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

Michael Green

(WASHINGTON, December 2, 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

Refinery Problems Send Prices Back to Where They Started in November

  • The national average price of gas ended November just a fraction of a cent less than it began despite significant price changes during the month. Gas prices were $3.275 on Nov.1 and were $3.274 on Nov. 30.
  • “It was a frustrating month for many drivers as hopes for $3 per gallon gasoline slipped away due to unexpected refinery problems and tightening supplies,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Despite the recent uptick, gas prices fortunately remain noticeably less expensive than in recent years.”
  • Gas prices reached a national average of $3.18 per gallon on Nov. 12, which was the lowest average since Feb. 22, 2011. After climbing for 15 days in a row, the national average has now fallen for five consecutive days.
  • The average price of gas in November was $3.23 per gallon, which was the least expensive for the month since 2010. The average in November 2012 was $3.44 per gallon and it was $3.38 per gallon in 2011. The monthly average also declined from October’s average of $3.34 per gallon.
  • Gas prices increased during the second half of November primarily due to unexpected refinery problems that limited gasoline production. These problems included planned and unplanned maintenance that took longer than expected to fix. Many of these issues occurred along the U.S. Gulf Coast, which resulted in ripple effects across the eastern half of the country.
  • Gas prices on average have dropped about 33 cents per gallon since Labor Day and the end of the busy summer driving season.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has dropped to the most recent settlement price of $93.82 per barrel. Domestic oil prices last week were the cheapest in about seven months.

Gas Prices Could Drop 10-15 Cents per Gallon by the End of the Year

  • “Gas prices could drop another 10-15 cents per gallon by the end of the year if supplies build as expected,” continued Ash. The declining price of crude oil and rising gasoline prices have given refineries an incentive to make more gasoline, which should be good for most drivers.”
  • Gas prices often reach a low for the year in the middle of December. The national average reached a low of $3.22 per gallon on Dec. 20, 2012, and reached a low of $3.21 per gallon on Dec. 21, 2011.
  • The national average declined three out of the previous five years in December for an average of six cents per gallon.
  • The annual average for 2013 likely will be the cheapest since 2010 and is currently at $3.51 per gallon. Last year’s annual average of $3.60 per gallon was the most expensive on record.

One in Ten U.S. Stations Selling Gas for Less than $3 per Gallon

  • Approximately one-in-ten U.S. gas stations are charging less than $3 per gallon today, while drivers can find a station selling gas below that price in 35 states. This is significantly less than at the middle of November when one in four stations were selling gas below $3 per gallon.
  • Today’s national average of $3.27 per gallon is 12 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago and is the cheapest for this day since 2010. The most common price at U.S. stations today is $3.099 per gallon.
    • Drivers in two states are paying an average less than $3 per gallon including Missouri and Oklahoma. Averages in six additional states are within a dime of $3 per gallon and could drop below that price by the end of the year.
    • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($3.93), Alaska ($3.65), Connecticut ($3.64), New York ($3.64) and California ($3.58). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Missouri ($2.94), Oklahoma ($2.97), Kansas ($3.00), Montana ($3.04) and New Mexico ($3.06).

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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