June 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015) After a steady increase in recent months, it is possible that national pump prices may be near a seasonal peak. Gas prices surged this spring due to a rally in crude oil prices from multi-year lows, seasonal refinery maintenance, the changeover to summer-blend gasoline and domestic refinery issues that have impacted regional production. Today’s national average of $2.75 per gallon is fractions of a penny higher than one week ago and 14 cents more per gallon than one month ago.
While pump prices have been rising, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline remains significantly discounted versus this same date last year (-92 cents) and consumers are on target to pay the lowest prices at the pump during the summer driving season since 2009. Relatively low prices at the pump, combined with a recovering economy, have contributed to drivers traveling more during the first quarter of the year than any other year on record.
There is the possibility that some consumers could see prices temporarily climb higher later this summer if severe weather impacts refinery production. The Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway and spans from June 1-November 30. This year’s season is expected to be below-normal, meaning between three to six tropical storms have a 70 percent chance of becoming hurricanes. These storms have the potential to disrupt production, refining and distribution. Shortages in supply could lead to regional price spikes and/or shortages in select markets should any tropical storms or hurricanes make landfall.
Midwestern drivers continue to face higher prices as a result of supply issues in the region. Another major refinery located in Toledo, Ohio is expected to be offline for two to three weeks while the fluid catalytic cracking unit is replaced, and prices in surrounding states will likely be impacted. This latest outage is in addition to ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. refinery and Citgo’s refinery in Lemont, Ill., which are both running at reduced rates.
While Midwest prices are pointed higher, West Coast prices continue to lead the market by posting the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline. California ($3.69) leads the market and is approximately 40 cents more per gallon than second place Hawaii ($3.30). Nevada ($3.30), Alaska ($3.30) and Washington ($3.06) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices in the coastal states of Mississippi and South Carolina are the lowest in the nation, both at $2.44 per gallon.
Pump prices are relatively stable week-over-week, with averages moving by +/- 3 cents per gallon in 44 states and Washington, D.C. Weekly comparisons show that drivers in 37 states and Washington, D.C. are paying more to refuel their vehicles; however the increases were less dramatic than recent Fuel Gauge Reports. The average price is up by a nickel or more per gallon in four states: Ohio (+8 cents), Montana (+6 cents), Delaware (+6 cents) and Georgia (+5 cents). Of the 13 states where the price has fallen since one week ago, California (-7 cents) is the only state posting a discount at the pump of more than a nickel per gallon.
Consumers nationwide are paying more to refuel their vehicles month-over-month, and with the exception of California (+1 cent), the price has climbed by a nickel or more per gallon in every state. Retail averages have jumped by more than a dime per gallon in 36 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, with the largest premiums per gallon paid by consumers in Ohio (+36 cents), and Illinois (+30 cents).
Yearly price comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts in the price at the pump and drivers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than 50 cents per gallon. The only two states outside of this trend are the West Coast states of California (-43 cents) and Nevada (-50 cents) where the price for retail gasoline has recently climbed due to regional refinery issues. Averages are down by $1 or more in 12 states and Washington, D.C. versus this same date last year, with motorists in Michigan (-$1.16), Indiana (-$1.16) and Ohio (-$1.15) saving the most per gallon.
Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rallied to close out this past week, following reports of violence in Saudi Arabia and weekly U.S. rig counts falling by double-digits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, domestic gasoline demand is trending higher than in previous years but the impact of this increase on retail gasoline prices is uncertain. Additionally, it is generally expected that OPEC will sustain its current output levels when it meets on June 5 in Vienna, keeping the global market oversupplied in the near term and placing a ceiling on how high crude prices could move.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $2.62 higher at $60.30 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.
May 29th, 2015 by KerrieNew
WASHINGTON, (May 29, 2015) – AAA released the following statement by its President, Marshall Doney, in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed targets for the Renewable Fuels Standard.
