Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | September 23, 2013
(WASHINGTON, September 23, 2013) The national average price at the pump has fallen for 22 straight days, which is the longest streak in 2013. Today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.47 per gallon. This price is a nickel less expensive than one week ago, seven cents less than one month ago and 35 cents less than the same day last year.
On July 18 American motorists faced this year’s largest year-over-year premium at the pump of an average of more than 26 cents per gallon. Two months later on September 19 drivers enjoyed a more than 36-cent discount compared to the same date in 2012.
Drivers in every state and D.C. are paying less for gasoline than one year ago. The magnitude of this discount varies greatly depending on what state you’re filling up in. Alaska (-7 cents) is the only state where pump prices aren’t at least a dime lower, while motorists in Hawaii and three Mountain States (Wyo., Mont. and Idaho) have seen prices decline by 15 cents or less. This is a stark contrast to the ten states across the country where prices are 40 cents or more below the same date in 2012 (Ark., N.J., N.D., Wisc., N.C., Mo., S.C., Va., Ill. and Minn.).
The regional variation is also evident when comparing more recent price movement. Over the last two weeks prices in just three Western states have increased (Calif., Nev. and Wash.) while the price in a fourth (Ore.) is just fractions of a penny lower. This compares to the 11 states – largely in the Midwest and South – where prices have fallen by a dime or more, including the two states (Mo. and Minn.) where prices have plunged by 20 cents or more.
Higher prices paid in this handful of Western states have been due to refinery issues in California, which sent retail prices higher amid concerns surrounding the impact to regional supply. Prices in these states have retreated over the last week as supply concerns have eased. East of the Rockies, the beginning of the shift to cheaper winter-blend gasoline has helped lead prices lower, although the Midwest bears watching as recent planned and unplanned maintenance at regional refineries has already seen prices in Mich., Ind. and Ohio jump in recent days.
Barring a hurricane or other unexpected disruption to gasoline production and distribution, AAA expects that retail prices will continue lower in the coming months, as sufficient supplies, flat demand and cheaper winter-blend gasoline mean motorists are likely to pay less to fill their tanks.
As retail gas prices have drifted lower in much of the country West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have remained above $100 per barrel but pulled back somewhat from the recent multi-year high of $110.10 on August 28. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled $1.16 lower at $103.59 per barrel — the lowest price since August 8.