AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: September 2013 Trends and Autumn Outlook
Gas Prices in September Dropped at the Fastest Rate in 11 Months
- Gas prices decreased 19 cents per gallon (5.4 percent) in September, which was the largest monthly decline since October 2012. The national average has declined for 29 days in a row, which is the longest consecutive decline since April 2012. Today’s national average of $3.40 per gallon is the lowest since January 30, 2013.
- Gas prices in September averaged $3.52 per gallon, which was the lowest national average for the month since 2010 and 31 cents per gallon cheaper than the monthly average a year ago.
- “Most drivers are paying the lowest gas prices in more than eight months due to abundant gasoline supplies, the end of the summer driving season, lower oil costs and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Supply and demand is working in most consumers’ favor with consumption down and gasoline stocks more than 10 percent higher than a year ago.”
- Refineries have run smoothly with relatively few problems and not a single hurricane affecting production in recent months. Gasoline demand typically falls in September along with long car trips as kids return to school and the weather grows cooler.
- Much of the country switched to using less expensive winter-bend gasoline on September 15. Winter-blend gasoline can cost as much as 10-15 cents per gallon less to produce than the equivalent summer fuel because it is not required to meet stricter air regulations.
- The price of WTI crude oil has declined from recent highs above $110 per barrel in late August to the most recent closing price of $102.80 per barrel, which is about $11 per barrel more expensive than a year ago.
- Despite cheaper gas prices, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has closed above $100 per barrel every day since July 3. This is the longest consecutive period that WTI has remained above $100 per barrel since the summer of 2008, when the national average price of gas reached an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon.
Gas Prices Could Drop 25-30 cents per gallon through December
- “Gas prices could drop another 25-30 cents per gallon to the cheapest averages of the year barring significant refinery problems or higher oil costs,” continued Ash. “Averages in as many as five to ten states could drop below $3.00 per gallon, but there is a floor to how low the national average can go given the very high cost of crude oil.”
- The cheapest national average of 2013 thus far was $3.29 per gallon on January 2. Consumers last paid state averages below $3.00 per gallon in January 2013 in eight states including: Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
- The national average dropped 56 cents per gallon a year ago between October 1 and a low of $3.22 per gallon on December 20. The national average declined three out of the previous five years between the beginning of October and the end of the year.
- The national average declined 26 cents per gallon last October and 13 cents per gallon in October 2011.
Average Gas Prices in the Southeast Nearing $3.00 per Gallon
- The cheapest gas prices are in the Southeastern United States, where access to large
local refineries and lower taxes has helped reduce the cost of gasoline. California has the most expensive prices in the continental United States due to recent refinery problems and high fuel taxes.
- The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.26), Alaska ($3.93), California ($3.92), Connecticut ($3.79) and New York ($3.73). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.09), Missouri ($3.14), Mississippi ($3.15), Virginia ($3.17) and Texas ($3.17).
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, firstname.lastname@example.org.