“AAA is pleased to see the EPA acknowledge that there are real-world constraints that limit the amount of ethanol that can be safely blended into the fuel supply. Official recognition of the ‘blend wall’ may help protect consumers from using E15 gasoline in vehicles not designed for its use.
“It is too early to know whether the proposed targets will impact consumers given the uncertainties in future fuel demand. While ethanol can support jobs and promote energy independence, the EPA must ensure that the fuel consumers use does not lead to costly repairs due to misfueling.”
The volume of ethanol originally required by Congress in the Renewable Fuels Standard is likely to exceed 10 percent of the fuel supply. Exceeding this level is known as the “blend wall,” given that most gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. Blenders unable to meet RFS requirements would be subject to significant fines, which could restrict gasoline supplies and lead to higher gas prices.
More than 85 percent of the vehicles on the road today are not approved by manufacturers to use E15, including nearly all 2001-2013 models. E15 is only approved for use by automakers in flex-fuel engines, 2001 and newer Porsches, and selected 2012 and newer vehicles where it is clearly specified in the owner’s manual. Sustained use of E15 gasoline in vehicles not designed for its use could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false check engine lights. Automakers are on record as saying their warranties will not cover claims caused by E15 in vehicles not designed to run on the fuel.
May 26th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reached its highest price of the year on Memorial Day ($2.74) after rising for 39 of 41 days. Today’s average price of $2.74 per gallon is fractions of a penny less than yesterday. Drivers are paying three cents more than one week ago, eight cents more than two-weeks ago and 21 cents more than one month ago to refuel their vehicles. Despite the overall trend of rising averages, consumers paid the lowest prices at the pump for the holiday since 2010. Significant yearly discounts remain, due to relatively low prices for crude oil, with today’s national average representing a savings of 92 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.
Pump prices have recently trended higher due to an increase in the price of global crude and localized refinery issues, particularly in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Although West Coast states continue to post the nation’s highest state averages, the most dramatic weekly increases have been in the Midwest, largely attributed to production issues in that market. ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. refinery is continuing to operate at reduced production levels, and CITGO’s refinery in Lemont, Ill. is reportedly scheduled to conduct maintenance work in the coming days, which could also add additional volatility to the regional market. Motorists on the West Coast are not completely out of the woods, and the residual impacts of reduced supply could keep prices high in the coming weeks.
California ($3.76), Nevada ($3.32), Hawaii ($3.28), Alaska ($3.27) and Washington ($3.05) are the five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. A total of seven states, all in the western region, are posting averages above $3 per gallon. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.43), Mississippi ($2.44) and Oklahoma ($2.45) are paying the lowest prices at the pump, and their prices are discounted by more than $1.25 per gallon compared to California.
The impact of refinery issues is seen in both weekly and bi-weekly price comparisons. Week-over-week, the average price for retail gasoline has moved higher in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The Midwestern states of Illinois (+13 cents) and Ohio (+10 cents), are the only two posting double-digit increases over this period and the price is up by a nickel or more in a total of 10 states. California (-5 cents), the nation’s most expensive market, is outside of this trend and is joined by Oklahoma and Arizona where the price has fallen by fractions of a penny since one week ago. Two-week price comparisons also reflect this trend of rising prices. The average price for retail gasoline has increased in every state and Washington D.C., over this same period, and the most dramatic increases in price are Ohio (+23 cents), Illinois (+21 cents) and Michigan (+20 cents).
Monthly comparisons also reflect overall increases in the price of retail gasoline. With the exception of Florida (+9 cents), pump prices are up by a dime or more per gallon nationwide. The largest jumps in price are on the West Coast where refinery issues have impacted prices over a longer stretch, and drivers in Nevada (+39 cents), California (+38 cents) and Utah (+33) are paying the largest month-over-month premiums.
Compared to this same date last year, drivers nationwide are paying significantly less at the pump. The magnitude of savings has narrowed somewhat due to rising prices, and motorists in just 11 states and Washington, D.C. are now saving $1 or more per gallon – down 10 states since last week’s report. Ohio (-$1.13), Kentucky (-$1.12) and Michigan (-$1.12) are saving the most per gallon at the pump, while California (-37 cents) and Nevada (-46 cents) are the only two states with discounts below 50 cents per gallon.
