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Pump Prices Drop Eight Consecutive Days

January 17th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Gas prices have fallen for eight consecutive days, reaching today’s national average price of $2.34 per gallon. The price of retail gasoline has retreated since last week with today’s average three cents less per gallon than one week ago, but ten cents more than one month ago and 43 cents more per gallon year-over-year. The slight decrease in retail prices can be attributed to less demand and adequate supply, but this downward dip may only be temporary as the market awaits OPEC’s December monthly output report which is due out later this week.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-17-17-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s markets that have seen the largest price decreases week-over-week are: Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents) and Illinois (-6 cents).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.77), Washington ($2.74) and Pennsylvania ($2.64).

Top10 Largest Weekly Declines-1-17-17-01

West Coast
Drivers on the West Coast continue to pay the nation’s highest averages for gasoline, and the nation’s top four most expensive markets are all in this region: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.77) Washington ($2.74). The region recently saw an unexpected gasoline stock increase of 2 million bbl to 30.5 million bbl, which should help keep prices relatively steady over the next week. The recent restart of BP’s Olympic Pipeline at its Anacortes, Washington, source on Friday also should help improve regional supplies in the northwest over the next few weeks. According to OPIS, BP had to shut down operations on the Olympic Pipeline in Anacortes last Wednesday due to power outages and other issues related to severe winter storms.

Rockies
Most drivers across the Mountain time zone continue to see increases at the pump. Utah (+5 cents), Idaho (+4 cents), Arizona (+3 cents), Montana (+3 cents), Nebraska (+2 cents) and Wyoming (+2 cents), all top the list of largest weekly increases. Recent issues at Western Refining’s refinery in El Paso, Texas, could potentially impact supply in Arizona and parts of New Mexico. OPIS reports that the refinery experienced a fire in a fluid catalytic cracker on Thursday evening. The HollyFrontier Corporation also experienced problems last week with an overheated coker (oil processing unit) at their 52,000-b/d Cheyenne refinery in Wyoming. The refinery primarily serves the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountain region, which includes eastern Colorado, Wyoming and parts of Nebraska. Due to the regions’ insulated location, glitches in refinery production have the potential to impact prices at the pump.

Great Lakes and Central States
Price swings have been common in the Great Lakes and Central states over the past few weeks with five of the top ten weekly price movers landing in the area. The top national decreases in the country are: Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents) and Illinois (-6 cents). Prices rose last month following issues at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, but with production reported to have returned to normal, prices in most of the Great Lakes region have moved lower.

Despite fluctuating prices across the Central region, two Central states still rank among the lowest in the nation: Missouri ($2.14) and Tennessee ($2.13).

Top10 Largest Weekly Declines-1-17-17-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively steady. Despite the downward price movement nationally, four states in the region are among the 10 most expensive markets in the country: Pennsylvania ($2.64), Washington, D.C. ($2.59), New York ($2.53) and Connecticut ($2.48). OPIS reports that the Colonial Pipeline resumed gasoline delivery on Line 19 from Atlanta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday after shutting it down last Saturday due to a suspected gasoline leak. Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region should remain steady over the next week.

South and Southeast
The southern regions remain the nation’s cheapest markets for gasoline, led by South Carolina ($2.11), Tennessee ($2.13), Mississippi ($2.14), Alabama ($2.14), Arkansas ($2.15), Texas ($2.15), Oklahoma ($2.15) and Louisiana ($2.17). Pump prices are typically lower in this part of the country based on its proximity to a large number of refineries and relatively low state fuel taxes. Prices in the region should remain on the lower end of the national spectrum provided there are no unexpected disruptions.

Oil Market Dynamics
Markets continue to react to OPEC’s oil production agreement, as participating countries implement cuts. Tuesday saw petroleum futures rise following remarks by Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who said that Saudi Arabia would adhere to the output agreement. He also is confident that the agreed upon production cuts would rebalance the market. Under last fall’s arrangement, OPEC, Russia and other non-cartel members pledged to cut oil output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day for six months. Energy Minister Falih went on to say that if all countries continued to abide by the OPEC agreement the market would be rebalanced and it would not be necessary to further limit production beyond the six-month agreement.

