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AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: October 2013 Trends and November Outlook

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

Americans Paying Cheapest Gas Prices of the Year Following October Declines

  • Americans are paying the cheapest gas prices of the year following a 12 cent per gallon (3.5 percent) decline in October. Today’s national average is $3.279 per gallon, which is slightly higher than Tuesday’s low of $3.278 per gallon. Tuesday’s average was the lowest since Dec. 28, 2012.
  •  “There are fewer frowns on drivers’ faces as they leave gas stations given recent price declines,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. “Abundant supplies, declining demand, falling oil costs and the switch to winter-blend gasoline have helped push gas prices down in every single state.”
  • The average price of gas in October was $3.34 per gallon, which was the cheapest for the month since 2010. The average in October 2012 was $3.71 per gallon and it was $3.43 per gallon in 2011. The monthly average also declined from September this year, when it was $3.51 per gallon.
  • Today’s national average is 24 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago, and drivers have paid less than last year to fill up for 87 consecutive days.
  • The national average price of gas has fallen 52 out of 59 days since Labor Day for a total of 31 cents per gallon. Demand typically drops following Labor Day as the weather grows cooler, while gasoline supplies are about seven percent higher than a year ago.
  • The lack of a major hurricane this year has helped refineries run relatively smoothly and maintain ample production. Many refineries also have increased capacity to take advantage of growing North American crude oil production to make more gasoline.
  • Much of the country switched to using less expensive winter-bend gasoline in September and October. 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 national average price of gas began the year at $3.29 per gallon on January 1 and reached a peak of $3.79 per gallon on February 27, which was the earliest peak price on record.
  • The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil recently dropped below $100 per barrel after remaining above that price for 15 weeks. Oil remains relatively expensive at the most recent WTI closing price of $96.77 per barrel, which is more than $10 per barrel higher than a year ago.

Average Gas Prices Could Drop Nearly 20 Cents per Gallon by Year’s End

  • AAA expects the national average price of gas could drop to a low of about $3.10 per gallon before the year ends, which would be the cheapest average since February 2011. As many as ten states or more could see local averages drop below $3.00 per gallon.
  • “Expect a nice holiday bonus in the form of much cheaper gas prices,” continued Ash. “The national average should get tantalizingly close to $3 per gallon, and many consumers will find bargains below that price before the year is over.”
  • The national average declined four out of the previous five years from the beginning of November through the end of the year for an average of 22 cents per gallon. The national average dropped 30 cents per gallon a year ago between October 1 and the low of $3.22 per gallon on December 20.
  • The annual average for 2013 likely will be the cheapest since 2010 and is currently at $3.54 per gallon. Last year’s annual average of $3.60 per gallon was the most expensive on record.

More than One-in-Ten Gas Stations Charging Less than $3 per Gallon

  • Approximately 13 percent of U.S. gas stations are charging less than $3 per gallon today for gas. The state of Missouri currently is the only state with an average below $3, but averages in six states are within 10 cents of reaching that price. Consumers in 34 states can find at least one station selling gas for less than $3 per gallon today.
  • One year after Hurricane Sandy, the storm-impacted region is paying an average of about 50-60 cents per gallon less than peak prices following the storm. Peak gas prices last year following Sandy included:
  • $3.65 per gallon in New Jersey on Nov. 9 compared to $3.16 per gallon today
  • $4.17 per gallon in Long Island on Nov. 11 compared to $3.56 per gallon today
  • $4.17 per gallon in New York City on Nov. 13 compared to $3.64 per gallon today
    • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.09), Alaska ($3.79), California ($3.70), Connecticut ($3.64) and New York ($3.59). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Missouri (2.91), Texas ($3.04), Arkansas ($3.04), Oklahoma ($3.06) and Kansas ($3.07).

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, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

 

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