Volatility is expected to continue to characterize global oil prices, with a number of variables potentially impacting the sensitive balance between supply and demand. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are persisting, largely due to violence by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which adds a level of risk to regional oil production. At the same time, the strength of the U.S. dollar is improving on the heels of improved inflation data. A stronger dollar makes crude oil relatively more expensive for those overseas, which puts downward pressure on prices. Both factors are likely to influence the global price in the near term and market watchers are closely monitoring the ultimate impact on the global price of crude.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $1 lower at $59.72 per barrel.
May 18th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015) One week from the Memorial Day holiday, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased on 32 of the past 34 days, reaching today’s price $2.71 per gallon. Consumers are paying a nickel per gallon more than one week ago and 26 cents more per gallon than one month ago. Despite the national average continuing to register new highs for 2015, drivers are still experiencing significant yearly savings at the pump and today’s price is discounted by 94 cents year-over-year, making it the lowest average for this date since 2009.
Pump prices have moved higher nationwide in recent months, largely due to the global rally in crude prices. While consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. have felt the impact of more expensive crude oil, gas prices in several regions have seen more dramatic increases due to refinery problems. The West Coast continues to lead the market with some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline due to localized refinery issues over the past several months, which have kept supplies tight and prices tilted higher. This region is relatively isolated from other markets and is more dependent on in-region production, making it harder for the market to adjust to supply disruptions.
While West Coast prices have surged higher for weeks, prices across the Midwest have posted among the most dramatic jumps in the past week. The Midwestern increase has been due to regional production issues, including a problem at ExxonMobil’s 248,000 barrel per day Joliet refinery in Channahon, Ill. While reports of reduced output from the facility sparked sharp increases at the pump for Midwestern drivers, wholesale gasoline prices were more stable today, though the refinery may operate at reduced rates for about two weeks.
For the 12th consecutive week, California ($3.81) leads the market with drivers paying an average price that is more than $1 per gallon above the national average. Nevada ($3.30), Hawaii ($3.25), Alaska ($3.21), Oregon ($3.02) and Washington ($3.02) round out the most expensive markets and are the only states posting averages above $3 per gallon. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.38), Mississippi ($2.42) and Louisiana ($2.43) are paying the least to fill their tanks.
With the exception of Pennsylvania, where the price has moved lower by fractions of a penny, consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying more at the pump week-over-week. Ohio (+12 cents) and Michigan (+11 cents) are both posting double-digit increases over this same period, and 17 states are registering premiums of a nickel or more per gallon versus one week ago.
Monthly comparisons reflect sizable movement in pump prices nationwide. The price at the pump has jumped by a quarter or more per gallon in 13 states, with the largest increases in California (+68 cents), Nevada (+50 cents), Arizona (+41 cents) and Utah (+37 cents).
Contrary to weekly and monthly price comparisons, motorists nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles year-over-year. The price is discounted by $1 or more in 21 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest savings in Michigan (-$1.13), Kentucky (-$1.13) and Indiana (-$1.12), despite the recent price spike in the Midwest.
The global oil market remains oversupplied, but market watchers are closely monitoring U.S. production and the recent outbreak of violence in the Middle East for any impact that could shift this balance. Volatility will likely continue to characterize the global market in the near term as traders closely watch the balance between supply and demand. In particular, more expensive crude could lead to an increase in production and supply, which could put a ceiling on the current rally in price. Speculators are also interpreting the latest action by the so-called Islamic State, who seized control of the city of Ramadi, Iraq, as a reminder of regional instability in the near term.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 19 cents and settled at $59.69 per barrel.
May 11th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased for 26 of the previous 27 days to $2.66 per gallon, which is the highest average of the year. Drivers are paying about four cents more per gallon than one week ago and 27 cents more per gallon than one month ago. However, relatively low crude costs continue to translate to significant savings at the pump for consumers. Today’s national average is about a dollar less than a year ago and is at the cheapest level for this date since 2009.
AAA predicts that automotive travel this Memorial Day holiday will be up 5.3 percent (33 million travelers) compared to last year’s holiday weekend, which would be the highest volume in ten years. Gas prices may not change all that much by the holiday weekend, which would result in the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.
Regional refinery issues on the West Coast continue to push prices higher in a handful of states, with the majority of the nation’s most expensive markets located in the region. California ($3.72) is the nation’s most expensive retail gasoline market, and is joined by four other states posting averages of $3 or more per gallon: Hawaii ($3.23), Nevada ($3.22), Alaska ($3.15) and Oregon ($3.00). The price at the pump is above $2.50 per gallon in 36 states and Washington, D.C. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in South Carolina ($2.37), Missouri ($2.39) and Mississippi ($2.40) are the paying the lowest averages at the pump, although they too have seen prices inch upward since last week’s report.
Drivers in 49 states and Washington, D.C. are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. Twenty-two states are paying a nickel or more per gallon, led by Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota with week-over-week increases of nine cents per gallon. The only state to buck this trend is Michigan, where the average price fell by six cents per gallon over this same period.
Month-over-month, the price has moved higher in every state and Washington, D.C. by a dime or more per gallon. Pump prices are up by a quarter or more in 22 states, with the largest monthly increases taking place in the western United States. Consumers in California (+61 cents), Nevada (+44 cents), Utah (+39 cents) and Arizona (+39 cents) have seen the largest increases over this period, due largely to the refinery issues in the region.
Although motorists nationwide continue to pay significantly lower gas prices, rising averages are beginning to erode savings in a number of states. Prices are lower by a dollar or more in 30 states and Washington, D.C. year-over-year, which is 11 states fewer than one week ago. Consumers in Ohio (-$1.23), Michigan (-$1.18) and Kentucky (-$1.15) are saving the most per gallon compared to this same date last year.
The price of crude has moved higher since the middle of March due to slowing U.S. production, a weakening U.S. dollar and speculation of demand growth from China. Despite the price increase, many market watchers believe that the recent rally may be nearing an end due to oversupply continuing to characterize the global market, effectively putting a ceiling on how high the price can go. The global oil cartel OPEC appears to be maintaining its strategy of high production levels and is scheduled to convene in June to reassess supply quotas, but in the meantime all eyes remain on U.S. production levels based on its new position as swing producer.
The domestic benchmark WTI posted a weekly gain for the seventh consecutive week but remains significantly below the 2014 high of $107.95 per barrel. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled 45 cents higher at $59.39 per barrel.
May 4th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, May 4, 2015) The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline has moved higher for 19 consecutive days for a total of 23 cents per gallon, due to higher crude oil costs and a number of refinery issues. Today’s price of $2.62 per gallon represents the most expensive average price of the year. Motorists are paying eight cents more per gallon than one week ago and 22 cents more than one month ago to refuel their vehicles. Although the national average is currently moving higher, relatively lower crude prices continue to provide consumers with significant year-over-year-savings and today’s price is $1.06 per gallon less than a year ago.
The price at the pump often increases in the spring due to seasonal maintenance, rising demand and the higher costs associated with producing more expensive summer-blend gasoline, which is required in many parts of the country to combat emissions in warmer temperatures. Unexpected refinery issues are also keeping upward pressure on the national average and consumers may see prices rise a bit higher over the next few weeks. Despite this trend, retail averages are expected to continue to post significant year-over-year discounts, and barring any major supply disruptions, the national average is expected to remain below $3 per gallon throughout 2015.
The West Coast continues to lead the nation in posting the highest prices for retail gasoline due to regional refinery issues that have caused prices to race higher. California ($3.71) remains the nation’s most expensive market and is joined by three other states with averages above $3 per gallon: Hawaii ($3.19), Nevada ($3.17) and Alaska ($3.09). The majority of states (28 and Washington, D.C.) are posting averages above $2.50 per gallon. Rising crude prices and increased seasonal demand are expected to keep upward pressure on the price at the pump in the short-term. South Carolina ($2.33), Missouri ($2.34) and Oklahoma ($2.36) are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline, but even these states have seen pump prices move higher over the last few days due to the aforementioned seasonal factors.
With the exception of Ohio (-6 cents), drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying more for gas week-over-week. The price has climbed higher by a nickel or more in 40 states and Washington, D.C., and prices have increased by a dime or more per gallon in nine states over this same period. Weekly price comparisons show that drivers on the West Coast have seen the most dramatic moves in the price at pump, with the largest increases occurring in : California (+30 cents), Nevada (+23 cents), Arizona (+15 cents) and Oregon (+14 cents).
Monthly comparisons show that gas prices are up by a nickel or more in every state and Washington, D.C., and the majority of motorists (42 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying a dime or more per gallon. Motorists in California (+54 cents), Nevada (+38 cents), New Jersey (+34 cents) and Utah (+34 cents) are paying noticeably more at the pump versus one month ago. Gas prices have increased by a quarter or more per gallon over this same period in 12 states.
Despite recent increases, consumers continue to benefit in the form of yearly savings at the pump. Retail averages are down nationwide year-over-year and the price at the pump is discounted by $1 or more in 41 states and Washington, D.C. The largest savings are in Ohio (-$1.22), Kentucky (-$1.21) and West Virginia (-$1.20).
The price of crude rallied to close out the month, due to a slowdown in U.S. production, a weakening dollar and growing instability in the Middle East. U.S. oil supplies remain at record highs, but the growth in production has reportedly slowed in recent weeks, which could indicate a new balance in supply and demand. The market also is focused on the Strait of Hormuz – a narrow waterway off the Iranian coast that provides access to major oil-exporting ports in the region. The U.S. is increasing its naval presence in the region after Iran unexpectedly seized a container ship attempting to pass through the strait. Historically this strait has often been at the center of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and with the two countries also attempting to reach a nuclear agreement by June 30, both sides are carefully weighing options and the perceived tension has put a bit of upward pressure on the global price of crude.
While WTI is at nearly a four month high, it is unclear whether oil prices will remain at this level. U.S. oil-drilling rigs have reached their lowest level since October 2010, and U.S. oil storage remains at an all-time high. Domestic oil production companies are keeping a watchful eye on the price and they could ramp up or resume production in order to capitalize on any upward movement.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down 50 cents and settled at $59.15 per barrel.
April 30th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
- 6 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip of 50 miles or more away from home in 2015 if gas prices remain near recent levels. Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to take a road trip:
- 68 percent of Americans age 18-34 say they are more likely to take a road trip if gas prices remain near recent levels.
- 57 percent of Americans age 35+ say they are more likely to take a road trip if gas prices remain near recent levels.
- Only 13 percent of Americans report driving more due to recent gas prices. These results indicate that most Americans are unlikely to change their regular driving habits due to lower gas prices. Younger Americans are significantly more likely to report driving more due to lower gas prices than older Americans:
- 19 percent of Americans age 18-34 report driving more due to recent gas prices.
- 10 percent of Americans age 35+ report driving more due to recent gas prices.
- Americans are more than twice as likely to report that current gas prices are “too high” than “cheap,” even though gas prices are much less expensive than in recent years. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.58 per gallon.
- 39 percent of Americans believe gas is “too high” at $2.50 per gallon
- 17 percent of Americans believe gas is “cheap” at $2.50 per gallon.
- The majority of Americans believe gas prices start to be cheap between $1.50 and $2.00 per gallon. The national average price of gas in January fell to a low of $2.03 per gallon.
- 4 percent of Americans believe gas is cheap at $3.00 per gallon
- 17 percent of Americans believe gas is cheap at $2.50 per gallon
- 43 percent of Americans believe gas is cheap at $2.00 per gallon
- 58 percent of Americans believe gas is cheap at $1.50 per gallon
- 99 percent of Americans believe gas is cheap at $1.00 per gallon
- About half of Americans believe that gas prices are too high at $3.00 per gallon. Public attitudes towards gas prices have changed significantly as the cost of gas decreased in recent years. The results indicate that Americans may have a lower tolerance for high gas prices now that they are paying much less at the pumps than in previous years.
- In March 2013, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.44 per gallon. The national average was $3.64 per gallon at the time.
- In March 2014, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.30 per gallon. The national average was $3.49 per gallon at the time.
- In April 2015, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.00 per gallon. The national average was $2.39 per gallon at the time.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,007 adults, 504 men and 503 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on April 10-12. 506 interviews were from the landline sample and 501 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.5% at the 95% confidence level for all U.S. adults.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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 on the Internet at AAA.com.
April 30th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
Average U.S. Gas Prices Climb 55 Cents since January
- Today’s national average price of gas is $2.58 per gallon, which is the highest average so far this year. Average U.S. gas prices are up 55 cents per gallon since reaching a low of $2.03 per gallon in late January, making this the largest seasonal increase in gas prices since 2012.
- “Gas prices have climbed to the highest levels of the year due largely to rising crude oil costs,” said Avery Ash. “As prices keep climbing, it getting more difficult to believe that gas was below $2 per gallon at the majority of stations earlier this year.”
- The national average price of gas has increased 16 days in a row for a total of 19 cents per gallon. The cost of crude oil has increased by more than $15 per barrel since reaching a six-year low in the middle of March. Today’s national average price of gas is the most expensive since Dec. 12, 2014.
- Gas prices this year have increased at the largest seasonal rate since 2012, when the national average increased by 66 per gallon during the spring. U.S. average prices increased by 43 cents per gallon in spring 2014 and 50 cents in 2013. It is common for gas prices to rise in late winter and early spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline production.
- Despite recent price increases, the average price of gas in April was $2.44 per gallon, which was the lowest average for the month since 2009. By comparison, the average price of gas in April 2014 was about $1.20 per gallon more expensive at $3.64 per gallon.
- Gasoline costs less than in recent years because of significantly lower crude oil costs. Despite recent increases, crude oil remains about $50 per barrel cheaper than the highs reached in summer 2014. Crude oil prices dropped during the second half of last year largely due to abundant global supplies and production.
- Crude oil prices have increased in recent weeks as the market considers a possible slowdown in domestic oil production. A reduction in growth could signal that the market is rebalancing supply and demand in response to relatively low prices this year. In addition, continued conflict, in places such as Yemen and Iraq, adds increased risk and uncertainty that can lead to higher prices.
- Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the nation due to regional refinery problems and relatively tight fuel supplies. California’s average has been the most expensive in the country since Feb. 26, when California’s average climbed above Hawaii for the first time since October 2012. California’s prices began to jump in February following an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., which has limited fuel production. The refinery reportedly will not complete repairs until July, which means the region likely will continue paying among the highest prices in the country for the next few months.
Drivers Should Still Pay Lowest Summer Gas Prices in at Least Five Years
- Despite recent price increases, drivers should still pay the lowest gas prices for the summer driving season in at least five years, and it is even possible that gas prices will reach the lowest summertime levels in a decade if the cost of crude oil drops again.
- “We could see record summer travel because the economy is stronger and gas prices are much cheaper than in recent years,” continued Ash. “Lower gas prices will make travel more affordable and this may motivate Americans to take a summer road trip.”
- About 6 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip of 50 miles or more in 2015 if gas prices remain near recent levels, according to a new AAA survey. Oil supplies are at record levels and refineries have increased production capacity in recent years, which means there should be enough fuel to meet an increase in travel demand this summer.
- AAA does not expect the national average price of gas to rise above $3 per gallon this summer, but it is unclear whether consumers will pay more or less than today in the coming months.
- There are a number of factors that could send summertime gas prices even higher than today. Oil prices have rallied significantly in recent weeks and market momentum could send prices higher, especially if domestic production slows further or if fighting escalates in the Middle East. Refineries also could face unexpected problems, which could lead to regional price spikes.
- It also is possible that gas prices could soon drop because there is a glut of petroleum in the country. Domestic oil production remains about 14 percent higher than a year ago, U.S. commercial crude oil supplies are about 23 percent higher than last year, while gasoline supplies are about eight percent more abundant. Gasoline supplies could grow even larger heading into the summer as refineries complete seasonal maintenance.
- In a typical year, gas prices peak by early May as refineries end seasonal maintenance and increase production for the busy summer driving season. Gas prices often drop through late June before rising again as millions of Americans hit the road for peak summer travel in July and August.
- The summer driving season is traditionally from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Last summer during this period, gas prices averaged $3.58 per gallon.
U.S. Households Have Spent About $400 Less on Gasoline So Far this Year
- AAA estimates that U.S. households have spent about $400 less on gasoline due to lower prices so far this year, in comparison to the same period in 2014.
- Paying more than $3 for gas remains relatively rare outside of the West Coast. About 92 percent of U.S. stations are still selling gas for less than $3 per gallon today. A year ago, 99.99 percent of stations were selling gas above that price.
- The most common price in the country today is $2.399 per gallon, which compares to $3.499 per gallon a year ago.
- The five states with the highest average prices today include: California ($3.53), Hawaii ($3.13), Alaska ($3.07), Nevada ($3.04), and Oregon ($2.86). The five states with the lowest average prices today include: South Carolina ($2.31), Oklahoma ($2.34), Missouri ($2.34), Louisiana ($2.35) and Kansas ($2.36).
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, email@example.com.
April 27th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, April 27, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline climbed above $2.50 per gallon late last week for the first time in more than four months. Average prices have now increased by 15 cents per gallon in just two weeks. This recent increase has been the product of rising global crude prices, the seasonal switch to summer-blend gasoline and regional refinery issues, particularly on the West Coast. Motorists are currently paying an average $2.54 per gallon, representing an increase of eight cents versus one week ago, and 11 cents versus one month ago. Despite inching higher for 12 consecutive days, the national average continues to reflect a significant discount of $1.16 per gallon in comparison to this same date last year.
The deadline for terminals to switchover to summer-grade gasoline is May 1. In parts of California these changes are required earlier and are in effect for longer. Select markets that require reformulated gasoline or experience localized refinery issues may see prices move more dramatically in the spring. Following the transition to summer-blend gasoline and as refineries complete seasonal maintenance, the national average may return to below $2.50 per gallon, though much of the forecast will depend on what happens with the cost of crude oil.
Drivers on the West Coast are paying some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline due to localized refinery issues, particularly in California, which have put upward pressure on prices throughout the region. California ($3.40), Hawaii ($3.10) and Alaska ($3.03), lead the nation and are the only three states posting averages above $3.00 per gallon. The average price at the pump in the Golden State is a bit of an outlier, up 30 cents above second place Hawaii, and prices are expected to remain elevated in the short term as the state works through its production issues. On the other end of the spectrum, consumers in the Southern states of South Carolina ($2.27), Missouri ($2.30) and Oklahoma ($2.30) are paying nation’s lowest prices for retail gasoline.
Weekly price comparisons show that consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying more at the pump. Thirty-five states are posting a premium of a nickel or more per gallon, and California remains an outlier where the price is up by a quarter per gallon. The Golden State is joined by three other states where the price has climbed by a dime or more week-over-week: Nevada (+14 cents), Arizona (+13 cents) and Connecticut (+10 cents).
The average price for retail gasoline has moved higher in 47 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Motorists in a total of 27 states have seen the price at the pump move higher by a dime or more over this same period, led by the Northeastern states of New Jersey (+25 cents), Delaware (+22 cents) and Connecticut (+22 cents). Illinois (-6 cents), Hawaii (-4 cents) and Wisconsin (-4 cents) are outside of this trend, and the only three states registering monthly savings.
In comparison to this same date last year, retail averages remain discounted nationwide and the price is down by $1.00 or more in 44 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in eight states and Washington, D.C. are saving $1.25 or more at the pump, with the largest savings occurring in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-$1.32), Indiana (-$1.31) and Illinois (-$1.29).
Global crude oil prices rose again last week due to geopolitical tensions in Yemen and the declining strength of the U.S. dollar. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil finished at its highest price in approximately four months and Brent Crude also posted weekly gains.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 59 cents at $57.15 per barrel.
April 20th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, April 20, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased about seven cents per gallon over the past week due to sharply rising crude oil costs. Domestic crude oil prices last week reached the highest levels of 2015 as supplies built more slowly than anticipated. Despite the increase, consumers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years, with today’s national average of $2.46 per gallon representing the least expensive average for this date since 2009 ($2.06).
West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices settled at a 2015 high of $56.71 a barrel last Thursday as the latest EIA report showed that oil supplies increased at the slowest levels since the beginning of the year. The market also weighed potential geopolitical concerns in the Middle East and a weakening dollar. Domestic oil prices are more than $10 per barrel higher than a month ago, which has contributed to higher gas prices.
Planned and unplanned refinery problems also continue to affect the market, and may continue to impact price heading into the summer driving season. These events can have lingering regional impacts, as has been the case on the West Coast where retail prices continue to be among the highest in the nation. This comes despite reports last week that California gasoline production is at a four-month high. While trending higher, the state’s numbers still reflect reduced production at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., which reduced production following a February 18 explosion. The refinery is not scheduled to complete its repair of damaged equipment until July, so regional prices may remain stubbornly high and sensitive to further production issues until that facility is back to full strength.
California ($3.15) continues to lead the market posting the nation’s highest retail average for gasoline, and is followed by Hawaii ($3.07), Alaska ($2.98), Nevada ($2.80) and Washington ($2.75). Drivers in South Carolina ($2.21), Mississippi ($2.23) and Alabama ($2.24) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.
The average price for regular unleaded gasoline has climbed higher in 49 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Thirty-six states have seen average prices rise by a nickel or more per gallon, and drivers in eight states are paying a dime or more per gallon one week ago. The largest increases have been in the Northeast, led by New Jersey (+14 cents), Connecticut (+13 cents), Massachusetts (+12 cents) and New Hampshire (+11 cents). Hawaii (-3 cents), consistently one of the nation’s most expensive markets, is the lone state to buck this trend as motorists experience a slight weekly savings at the pump.
Monthly comparisons show that consumers in the majority of states (37 and Washington, D.C.) are paying more to refuel their vehicles, although the size of the increase varies. Pump prices are up by a nickel or more per gallon in 23 states and Washington D.C., and drivers in seven states are paying a dime or more per gallon. Utah (+17 cents), Kentucky (+17 cents), New Jersey (+13 cents) and Delaware (+12 cents) lead the market, registering the largest month-over-month increases. On the other end of the spectrum, the price has fallen in 13 states versus one month ago, with the largest savings in California (-13 cents), Oregon (-9 cents) and Hawaii (-8 cents).
Year-over-year, the average price at the pump remains sharply discounted across the country. Retail averages are down nationwide, and 46 states and Washington, D.C. are posting savings of $1.00 or more per gallon. Consumers in 15 states and Washington, D.C. are saving $1.25 or more per gallon at the pump, led by: Indiana ($1.36), Michigan ($1.33), Kentucky ($1.32) and Georgia ($1.31).
Global oil prices continue to reflect volatility and industry stakeholders remain divided over where supply and demand fundamentals will send prices. Attention is focused on high-cost production countries like the U.S., where new production has been a key contributor to the sharply lower price of crude. With the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil nearly fifty percent lower than the same month last year, more expensive production sources face pressure to remain economically viable in a dramatically different pricing environment.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled 97 cents lower at $55.74 per barrel.