Is Michigan’s Favorite Winter Vehicle Fluid Getting More and More Expensive?
Maybe it's just me, maybe it's one of those supply chain shortages or inflation we've been hearing so much about but either way, it feels as if I'm spending more than ever on windshield washer fluid this Michigan winter.
Michigan's Winter Windshield Washer Fluid Use
I would absolutely love to see the official statistics of how many gallons of washer fluid Michigan goes through in an average year and, more specifically, in the winter because if my own personal use is any indication...it's a LOT.
Of course, a lot of people use it more for either its defrosting properties, but also you use it more just driving down the highway as other vehicles are spraying wet salt and dirty snow up there and it leaves dry, nasty streaks on your windshield.
While I understand that it does not take Scooby Doo to figure out why we Michiganders would use more in the winter than other states, we did look to Google Trends data to see how often Michiganders were Googling the search term "windshield washer fluid" in comparison to other states.
We made sure to get as specific as we could, and set the date range for the months Michigan typically gets snow, November through March (excluding any freak snowstorms that may happen before or after).
From November 1st, 2020 to March 31st, 2021, Michigan did rank among the top 20 states searching "Windshield washer fluid" coming in at a cool 19th place.
Comparing that to where we currently find ourselves, from November 1st, 2021 to the time of writing this, February 21st, 2022, Michigan currently ranks in the top 10 for searching "windshield washer fluid."
Coming in at number seven, is it too early to deduce that Michigan has been USING more washer fluid this year than 41 other states?
Is There a Windshield Washer Fluid Shortage?
It's been a pretty average winter so far, we've had our particularly "gross" and snow-stormy days. Why does it feel like we either are using more fluid or at least paying more for it?
While doing a deep dive on the internet, we tried to see if there was, in fact, a shortage that could be affecting the price and/or the quality of washer fluid but came up short, only finding people asking the same question(s).
However, once we learned one of the key chemicals in making wiper fluid is Methanol, we were able to specify our search and found some interesting information.
North America's Methanol Supply and Demand
According to S&P Global, worldwide Methanol markets were a bit concerned heading from 2020 into 2021 as production was idled due to the ongoing battle with the global pandemic we still find ourselves in.
However, ChemAnalyst reports that for the last quarter of 2021, methanol were trending a bit higher than usual.
"Moving towards the end of Q4 2021, methanol consumption in automobile industry is also spotted to be on the higher side," ChemAnalyst specified. "US Methanol two largest marketers Methanex and Southern Chemical sales revenue increase with increase in the demand of Methanol as a fuel industry."
Have You Been Paying More For Washer Fluid This Winter?
If you've found yourself winding down this washer fluid reservoir of information (that's more relevant here than just saying "rabbit hole" right?) with us here, we really find ourselves knowing that demand is higher for Methanol as both fuel, washer fluid and other uses.
That being said, it is especially needed in states like Michigan who have some pretty messy, gross winters and, therefore, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility that with all these factors combined, we have been paying more for windshield washer fluid this winter.
Now that I feel like one of those crazy people you see on TV connecting all sorts of photos and information with a red piece of string, I also feel vindicated and satisfied and will now further dread going to refill my washer fluid tank every two days because of my faulty sprayers.
"Thank you for coming to my TED Talk."
LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving