Archive for the ‘Fuel’ Category

Gas Prices More than $1 Cheaper than 2015 High

February 1st, 2016 by KerrieNew

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington, February 1, 2016) Drivers are saving more than $1 per gallon ($1.01) from the 2015 peak price reached this past June, and the national average has spent 32 consecutive days below the $2 per gallon benchmark. Today’s average price of $1.80 per gallon is the lowest price for gasoline since January 2009. Gas prices have fallen for 24 of the past 26 days, and the combination of seasonal reductions in gasoline demand and the relatively lower price for crude oil are likely to help keep prices low in the near term.  Retail averages are discounted by three cents per gallon on the week, 20 cents per gallon on the month and 26 cents per gallon on the year.

 

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The imbalance between supply and demand and the resolution of distribution and refinery issues, is contributing to falling prices at the pump. The national average had been under some upward pressure due to regional price spikes, the most notable in California because of lingering refinery issues. These supply challenges appear to be all but resolved, and according to the California Energy Commission gasoline supply in the state grew for the fourth consecutive week, and erased what had been a year-over-year deficit. Supply in the Midwest is also reportedly at comfortable levels and although prices in the region can be volatile, any upward swings may be offset by falling prices in other regional markets. Barring any major supply or distribution issues, and if the price of crude remains depressed, the national average remains poised to continue lower approaching the spring maintenance season.

Consumers in 43 states are paying averages below $2 per gallon. The nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline are Oklahoma ($1.49) and Missouri ($1.50), and drivers in a total of 25 states are paying averages below the $1.75 per gallon threshold.  Hawaii ($2.63) regained its spot at the nation’s most expensive market for gasoline, and drivers in the state are paying a nickel per gallon more than second-place California ($2.58). As mentioned, pump prices in the Golden State appear to be easing, largely due to the state’s gasoline supply reaching its highest mark since 2014 following the resolution of refinery issues. Alaska ($2.42), Nevada ($2.27) and Washington ($2.16) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for gasoline.

 

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Pump prices in the vast majority of states (46) are discounted on the week, and drivers in 15 states are saving a nickel or more per gallon at the pump over this same period.  The largest weekly savings are for drivers in California (-9 cents), Washington (-8 cents), Oregon (-8 cents) and North Dakota (-7 cents).   On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in five states are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. Prices are up more than a nickel per gallon in the Midwestern states of Ohio (+8 cents), Indiana (+6 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents). This comes on the heels of last week’s report, where prices in the region were down double digits week-over-week.

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Drivers nationwide are benefitting from monthly savings of a nickel or more in the price to refuel their vehicles.  With the exception of Hawaii (-5 cents) and Alaska (-6 cents), motorists in every state are experiencing double-digit savings in the price at the pump. Averages in 10 states are down by a quarter or more per gallon month-over-month, led by Illinois (-33 cents), Oregon (-33 cents) and Washington (-31 cents).

Retail averages typically fall during the winter months, due to reduced driving demand, and pump prices slid sharply in the final months of 2015. This is causing the magnitude of the yearly savings to narrow and has also led to a handful of states reflecting yearly premiums. Pump prices are discounted on the year in 45 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in 28 states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than quarter per gallon year-over-year.  Indiana (-57 cents) is the only state where pump prices are down by more than 50 cents per gallon versus this same date last year. Gas prices are higher on the year in California (+14 cents), Idaho (+13 cents), Nevada (+5 cents), Utah (+3 cents) and Washington (+2 cents).

Market fundamentals continue to point to supply outpacing demand; however, crude oil prices have been subject to some speculation about when and if prices have reached their bottom. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate rallied to close out last week, movement that was largely attributed to reports that Russia and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member Saudi Arabia may meet discuss potential production cuts. The feasibility of both countries agreeing to these cuts remains in question, and the global oil market will also have to contend with Iranian oil returning to the global market following the removal of sanctions.

U.S. production also remains a key variable in the global equation, and despite the lower price environment domestic crude oil inventories continue to test record levels. The impact of the removal of the decades old crude oil export ban is also a question in regard to production and global oil supply and has been cited as the central reason the gap between WTI and Brent prices has closed.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 40 cents and settled at $33.62 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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U.S. Average Gas Prices Under $2 for 25 Days and Counting

January 25th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington, January 25, 2016) Gas prices have spent 25 consecutive days below $2 per gallon and could head lower still as reduced seasonal demand and falling crude oil costs combine to send pump prices to the lowest mark in six years. Today’s average price of $1.83 per gallon is the cheapest price since January 2009, and retail averages have fallen for 69 of the past 80 days for a total savings of 40 cents per gallon over this span. Crude oil supply continues to outpace demand, which has helped push gas prices down by seven cents on the week, 18 cents on the month and 21 cents on the year.

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A historic blizzard hit the Northeast over the weekend. The Mid-Atlantic was the hardest region hit, and a number of states in the area received more than two feet of snow. Severe weather can make it difficult for refiners to produce gasoline and can create hurdles for getting the product to market. However, storms also keep drivers off of roads, which can limit demand. Early reports indicate that PBF Energy shut down its Delaware City refinery, citing power failure due to the blizzard conditions. Averages in the region could possibly move higher in the coming days if refinery and distribution problems persist.

Motorists in just 11states and Washington, D.C. are paying an average above $2 per gallon. California ($2.67) continues to lead the market, however the resolution of refinery issues in the state has narrowed the difference between the Golden State and second-place Hawaii ($2.63). Regional neighbors Alaska ($2.44), Nevada ($2.34) and Washington ($2.24) round out the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Consumers in Oklahoma ($1.53) and Missouri ($1.54) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump, followed by the Midwestern states of Indiana ($1.55), Ohio ($1.56) and Michigan ($1.59).

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Weekly price comparisons reflect that consumers nationwide are enjoying savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down in the majority of states (29) by a nickel or more per gallon, and prices in four states located in the Midwest: Michigan (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents) are down double-digits. With refinery utilization rates reportedly running at upwards of 98 percent and gasoline inventories also building, drivers in the region are likely to continue to benefit from noticeable savings at the pump. Nevertheless, gas prices in the region are often unpredictable and changes in the market can happen quickly.

Consumers in nearly every state (49) are benefitting from more than a nickel per gallon in savings month-over-month. Retail averages are down double-digits in 46 states and Washington, D.C., and prices are down a quarter or more per gallon in a total of five states. Similar to week-over-week comparisons, the largest discounts are in the Midwest: Ohio (-36 cents), Indiana (-36 cents), Michigan (-33 cents) and Illinois (-29 cents). Alaska is the only state to buck this trend, and prices are up by a nickel per gallon on the month.

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Pump prices remain discounted year-over-year in the majority of states (45), though the magnitude of yearly savings continues to narrow because retail averages had already fallen dramatically in January 2015. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump and prices are discounted by more than 50 cents per gallon in two states: Hawaii (-63 cents) and Indiana (-52 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are higher on the year in California (+21 cents), Idaho (+17 cents), Nevada (+13 cents), Utah (+7 cents) and Washington (+7 cents).

Global oversupply and the anticipation that additional oil will soon enter the market with the lifting of sanctions on Iran, contributed to both benchmarks—Brent and West Texas Intermediate—trading last week at lows unseen since 2003. Market fundamentals remain unchanged and a “lower-for-longer” sentiment is beginning to prevail amongst speculators. Talks are now shifting to whether the market has reached its bottom and if, or when, the necessary adjustments in supply will occur in order to help bring the crude oil market more into balance.

To the surprise of many and despite this bearish sentiment, both benchmarks closed out the week with a two-day rally.  This shift is likely the result of trading volatility and is not attributed to any correction in the imbalance between supply and demand. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up nearly 9.5 percent, with a gain of $2.66 to settle at $32.19 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Michael Green Contact Tile(January 19, 2016) – Tumbling crude oil prices around the world have helped send the national retail average price for gasoline to its lowest mark since February 2009. Retail averages have fallen for 63 of the past 74 days, for a total savings of 34 cents per gallon, reaching today’s price of $1.88 per gallon. Gas prices are down seven cents per gallon on the week, which is the fastest pace gas prices have dropped since the middle of November. Motorists typically enjoy falling gasoline prices in early winter due to decreased demand for gasoline and that also is helping to push prices downwards. Despite recent declines, the national average price of gas is only 18 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago since prices also were very low in early 2015.

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The price of crude oil has dropped more than 70 percent compared to the June 2014 high ($107.26 per barrel), and expectations that both global and domestic supply will continue to outpace demand are helping drivers to save at the pumps. The rout in oil prices continued over the past week and crude oil settled below the $30 per barrel benchmark for the first time since 2003. AAA previously estimated the annual average price of gas in 2016 will be $2.25-$2.45 per gallon, although the sharp decline in oil costs since the year began has the potential to lead to even lower gas prices if global oversupply and economic concerns persist.

A total of 38 states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, and drivers in Oklahoma ($1.59), Missouri ($1.62) and Alabama ($1.65) are paying the nation’s lowest prices. Gas prices are below the $1.75 benchmark in 17 states, which is seven states more than a week ago. Retail averages in California ($2.75) continue to be the most expensive in the nation and are relatively high due to lingering refinery issues impacting supply in the region. The Golden State is followed by regional neighbors: Hawaii ($2.63), Alaska ($2.48), Nevada ($2.41) and Washington ($2.32).

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Gas prices are down week-over-week in every state, with the largest drop during this span in the Midwest. Prices in this region are known to be volatile, and swings in production and distribution are generally reflected in the price at the pump. With refineries running smoothly and supply outpacing demand, motorists in Indiana (-16 cents), Ohio (-16 cents), Michigan (-15 cents) and Kentucky (-12 cents) are saving the most on the week. Consumers in more than half of states (32) are saving at least a nickel per gallon over this same period.

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With the exception of Alaska (+9 cents) and California (+4 cents), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, consumers nationwide are benefitting from monthly savings in the price of gasoline. Of the states posting discounts, pump prices are down by a nickel or more per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C. month-over-month, and averages in 39 states and Washington, D.C. are down by a dime or more per gallon over this same period. The largest monthly savings are being enjoyed by motorists in: Montana (-20 cents), Oklahoma (-20 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Missouri (-16 cents) and Illinois (-16 cents).

Retail averages had tumbled dramatically as of January of last year, and as a result the comparative savings at the pump are narrowing. However, the majority of drivers continue to experience yearly savings. Prices are down in 45 states and Washington, D.C. on the year and motorists in a total of 39 states and Washington, D.C. are benefitting from double-digit savings. Hawaii (-69 cents) is the only state posting a year-over-year savings of more than 50 cents per gallon. Drivers in five states are paying more than one year ago: California (+25 cents), Idaho (+20 cents), Nevada (+16 cents), Washington (+7 cents) and Utah (+5 cents).

Although oil prices did tick higher briefly mid-week, they were sent back lower  by last week’s end reportedly due to the assessment that Iranian oil will reenter the market is being viewed as more of a reality. Lower-for-longer prices are also beginning to lead to speculation about what has been described as “collateral damage,” which is essentially the impact of lower oil prices on other assets and markets. Reports are surfacing about future prices and estimates of anticipated losses in production from non-OPEC countries. Many expect the oil market to begin to rebalance in 2016, but a number of questions remain. Specifically, a central focus will be the impact of Iranian oil returning to market, and if any changes in global oil demand will be significant enough to help offset some of the current glut in supply.

WTI closed out last week down $1.78 and at $29.42 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed yesterday in observance of the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Michael Green Contact Tile(January 11, 2016) Gas prices continue to drop to multi-year lows, with today’s average price of $1.97 per gallon representing the cheapest average price at the pump since March 23, 2009. Gas prices have fallen for 55 of the past 66 days for a total savings of 26 cents per gallon and should remain relatively low because there is more than enough oil and gasoline around the world to meet demand.  Drivers are saving three cents per gallon on the week, five cents per gallon on the month and 17 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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California continues to weather ongoing refinery issues and remains the most expensive state for gasoline. The Golden State ranks third in the nation in refining capacity and refineries in the state typically operate at higher-than-average levels to meet demand. Disruptions in production generally lead to noticeable spikes in the price at the pump, which are often exacerbated due to the market’s relative isolation and specific fuel requirements. Consumers in the region will likely experience price swings in the near term due to both planned and unplanned maintenance, and this could increase the national average price of gas even as prices drop in other parts of the country.

As a result of these supply challenges, California ($2.86) remains the most expensive market for gas ahead of second-place Hawaii ($2.67). Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.49), Alaska ($2.47) and Washington ($2.42) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. On the other end of the spectrum, Missouri ($1.66) and Oklahoma ($1.70) are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline. Motorists in 36 states are paying an average of less than $2 per gallon at the pump, and retail averages in 10 states are at or below the $1.75 per gallon benchmark.

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The vast majority of drivers are experiencing weekly savings at the pump. Discounts in the price of gas are less dramatic than in previous reports, and Oregon (-6 cents) is the only state where averages are down by more than a nickel per gallon week-over-week. Alaska is the only state where consumers are paying more to refuel their vehicles in comparison to one week ago, and retail averages moved higher by fractions of a penny over this same period.

Motorists in 45 states and Washington, D.C. are paying less to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Drivers in Montana (-22 cents), North Dakota (-16 cents), Missouri (-15 cents) and South Dakota (-14 cents) are benefiting from the largest monthly savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down by a dime or more per gallon in a total of 13 states, and drivers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. are benefiting from monthly discounts of a nickel or more per gallon. Consumers in five states are paying more at the pump versus one month ago, though California (+20 cents) and Alaska (+6 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than a nickel.

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Yearly savings are growing smaller because gas prices also were relatively low in January 2015, though the drivers in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are still saving because the cost of crude oil is lower today than a year ago. Hawaii (-75 cents) is the only state where prices are lower by  more than 50 cents per gallon versus this same date last year, and motorists in a total of 20 states and Washington, D.C. are savings a quarter or more per gallon at the pump. Consumers in four states: California (+25 cents), Idaho (+14 cents) Nevada (+14 cents) and Washington (+5 cents) are paying more for gas than a year ago.

Both oil benchmarks have posted losses for every day of trading in 2016, and as a result, closed out the week at lows unseen in more than a decade. Expectations that prices will continue to hover at multi-year lows are beginning to surface and market watchers are paying close attention to both China and the Middle East. Growth in China’s economy was once seen as a factor that could offset some of the market’s imbalance, though there is more uncertainty now that concerns over its economy continue to grow. Additionally, unlike historical trends where geopolitical instability in the Middle East has led to reductions in supply, the severing of diplomatic ties between Iran and other nations may lead to even more oil production within the region.

WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 11 cents, settling at $33.16 per barrel. This represents a loss of approximately 10 percent on the week and was the benchmark’s lowest settlement since February 9, 2004.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Average U.S. Gas Prices Begin 2016 Under $2 per Gallon

January 4th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington – January 4, 2016) Gas prices rang in the New Year by reaching the lowest average price ($1.997) for the holiday since 2009.  Today’s average price of $1.99 per gallon is the cheapest average since March 25, 2009, and the national average has moved lower for 50 of the past 59 days, largely due to an abundance of crude oil. Pump prices are discounted by fractions of a penny on the week, by five cents per gallon on the month, and are down by 22 cents on the year.

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In 2015, consumers paid an annual average of $2.40 per gallon, which was the lowest annual average since 2009. Market fundamentals are positioned to continue to support consumer savings in 2016, though retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring. These price increases are expected to be seasonal, and barring any unanticipated events that dramatically impact global or domestic supply, the national average price is expected to remain below $3 per gallon in 2016.

A heavier-than-expected refinery maintenance season this fall, combined with unexpected refinery outages, has helped maintain California’s ($2.87) position as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. Drivers in the Golden State are paying an average price that is 19 cents per gallon more than second-place Hawaii ($2.68), which is typically the market’s leader. Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.46) round out the top five most expensive markets. Motorists in 34 states are paying averages below $2 per gallon. Missouri ($1.70), Oklahoma ($1.73), Arkansas ($1.74), South Carolina ($1.74) and Kansas ($1.75) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline.

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Pump prices have been relatively stable on the week, moving by +/-3 cents in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Averages are down in the majority of states (38) over this same period and drivers in North Dakota (-4 cents), Montana (-3 cents) and Delaware (-2 cents) are benefitting from the largest weekly savings in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska (+4 cents) and California (+4 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than fractions of a penny week-over-week.

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Gas prices are discounted in 43 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Retail averages have fallen by more than a nickel per gallon in 34 states and Washington, D.C. over this same time period, and 21 states are posting double-digit discounts.  The largest monthly savings are in Montana (-26 cents), Delaware (-19 cents), North Dakota (-18 cents) and Nebraska (-17 cents). Consumers in seven states are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one month ago. Prices continue to move higher in a less dramatic fashion, and California (+18 cents) is the only state where prices are up double-digits on the month, due to ongoing supply challenges. Michigan (+5 cents) and Alaska (+5 cents) join California as the only three states where prices are up more than a nickel per gallon month-over-month.

Averages typically fall during the winter months, and despite relatively lower pump prices year-over-year, savings are becoming less pronounced compared to recent months. Consumers in the vast majority of states (47) continue to experience yearly savings in the price of gasoline, and prices are down more than 25 cents per gallon in 26 states and Washington, D.C. For the first time since 2014, yearly price comparisons are higher in multiple states—California (+22 cents), Nevada (+6 cents) and Idaho (fractions of a penny).

Both crude oil benchmarks, West Texas Intermediate and Brent, closed out the year posting yearly losses of nearly 30 percent, largely attributed to global supply continuing to outpace demand. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East appear to be influencing global oil prices, and both benchmarks opened the week posting increases related to worries about supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia has reportedly cut diplomatic ties with Iran, following an incident that occurred at the Saudi embassy located in Iran, and market watchers will likely be paying close attention to how this situation continues to develop.

The domestic oil market is also being closely monitored for a number of factors that could impact production. The lower price environment is believed to have been a cause of the U.S. rig count falling by nearly two-thirds versus one year ago, and Congress also recently moved to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Oversupply currently characterizes the domestic oil market, and traders remain focused on domestic production and the global energy landscape.

WTI closed out the year up 44 cents and settled at $37.04 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Gas Prices This Year Averaged About 94 Cents per Gallon Less than 2014

  • The national average price of gas in 2015 was $2.40 per gallon, which was the second cheapest annual average of the past ten years. Only 2009 was lower during that time. This year’s annual average was about 94 cents per gallon less than 2014.
  • AAA estimates that Americans saved more than $115 billion on gasoline this year compared to 2014, which was an average of more than $550 per licensed driver.
  • The annual average price of gas in recent years was $3.34 (2014), $3.49 (2013), $3.60 (2012), $3.51 (2011), $2.78 (2010) and $2.35 (2009).
  • The most expensive daily national average of the year was $2.804 per gallon on June 15, while the lowest was $1.998 per gallon on December 21. Average gas prices dropped below $2 on December 21 for the first time since March 25, 2009.
  • The average price of diesel in 2015 was $2.71 per gallon, which was the lowest average for the fuel since 2009. Last year diesel averaged $3.81 per gallon.
  • The average price of premium gasoline in 2015 was $2.84 per gallon, which was about 87 cents per gallon less than the previous year. The average difference between regular and premium was 44 cents per gallon in 2015, which was the largest difference on record.
  • Fuel prices remained relatively low throughout the year due to a worldwide glut in crude oil. There was more than enough oil to meet demand around the world, and that allowed oil prices to drop to the lowest levels since 2009.

Average Gas Prices Close Out the Year at $2 per Gallon

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2 per gallon, which is the lowest average for New Year’s Eve since 2008. Today’s average is about 26 cents per gallon less than a year ago.
  • The national average price of gas for December was $2.01 per gallon, which was the lowest monthly average since March 2009.
  • Gas prices are lower than $2 per gallon in most parts of the country. About 71 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, and drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 in 47 states.
  • The cheapest one percent of stations are selling gas for an average of $1.56 per gallon, and more than 16,000 stations across the country are selling gas for less than $1.75 per gallon.
  • The five states with the lowest average prices today include: Missouri ($1.72), Oklahoma ($1.75), South Carolina ($1.75), Arkansas ($1.75) and Tennessee ($1.76).
  • The five states with the highest prices today include: California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.47) and Alaska ($2.47).

Californians Paid Highest Gas Prices in 2015 for First Time on Record

  • California had the most expensive annual average of any state in 2015 for the first time on record. California’s annual average was $3.16 per gallon. California’s refineries experienced a significant number of problems throughout the year, which disrupted regional production and kept gas prices higher than expected.
  • Gas prices in Southern California were even higher than the rest of the state. For example, the annual average in Los Angeles was $3.29 per gallon in 2015.
  • The next most expensive states for gasoline included Hawaii ($3.10), Alaska ($2.97), Nevada ($2.86), Washington ($2.73) and Oregon ($2.68).
  • Despite paying relatively high prices throughout the year, California’s average was still 59 cents per gallon less than 2014, due to the relatively low cost of crude oil.
  • Since 2000, Hawaii has typically been the most expensive state for gasoline, and its average was the highest for 13 out of the previous 16 years. Alaska’s average was highest in 2008 and 2009.

Drivers in Southeastern United States Paid the Lowest Gas Prices in 2015

  • South Carolina’s annual average price of gas was the cheapest in the country for the fourth year in a row at $2.10 per gallon, and this also was the lowest annual average for the state since 2004. Drivers in South Carolina paid about $1 less during the year than in 2014.
  • The next lowest gas prices were also in the Southeastern U.S. in Mississippi ($2.14), Alabama ($2.15), Tennessee ($2.16) and Louisiana ($2.18).
  • Drivers in many Southeastern states benefit from relatively low gasoline taxes and access to abundant refinery production along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Drivers May Pay Even Less for Gasoline in 2016

  • Gas prices are likely to remain relatively low in 2016. AAA estimates the annual average price of gas in 2016 is likely to end up between $2.25 and $2.45 per gallon, which would be cheaper or at least comparable to this year’s average of $2.40 per gallon.
  • Based on typical seasonal trends, the national average price of gas could remain relatively flat or drop another 10 cents per gallon over the next few weeks. By late winter, the national average could rise 50 cents per gallon or more as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season. Despite the likelihood of higher prices by spring, AAA does not expect the national average price of gas to rise above $3 per gallon in 2016.
  • Regional gas prices will continue to vary dramatically around the country in 2016. Problems with local refinery production, especially during spring maintenance and the busy summer driving season, could temporarily send regional gas prices much higher than the national average. Just as in 2015, it is possible that some areas could see prices higher than $3 per gallon.
  • There is significant uncertainty over the potential cost of crude oil in 2016, though most analysts expect the market will remain oversupplied throughout the year. There currently is a glut of crude oil around the world that has grown faster than demand, and that situation is unlikely to change significantly as Iranian oil enters the marketplace and because the global economy is growing at a relatively weak pace.
  • It is possible that gas prices could rise higher than expected if there are significant changes in the oil markets. Some analysts have predicted that low prices will significantly limit oil production in the United States and in other higher-cost production countries, which could allow supply and demand to rebalance by the end of 2016. Alternatively, it also is possible that political events and conflict could unexpectedly disrupt oil production. Either of these possibilities could lead to higher than predicted oil and gasoline prices for Americans.

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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Gas Prices Hover Near $2 Per Gallon

December 28th, 2015 by KerrieNew

Michael Green Contact TileDrivers paid the lowest averages for the Christmas holiday since 2009, and pump prices continue to hover around the $2 benchmark. Retail averages have fallen for 45 of the past 52 days, and despite prices moving higher by fractions of a penny on the week, today’s average price of $1.999 is the lowest for this date since the Great Recession. Monthly and yearly discounts persist, and consumers are saving five cents per gallon versus one month ago, and 30 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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Leading into 2016, the national average is expected to continue to slide because supply should continue to outpace demand. Gas prices typically fall during this time of year as demand for gasoline decreases, and many motorists will remember the fourth quarter of 2014 when pump averages tumbled from $3.33 on October 1 to $2.26 on New Year’s Eve. While seasonal price declines are again reflected across much of the country, prices on the West Coast have moved higher following supply issues in California. Earlier in the year, ExxonMobil’s Torrance, CA refinery unexpectedly went offline, and as a result, prices spiked in the region. Ongoing and unexpected refinery maintenance has kept production from returning to normal levels, and new problems have tightened supply within the region and once again sent prices higher. This regional challenge could keep the national average higher than we would otherwise see, and contribute to volatility to close out the fourth quarter of 2015.

The majority of states (32) are posting averages below $2 per gallon. Consumers in Missouri ($1.70) and Kansas ($1.75) are paying the nation’s lowest averages for retail gasoline and are joined by an additional 16 states with averages below $1.90 per gallon. On the heels of lingering refinery issues, California ($2.83) surpassed Hawaii ($2.69) as the nation’s most expensive market for gasoline. As a result of these issues, averages across the region have moved higher and regional neighbors Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.42) round out the top five most expensive markets.

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Weekly price comparisons reflect this regional volatility, and state averages have moved by more than a nickel per gallon in both directions. Of the 11 states where pump prices are up week-over-week, motorists in California (+11 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), Michigan (+8 cents) and Indiana (+6 cents) are paying premiums of more than a nickel per gallon. Pump prices are discounted on the week in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest savings experienced by consumers in Montana (-8 cents) and Missouri (-7 cents).

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Motorists in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are benefitting from monthly savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Retail averages are discounted by more than a nickel per gallon in 38 states and Washington, D.C., and averages are down double-digits in 19 states. The largest savings over this period are seen in the midcontinent states of Montana (-28 cents), North Dakota (-16 cents), Wyoming (-16 cents) and South Dakota (-15 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices have moved higher in eight states since one month ago, although in a less dramatic fashion, with the largest increases in California (+13 cents), Michigan (+8 cents) and Illinois (+5 cents).

For the first time in 2015, motorists in California (+16 cents) are no longer experiencing year-over-year discounts in the price to refuel their vehicles due to ongoing supply challenges. Annual discounts persist for drivers in every other state and Washington, D.C., but continue to diminish. Hawaii (-85 cents) is the only state where drivers are saving more than 75 cents per gallon versus one year ago, and the price per gallon is down by more than 25 cents in a total of 36 states and Washington, D.C. year-over-year.

The impact of the U.S. removing its decades-old ban on crude oil exports has narrowed the difference between West Texas International crude oil and Brent prices, and pushed the price of WTI above Brent last week for the first time since August 2010. Oversupply continues to characterize the global oil market, and the impact of parity between the two benchmarks is now being discussed based on its ability to impact both domestic production and the global energy landscape.

WTI closed on December 24 up 60 cents and settled at $38.10 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the Christmas holiday.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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We’re Gonna Party Like It’s $1.99

December 21st, 2015 by KerrieNew

U.S. Average Gas Prices Fall Below $2 per Gallon for the First Time Since 2009

 

Michael Green Contact TileGas-Prices-Party-like-1_99-Dec21WASHINGTON (Dec. 21, 2015) – U.S. average gas prices dropped below $2 per gallon this morning for the first time since March 25, 2009, according to AAA. Today’s national average price of gas is $1.998 per gallon. AAA estimates that cheaper gas prices have saved Americans more than $115 billion on gasoline so far this year, which works out to more than $550 per licensed driver. More than 91 million Americans plan to take advantage of cheaper gas prices to drive 50 miles or more during the upcoming holiday period.

“Drivers across the country are celebrating the historic return of cheaper gas prices,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s President and CEO. “The lowest gas prices in nearly seven years are a holiday gift that few consumers could have imagined when gasoline was $4 a gallon.”

More than two-thirds of U.S. stations already are selling gas under $2 per gallon, and drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than that price in 47 states. The most common price nationwide is $1.899 per gallon. The national average price of gas is about 41 cents less than a year ago.

Gas prices have dropped because there is more than enough oil and gasoline supplies around the world to meet current demand. In addition, gas prices generally fall through early winter because people drive and use less fuel this time of year.

“We have witnessed a dramatic shift in gas prices that has saved families hundreds of dollars so far this year,” continued Doney. “The best news of all is that there is room for prices to drop even more in the coming weeks.”

Gas prices already are much cheaper than $2 per gallon in most parts of the country.  The lowest one percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for an average of $1.59 per gallon, and more than 13,000 stations are selling gas for less than $1.75 per gallon. The states with the cheapest averages include: Missouri ($1.77), Oklahoma ($1.78), South Carolina ($1.78), Tennessee ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79). Kansas City, Missouri has the cheapest metro average in the country at $1.68 per gallon. Average state and metro prices can be found on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report website.

Average gas prices last fell below $2 per gallon for a brief span between November 2008 and March 2009 during the height of the Great Recession, as weak global demand and a significant decline in driving helped push prices downwards. Prior to that four-month period, average gas prices were last below $2 per gallon in early March 2005, meaning it has been more than a decade since gas prices were below $2 per gallon when the economy was not in recession.

The national average price of gas has remained more expensive than $2 per gallon for 2,462 consecutive days. During this 81-month span, gas prices averaged $3.11 per gallon and reached as high as $3.98 on May 5, 2011. The highest national average ever was $4.11 per gallon on July 17, 2008.

Based on normal seasonal trends, gas prices likely will remain low through January, and could drop even further if the cost of crude oil remains weak. By late winter, gas prices may rise 50 cents per gallon or more as refineries conduct maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season. The maintenance reduces fuel production and typically leads to higher gas prices. Despite the expected seasonal increase, the national average price of gas may not rise above $3 per gallon in 2016 because oil should remain abundant and relatively inexpensive.

Domestic supplies of commercial crude oil are about 29 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration, while oil prices are about $70 per barrel cheaper than in the summer of 2014. Oil is the primary cost associated with making gasoline, and every $10 decline in the cost of oil can reduce gas prices by nearly 25 cents per gallon.

Americans are on track this year to drive a record number of miles, largely due to lower gas prices and a stronger economy, based on early estimates by the Federal Highway Administration. Through October, which is the most recent data available, Americans have driven more than 2.63 trillion miles for the year, which is a 3.4 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

Before buying gas, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to find lowest gas prices, map a route, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance and more. AAA also has unveiled its Apple Watch functionality, which allows users to quickly find cheap gas stations. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.

 

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Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Mark Since 2009

December 14th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 14, 2015) U.S. drivers are paying the lowest average price for regular unleaded gasoline since 2009, and the national average is one cent away from dropping below $2 per gallon. These lower gas prices have been largely driven by the falling price of crude oil, which begins this week at its lowest mark in more than five years. U.S. average gas prices are 79 per gallon less than the 2015 peak, and the national average has moved lower for 33 of the past 38 days for a total savings of 21 cents per gallon. The average price at the pump is down two cents on the week, 16 cents on the month and 54 cents on the year.

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The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, closed out last week with a Friday settlement of $35.62 per barrel, a price not seen since the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Crude oil has tumbled approximately 60 percent compared to June 2014 as global supply continues to outpace demand. This imbalance is likely to continue into 2016, which should keep a ceiling on oil prices. Barring any disruptions in supply, consumers are expected to continue to benefit from noticeable fuel savings.

Retail averages are below $2 per gallon in 26 states. South Carolina ($1.79), Missouri ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79) are the nation’s least expensive markets, and drivers in these states are saving nearly $1 per gallon compared to the state with the highest average, which is Hawaii ($2.75). California ($2.65), Nevada ($2.49), Washington ($2.42) and Alaska ($2.39) round out the top five most expensive markets for gasoline.

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Gas prices are holding relatively steady and have moved by +/- 3 cents or less in 29 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices fall over this same period, and averages are down a nickel or more per gallon in six states, led by: Delaware (-8 cents), Minnesota (-6 cents) and North Dakota (-6 cents). Averages in seven states have moved higher on the week, led by Michigan (+8 cents).

Averages have fallen nationwide month-over-month, and with the exception of Alaska (-1 cent), consumers are benefitting from monthly savings of more than a nickel per gallon in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are down double-digits in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one month ago, and drivers in eight states are saving a quarter or more per gallon. The largest monthly discounts are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-36 cents), Minnesota (-30 cents) and Michigan (-30 cents).

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Pump prices typically fall during the winter months due to reduced demand for gasoline. Motorists nationwide continue to experience year-over-year savings, though today’s average is the smallest year-over-year savings of 2015. Alaska (-99 cents) and Hawaii (-96 cents) are the only two states where averages are down by more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year. Consumers in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are saving 50 cents or more per gallon versus this same date last year, and  California (-23 cents) is the only state posting a yearly savings of less than a quarter per gallon.

With both Brent and WTI reaching their cheapest levels since the global economic crisis, attention is now focused on the Federal Reserve’s potential action to raise interest rates. A strong U.S. jobs report has contributed to rumors that the Fed may increase its rate for the first time since 2008, which could further impact the global oil market. An increase in interest rates would be expected to result in a stronger U.S. dollar, which in turn makes oil (priced in U.S. dollars) a relatively more expensive investment for those holding other currencies, making it a less attractive investment. This could further exacerbate the market’s current oversupply and keep downward pressure on the global price of crude oil.

The U.S. oil rig count fell by its largest weekly increment in nearly three months (28 rigs), though strong production continues to oversupply the market. Members of Congress are also working on a budget deal that could include an end to the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. An end to the ban would allow unprocessed crude oil produced in the U.S. to enter the global oil market, which could impact both domestic production and global supply.

WTI opened the trading session below $35 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.14 and settled at $35.62 per barrel. This closing price represented a loss of nearly ten percent on the week.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

National Average Nears Lowest Price Since 2009

December 7th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON – December 7, 2015) The national average is less than a penny higher than the 2015 low (January 26), and should soon fall below the $2 per gallon mark for the first time since 2009. Pump prices have fallen for 29 of the past 31 days, and today’s average price of $2.03 represents a savings of one cent per gallon on the week and 19 cents on the month. Significant yearly savings persist, and gas prices are discounted by 65 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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During the winter months demand for gasoline typically declines, and pump prices tend to move lower as a result. Following a busier than usual fall maintenance season at refineries, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that refinery production is outpacing both 2014 and current demand. U.S. crude oil stocks are also within striking distance of an all-time high, and as a result, questions about continued production and storage capacity are beginning to arise. This combination of ample production and increasing gasoline inventories are likely to keep gas prices relatively low, and barring any unforeseen shifts in market fundamentals, averages are likely to continue to decline leading into 2016.

Hawaii ($2.79) leads the nation and is the only state where drivers are paying an average price above $2.75 per gallon. Regional neighbors California ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.44) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. South Carolina ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Oklahoma ($1.83) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline, and consumers in a total of 23 states are paying an average below $2 per gallon.

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Pump prices have been relatively steady over the past week, moving by +/-3 cents in the vast majority of states (45) during this span. Averages are down in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one week ago; however, prices declined at smaller increments than in recent weeks. Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-6 cents) are posting the largest savings on the week and are the only two states where drivers are experiencing weekly savings of more than a nickel per gallon. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in nine states are paying more to refuel their vehicles compared to one week ago, led by Ohio (+6 cents).

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Drivers nationwide are benefiting from monthly savings at the pump, largely due to gasoline production returning to levels not seen since the beginning of the seasonal turnaround. Gas prices have fallen by double-digit increments in 35 states and Washington, D.C. since one month ago, and motorists in 14 states are saving more than a quarter per gallon in the price at the pump over this same period. The largest month-over-month drops in the price of retail gasoline have been in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-53 cents), Wisconsin (-44 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-36 cents).

The relatively low price of crude oil is helping to sustain year-over-year discounts in the price of gasoline nationwide. Retail averages are down more than 50 cents per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in a dozen states are saving at least 75 cents per gallon versus this same date last year. Alaska (-$1.05) and Hawaii (-$1.00), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, are also the only two states where drivers are saving $1 or more per gallon compared to one year ago.

OPEC’s decision at its meeting last week to sustain its current production levels sent ripples through the global oil market and has contributed to lower oil prices. The cartel is not scheduled to reconvene until June 2016, and in the interim the imbalance between supply and demand will likely persist. Market watchers will remain focused on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates on the heels of a strong U.S. jobs report. A higher interest rate typically leads to a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes oil relatively more expensive for those holding foreign currencies. The combination of these factors has the ability to further exacerbate the global oil market’s state of oversupply and keep downward pressure on prices.

The domestic oil market is also reflecting signs of oversupply. Both crude oil and gasoline inventories are approaching record levels even as lower prices impact exploration and production. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic oil and gas extraction sector lost upwards of 2,400 jobs during the month of November. This follows the October report which showed the sector shedding approximately 2,700 jobs.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.11 and settled at $39.97 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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