at the number of potential new boaters in this year’s mix. With heightened interest, an improving area economy and continued low gas prices, our outlook for the good spring selling season couldn’t be better,” she added.
Supporting that idea, Gas Buddy recently predicted that gas prices will average around $2.63 this May, drifting lower to $2.46 by August and falling back down to near the $2 level before the end of this year.
Traditionally, gas prices will be lowest in the Southeast and Central U.S., where state gas taxes generally tend to be lower.
Low gas prices reflect several overall economic factors, including a strong dollar, the boom in North American petroleum production (albeit seeing some cutbacks with the current oil surplus) and a relatively quiet hurricane season. Many economists have been expecting the low gas prices and the resulting consumer savings to fuel more overall spending and, hopefully, that will include buying new boats.
Last summer’s reduced gas prices triggered increased boating and that can be expected to continue into this coming boating season.