These comments follow reports that Saudi Arabia has cut production by more than the 486,000 barrels per day. Traders will continue to keep an eye on oil supply and demand as OPEC and non-OPEC countries implement the terms of their agreement. At the closing of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 64 cents to settle at $52.37 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.

Julie HallAAA Travel experts share what’s in store for the millions of Americans planning vacations in the new year

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 12, 2017) – According to a recent AAA survey, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 – with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. All signs are pointing to a busy year for vacationers and the travel industry. Approximately one-third (30 percent) of U.S. adults say they are more likely to take a vacation this year compared to 2016, and they’re looking for a new kind of travel experience.

Additional Resources

  • Infographic 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

“There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel in the new year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. “Whether they’re taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today’s travelers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive.”

With much of the country in the midst of a harsh winter, warm-weather destinations in the United States and Caribbean are topping most Americans’ travel itineraries. The top destinations for 2017, based on AAA’s travel bookings, are:

International:

  1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2)
  2. Rome, Italy (1)
  3. Montego Bay, Jamaica (3)
  4. London, England (4)
  5. Nassau, Bahamas (6)

Domestic:

  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2)
  3. Anaheim, California (3)
  4. Miami, Florida (4)
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada (6)

*Numbers in parentheses indicate 2016 rankings.

According to AAA, destinations with the most notable increases in travel bookings include Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Toronto and Vancouver, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico.

AAA’s travel experts have identified these top trends for 2017:

  • Experiential Travel: Both novice and expert travelers alike are seeking travel experiences that help to facilitate a deeper connection to the cultures, people and traditions of a destination. For example, AAA has noted an increase in travelers booking tours that include opportunities to dine with local families or receive hands-on tutorials from local craftspeople.
  • O Canada: Canada is an increasingly popular vacation destination, thanks to its close location and favorable currency exchange rates that make trips there affordable and accessible to more Americans. Canada will also celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017, offering visitors many opportunities to experience special events and learn more about the country’s history and traditions.
  • The “I”s Have It: AAA notes a significant amount of demand for travelers visiting Europe in 2017. Ireland and Iceland are expected to be particularly popular, thanks to the availability of low airfares and the perception that both countries are safe—yet for many travelers, previously unexplored—destinations.
  • River Cruising: According to a AAA survey, four in 10 Americans would consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation and 24 percent said they are likely to take a river cruise in the next five years. And despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials are more likely to consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation than either their Generation X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
  • National Parks: The National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, to great fanfare. Following all-time record visitation in 2015, the national parks remain an attractive vacation destination for many. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely or more likely to visit a national park through the first half of this year, building on the momentum of last year’s centennial celebrations.

Before setting out on a vacation, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience.  Travelers can also download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can be used to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request roadside assistance and more. For more information or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

National Average Increases to Highest Price Since June

January 9th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average price of gas continues to increase, reaching today’s average of $2.37 per gallon, the most expensive average since June 2016.  Gas prices have moved higher by three cents per gallon on the week and 17 cents per gallon on the month. Retail prices have increased for 40 of the past 42 days as a result of market reactions to the OPEC oil cut agreement. Traders and industry alike will keep a close eye on OPEC compliance as they await the release of the first output report which is expected in mid-February.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-9-17-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Arizona ($2.16), Arkansas ($2.16), Texas ($2.17), Oklahoma ($2.17), Louisiana ($2.18) and Missouri ($2.18).
  • The biggest weekly increases are seen in Michigan (+9 cents), Pennsylvania (+8 cents), Delaware (+8 cents), Oregon (+7 cents), West Virginia (+6 cents), Washington (+6 cents), Alaska (+6 cents), Ohio (+5 cents), Virginia (+5 cents) and Maryland (+5 cents).

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 1-9-17-01 

West Coast

A number of refineries in California had challenges over the past week, including a power outage at Phillips 66’s Wilmington refinery last Thursday. The company’s Carson refinery has experienced reduced runs due to issues with the crude oil distillation unit’s heater that have been ongoing since November. Tesoro’s Los Angeles refinery is believed to be planning turnaround activity on a coker unit, hydrotreater and hydrocracker unit during January and February, while flaring activity was reported at Chevron’s Richmond facility, Phillips 66’s Rodeo plant and Shell’s Martinez refinery. OPIS also reports that Valero’s Benicia, California refinery is planning maintenance on a crude distillation unit heading into February.

Reduced gasoline production in the state has historically led to price spikes based on the region’s relative isolation from other markets. States in the region continue to post some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump: Hawaii ($3.03), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.74), Washington ($2.73) and Oregon ($2.55).

South and Southeast

Drivers in the Southern region continue to pay some of the nation’s cheapest prices at the pump. South Carolina ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Arkansas ($2.16), Texas ($2.17), Oklahoma ($2.17), and Louisiana ($2.18) are all listed on the top 10 list of cheapest markets in the country this week. Drivers have seen prices climb higher on the week in every state in the region except Kentucky and Florida. Although prices have moved up, the weekly increases were 3 cents or less in most states. The market remains well supplied with gasoline and prices are expected to continue to remain relatively low in comparison to other regions through the month.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-1-9-17-01

Midwest

According to the latest EIA report, regional Midwest inventories remain abundant and production from regional refineries is also high, however, pump prices in the region remain volatile, with Michigan (+9 cents) and Ohio (+5 cents) seeing weekly increases while drivers in Indiana (-7 cents) and Illinois (< 1 cent) saw weekly declines. Monthly increases in Michigan (+34 cents), Wisconsin (+28 cents) Illinois (+27 cents), Ohio (+27 cents), Indiana (+26 cents) and Minnesota (+26 cents) rank in the nation’s top 10 largest increases and every state in the region is posting double-digit increases over this same time period.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Retail averages steadily increased week-over-week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region, moving by a penny or more in most states. Pennsylvania ($2.65), Washington, D.C. ($2.58) and New York ($2.54) remain the only states with an average price above the $2.50 per gallon benchmark. Colonial Pipeline reported Sunday that they have shut down Line 19 near Chattanooga, Tennessee due to a suspected gasoline release. Line 19 delivers supply to Nashville, Tennessee, from Atlanta, Georgia, via Chattanooga, Tennessee. OPIS reports that an extended shutdown of Line 19 could potentially cause supply issues in the Tennessee region and could also mean a possible back up of supplies into the Gulf Coast.

Oil Market Dynamics

Early Monday morning crude oil prices traded lower as a result of increased Iranian oil exports and reports of increased U.S. drilling. In an effort to capitalize on OPEC production cuts and gain market share, Iran has sold more than 13 million barrels of oil in the last three months. Also impacting markets are reports of increased U.S. rig counts. According to a report from Baker Hughes, U.S. drillers added four more rigs, bringing the total U.S. rig count to 529. Increased oil production by the U.S. may keep a temporary cap on prices, but traders will continue to monitor how OPEC cuts and increased Iranian exports impact the market. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed up 23 cents to settle at $53.99 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.

Tamra Johnson

The New Year began with increased gas prices reaching today’s average of $2.34 per gallon. The national average has moved higher for 34 of the past 35 days, largely due to market reactions to last fall’s OPEC deal. Pump prices increased by five cents on the week, by 18 cents per gallon on the month, and are up by 34 cents on the year.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-2-17-01

Moving into 2017, retail prices will continue to hinge on the ability of cartel countries to successfully implement production cuts, but retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.10), Arizona ($2.12), Alabama ($2.13), Tennessee ($2.13), Mississippi ($2.14), Texas ($2.14), Arkansas ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.15), Oklahoma ($2.15) and Missouri ($2.18).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.01), California ($2.76), Alaska ($2.68), Washington ($2.67), District of Colombia ($2.59), Pennsylvania ($2.57), New York ($2.52), Illinois ($2.49), Oregon ($2.48) and Connecticut ($2.47).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-1-2-17-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be some of the highest in the country, with almost every state in the region landing on the top ten list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.01), California ($2.76), Alaska ($2.68), Washington ($2.67), Oregon ($2.48) and Nevada ($2.43). According to the latest EIA report, refiners in the region increased gasoline production to reach a two month high of 1.63 million b/d. Production levels in the region could slow down this month as PBF Energy is expected to begin planned maintenance on several major units at its 157,000-b/d Torrance, California refinery in mid-January.

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountain states continued to follow the national average upward over the past week. The busy travel holiday and rising cost of oil attributed to increases although averages remain below the $2.50 per gallon benchmark. Arizona ($2.12), Utah ($2.18), Wyoming ($2.19) and Colorado ($2.20) all landed on the list of top-15 cheapest markets in the country.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Retail averages in the region continued to climb higher throughout the busy holiday travel weekend. Washington, D.C. ($2.59), Pennsylvania ($2.57), New York ($2.52) and Connecticut ($2.47) all rank in the nation’s top 10 most expensive markets. The new year also brings gas tax increases for drivers in Pennsylvania (+7.9 cents), North Carolina (+0.3 cents) and Florida (+0.1 cents). Pennsylvania will see rates increase to 58.3 cents per gallon, the highest in the country. New Jersey implemented a 23 cent tax increase in November of 2016, moving its state tax to 37.5 cents per gallon. In West Virginia, the state gas tax drops to 32.20 cents per gallon and in New York the rate drops to 41.84 cents per gallon.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gasoline inventories in the region dropped nearly 1 million bbl last week according to the latest EIA report. The decline can likely be attributed to lingering refinery issues, and as a result, drivers in some parts of the region are paying some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump. Three of the nation’s top 15 most expensive markets are located in the Great Lakes region: Illinois ($2.49), Michigan ($2.42) and Indiana ($2.40). Meanwhile, drivers in Missouri (+9 cents), South Dakota (+8 cents) and Minnesota (+7 cents) have seen prices jump seven cents or more per gallon on the week. Additionally, the largest monthly increases in gas prices are seen in Wisconsin (+29 cents), Illinois (+28 cents), Minnesota (+27 cents), Iowa (+27 cents), Missouri (+25 cents), Nebraska (+25 cents) and Indiana (+23 cents).

Drivers in Michigan (+7.3 cents) and Nebraska (+1.5 cents) will experience higher gas taxes for the new year. Ohio (-7 cents) was the only state in the country to see weekly declines.

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 1-2-17-01

South and Southeast

The Southern region remains home to some of the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline: South Carolina ($2.10), Alabama ($2.13), Tennessee ($2.13), Mississippi ($2.14), Texas ($2.14), Arkansas ($2.15) and Louisiana ($2.15). The region saw some temporary inventory declines last week due to exports and a power outage at CITGO’s Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery that resulted in flaring and excess emissions, according to OPIS. Florida (+9 cents), Arkansas (+8 cents), Texas (+7 cents) and Mississippi (+7 cents) all make the top 10 list for largest weekly increases. Drivers in Georgia (+0.3 cents) also saw gas taxes increases at the start of the new year.

Global Market Dynamics

Both crude oil benchmarks closed out the year posting the largest annual gains since 2009, with Brent gaining 52 percent and West Texas Intermediate gaining 45 percent to close the year. These gains can largely be attributed to the OPEC agreement, a deal brokered by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut crude oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day in an effort to rebalance the global oil supply. Additionally, as 2016 came to a close, U.S. gasoline production reached a record high of 10.537 million bbl for the last week in December. Typically, domestic demand falls in January so higher gasoline production may lead to a stock build in the coming weeks and could have a bearish market impact on gasoline. In 2017, traders will continue to monitor whether participating countries adhere to the OPEC agreement and the rate at which U.S. gasoline production increases. At the close of formal trading session on December 30 on the NYMEX, WTI closed out the year down five cents to settle at $53.72 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.

Drivers Will Welcome a New Year and Higher Gas Prices

December 26th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Retail averages have increased 28 of the past 30 days and prices have moved higher by fractions of a penny since Friday. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline currently sits at $2.29 per gallon, which is five cents more than one week ago, 16 cents more than one month ago and 29 cents more year-over-year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_12-26-16-01

Heading into 2017, gasoline demand is expected to drop drastically during the month of January following the busy holiday travel season. Over the past five years, the average drop during that period has been 358,000 b/d or about 15-million gallons, according to OPIS. The oil information service estimates a larger dip this year.

AAA estimates U.S. drivers have saved about $27 billion at the pump so far this year compared to the same period last year. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.29, 29 cents more than the average price on New Year’s Day in 2016 ($2.00). Most U.S. drivers are expected to pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62.

To start off the new year, all eyes will be on OPEC to see if they, along with partnering countries, will stick to their 6-month promise to cut 1.8-million b/d of crude. OPIS projects that member compliance will likely be around about 70 percent, with expectations that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab Gulf countries will stick to the deal while Libya and Nigeria could potentially increase their production output if conflict in both countries continues.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.04), Mississippi ($2.07), Texas ($2.07), Arkansas ($2.07) and Alabama ($2.08).
  • The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Michigan (+14 cents), Illinois (+13 cents), Wisconsin (+12 cents), Ohio (+10 cents) and Minnesota (+10 cents).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Prices_12-26-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast leads the nation with four of the top five most expensive states located in the region: Hawaii ($2.97), California ($2.70), Alaska ($2.62) and Washington ($2.62). According to the latest EIA report, West Coast gasoline supplies declined 800,000 bbl to 29.2 million bbl for the week ending Dec. 16.  These draws were the result of a few regional refinery issues, strong demand and recent exports out of the region to Mexico and Guatemala. OPIS reports that the delayed restart of Chevron’s 257,200-b/d Richmond, Calif., refinery following planned autumn maintenance was likely a contributor to the drop in supplies. Maintenance at the refinery was originally scheduled to end in November, but was delayed in to the early part of December. Oil prices along with a drop in supplies and increase in demand over the busy holiday travel period are likely to result in rising prices at the pump.

Rockies

Gas prices for drivers in the Rocky Mountain region have been a mixed bag of increases and decreases over the past week. There are four states in the region that are among the top-15 cheapest markets in the country this week: Arizona ($2.10), Utah ($2.12), Wyoming ($2.14) and Colorado ($2.16).

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 12-26-16-01

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes region often sees dramatic fluctuations in pump prices as regional refinery and distribution issues have regularly sent prices sharply higher. The past week has been no different with five states in the region topping the list of the largest weekly increases: Michigan (+14 cents), Illinois (+13 cents), Wisconsin (+12 cents), Ohio (+10 cents) and Minnesota (+10 cents). While increases in Central States have not been as pronounced, they are still substantial, with North Dakota (+9 cents), Iowa (+8 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Nebraska (+6 cents) and South Dakota (+5 cents) all ranking in the top-15.

Last week BP shut down a 70,000-b/d reformer unit at its 430,000-b/d Whiting, Ind., refinery, according to reports from OPIS. The outage was only expected to last a few days but will have impact on supplies in the region. The refinery is the largest in the region and any production outages typically result in increases at the pump.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have also seen price increases over the past week, although they are less than those in the Great Lakes and Central region. Washington D.C. ($2.55), New York ($2.47), Pennsylvania ($2.47) and Connecticut ($2.41) all land on the list of top-10 most expensive markets. The latest report from the EIA shows that East Coast gasoline inventories dropped by 1.1 million bbl last week to 62 million bbl on hand. Although the region remains amply supplied, record breaking travel numbers during the holiday season will likely continue to pressure prices at the pump higher.

South and Southeast

Most drivers in the South and Southeast regions continue to enjoy some of the cheapest prices in the nation due to their proximity to major Gulf Coast refineries and some of the lowest state gasoline taxes in the country. Five states in the region rank in the top-ten lowest prices nationwide: South Carolina ($2.04), Mississippi ($2.07), Texas ($2.07), Arkansas ($2.07) and Alabama ($2.08).

Oil Market Dynamics

Last month, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) along with non-cartel countries worked out an agreement to limit crude oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day beginning in January 2017. Efforts to curb oil production are aimed at rebalancing the oil supply and as a result, markets have reacted, causing retail prices to increase. Last week, Libya announced the re-opening of pipelines from two major oil fields which has led many to speculate that increased production in Libya may counter OPEC’s anticipated cuts. Traders will pay close attention to Libya’s efforts and monitor OPEC’s ability to implement production cuts starting in January. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up seven cents to settle at $53.02 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.

Gas Prices Climb to Highest Price Since October

December 19th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

National pump prices have risen for 20 of the past 21 days, rising a total of 11 cents during this span. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline sits at $2.24 per gallon, which is the highest mark since October. Today’s average is three cents more than one week ago, nine cents more compared to one month ago and 24 cents more than the same date last year. Prices continue to rise due to market expectations of tighter availability following the announcement of an OPEC deal to cut oil production that is scheduled to start in January 2017.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_12-19-16-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: Arkansas ($2.02), Oklahoma ($2.02), South Carolina ($2.03), Missouri ($2.04) and Texas ($2.05).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($2.95), California ($2.67), Alaska ($2.62), Washington ($2.59) and the District of Columbia ($2.54).

West Coast

Drivers on the West Coast continue to pay some of the most expensive prices in the nation, this includes market-leader Hawaii ($2.95), where prices continue to inch back toward the $3 per gallon benchmark. Despite these high prices, drivers in many of these same states are enjoying some of the most dramatic month-over-month declines in the country. Idaho (-18 cents) has the highest monthly discount, while Nevada (-8 cents), Oregon (-5 cents), Arizona (-5 cents), Washington (-5 cents), California (-4 cents) all register in the top ten.

According to recent reports from the U.S. EIA, gasoline production on the West Coast reached a one month high of nearly 1.6 million b/d and gasoline inventories remain at a 15-week high of 29.2 bbl, which was nearly 2 million bbl higher than the same time last year.

A shutdown on the Olympic Pipeline system in the Pacific Northwest temporarily cut into deliveries last week, according to reports from OPIS. BP shutdown the Olympic Pipeline on Monday, December 12 to conduct planned maintenance on the system which distributes refined product throughout Washington state and Oregon. The pipeline was reopened on Thursday, December 15.

Rockies

Pump prices on the week in the Rocky Mountain states were a mixed bag, with Utah (-4 cents) being the only state with a decrease. Despite recent increases in some parts of the region, averages remain below the $2.50 per gallon benchmark.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Week-over-week retail averages increased in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region, moving by +/- 3 cents or less per gallon in most areas. Washington, D.C. ($2.53) is the only area located in this region with an average price above $2.50 per gallon and prices on the whole remain moderate. Consumers in New Jersey (+45 cents), Washington, D.C. (+33 cents), Virginia (+29 cents), Maryland (+27 cents) and Delaware (+27 cents) are all spending 25 cents or more per gallon year-over-year. Eastern gasoline supplies increased by 1.6 million bbl on the week and the market remains well supplied. 

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-12-19-16-01

South and Southeast

South and Southeastern states continue to dominate the rankings of the nation’s least expensive markets for gas, except for Florida where drivers are now paying more than $2.30 per gallon. Arkansas ($2.02) and Oklahoma ($2.02) are the nation’s cheapest markets for retail gasoline. They are followed in the rankings by regional neighbors South Carolina ($2.03), Mississippi ($2.03), Texas ($2.05), Alabama ($2.05), Tennessee ($2.05) and Louisiana ($2.07).

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 12-19-16-01

Midwest and Central States

The Midwest is often the most volatile area in the country for gas prices, and it is not uncommon for prices to move significantly from day to day. At the moment, the average prices in most states are heading up on the week with the exception of Michigan ($2.25) where drivers are paying five cents less. Average prices in other parts of the region have posted among the largest increases in the country over the past week: Indiana (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents), Ohio (+7 cents) and Illinois (+3 cents).

Missouri ($2.04) and Kansas ($2.05) are ranked in the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets despite significant week-over-week increases: Missouri (+7 cents) and Kansas (+3 cents).

Oil Market Dynamics

Last week, markets continued to react to the OPEC production agreement as Saudi Arabia and Russia made clear their intentions to fully cooperate with the production cut. OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed this month to cut oil production collectively by 1.8 million barrels per day in an effort to rebalance the global oil market. In reaction to the OPEC agreement, U.S. interest in oil production has increased and drillers added 12 new oil rigs in the last week, bringing the total oil-rig count to 510 rigs nationwide, according to Baker Hughes Inc. Traders will continue to watch how OPEC and non-OPEC members move forward with the terms of the agreement and how U.S. oil producers react. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.00 to settle at $51.90 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.

Julie HallMore than 103 million Americans will travel this holiday season

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 15, 2016) – More than 103 million Americans—the most on record—are expected to travel for the year-end holidays, according to AAA. This represents a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more people traveling, compared with last year. This comes despite one fewer travel day this holiday season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, December 23 to Monday, January 2, 2017.

Additional Resources

The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by additional consumer spending, a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages. Additionally, low gas prices and increased consumer optimism will prompt more Americans than ever to set out on road trips, take to the skies, or board trains, buses and cruise ships to celebrate the holidays.

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will travel to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney. “Rising incomes and continued low gas prices should make for a joyous holiday travel season.”

Most travelers will drive this holiday season The vast majority of travelers—93.6 million people—will take a holiday road trip, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 2.5 percent, with more than 6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease slightly, to 3.5 million travelers.

New Year’s gas prices second-cheapest in nearly a decade AAA estimates U.S. drivers have saved more than $27 billion at the gas pumps so far this year compared to the same period last year. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.23, 23 cents more than the average price on New Year’s Day 2016 ($2.00). Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62.

Holiday airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, holiday airfares are projected to average $204 for a roundtrip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to increase 7 percent, with travelers spending an average of $128 and $160 per night, respectively. Daily car rental rates will average $66, slightly lower than last year’s holiday travel season.

Warm-weather destinations top the list of most popular holiday destinations With the exception of New York City—an-ever popular holiday destination—warm-weather locales in Nevada, Florida and California top the list of most popular destinations for this holiday season, based on AAA.com bookings.

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. New York City
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Anaheim, California

AAA to rescue more than 980,000 motorists this holiday season AAA expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

For motorists who may encounter winter weather conditions during their holiday road trips, AAA recommends checking windshield wipers and inspecting tires to ensure safe drivability before setting out. Pack an emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle. When driving, slow down and do not tailgate. Leave following distances to a minimum of five to six seconds to allow additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.

Before hitting the road, drivers should also get plenty of sleep to avoid driving drowsy. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who miss just one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep nearly double their risk for a crash. For long trips, drivers should travel at times when normally awake, schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles, avoid heavy foods, travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving, and avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a holiday getaway Before setting out on a holiday trip, travelers should download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can help map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the travel forecast: AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS 2016 year-end holiday travel forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices Rise for 14 Consecutive Days

December 12th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average has increased for 14 days in a row following the OPEC oil production agreement on November 30. Today’s average of $2.21 per gallon is up three cents per gallon on the week and two cents per gallon on the month. The national average is up 20 cents compared to the same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_12-12-16-01

Last month, OPEC agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day beginning January 2017 and markets have continued to react to the production cut agreement with crude oil prices hitting an 18 month high. Retail prices have steadily increased following the news of the OPEC agreement, but the effectiveness of the deal and continued market impacts will hinge on all countries implementing the agreed to production levels.

Quick Stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in four states today including: Oklahoma ($1.96), Missouri ($1.97), Arkansas ($1.98) and Texas ($1.99).
  • Largest monthly increases include: Michigan (+23 cents), Indiana (+22 cents), Ohio (+21 cents), Illinois (+15 cents), Kentucky (+13 cents) and Delaware (+12 cents).

The West Coast is one of the only regions in the country to see prices drop on the week with the exception of Hawaii ($2.91), where drivers are now paying seven cents more per gallon. Other U.S. coastal regions have followed the price of crude oil upward over the past week. Drivers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes and Southern regions all saw increases at the pump due to the increase in crude oil prices:

Largest Weekly Increase

  1. Michigan $2.30     (+9 cents)
  2. Indiana $2.21     (+9 cents)
  3. Hawaii $2.91     (+7 cents)
  4. Ohio $2.22 (+6 cents)
  5. Georgia $2.19     (+6 cents)
  6. North Carolina $2.18 (+6 cents)
  7. Kansas $2.03 (+5 cents)
  8. Alabama $2.04 (+5 cents)
  9. Virginia $2.11 (+5 cents)
  10. Illinois $2.27 (+5 cents)

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 12-12-16-01

Great Lakes

Pump prices in the Great Lakes remain volatile and continue to be impacted by increasing oil prices. Although prices are up in every state in the region this week, Michigan ($2.30) is ranked in the nation’s top 15 most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Over the past month, the Midwest region has seen some of the most dramatic monthly price increases compared to other parts of the country: Michigan (+19 cents), Ohio (+18 cents), Indiana (+18 cents) and Illinois (+12 cents). These increases can likely be attributed to increases in global crude oil prices and planned maintenance at BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest facility), which lasted throughout the month of November.

Pump prices in midcontinent states remained relatively stable. Despite recent price increases along the southern coast, the Central and Southern regions remain the cheapest markets for retail gasoline:

Least Expensive Markets

  1. Oklahoma $1.96
  2. Missouri $1.97
  3. Arkansas $1.98
  4. Texas $1.99
  5. Mississippi $2.02
  6. South Carolina $2.03
  7. Kansas $2.03
  8. Alabama $2.04
  9. Colorado $2.04
  10. Tennessee $2.04

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-12-12-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

Over the weekend, OPEC and non-OPEC producers reached their first deal since 2001 to limit oil output in an effort to reduce global over supply and rebalance the market. Producers from outside the 14-country group agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day. Of that amount, Russia has agreed to cut 300,000 barrels per day with the remaining non-OPEC members cutting the remaining 258,000 barrels to reach the agreed upon levels. As a result, traders will continue to watch how OPEC and non-OPEC members move forward with the terms of the agreement starting in 2017. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 66 cents to settle at $51.50 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.

 

Missing 1-2 Hours of Sleep Doubles Crash Risk

December 6th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra JohnsonAAA Foundation study reveals the dangers of getting less than seven hours of sleep

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 6, 2016)- Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily. And with drowsy driving involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year, AAA warns drivers that getting less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences.

Additional Resources

“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report, Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, reveals that drivers missing 2-3 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period more than quadrupled their risk of a crash compared to drivers getting the recommended seven hours of sleep. This is the same crash risk the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration associates with driving over the legal limit for alcohol.

The AAA Foundation report found that in a 24-hour period, crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily when compared to drivers who slept the recommended seven hours or more:

  • Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk
  • Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk
  • Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk
  • Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk

While 97 percent of drivers told the AAA Foundation they view drowsy driving as a completely unacceptable behavior that is a serious threat to their safety, nearly one in three admit that at least once in the past month they drove when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.

“Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk.”

Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes or not remembering the last few miles driven. However, more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel. AAA urges drivers to not rely on their bodies to provide warning signs of fatigue and should instead prioritize getting plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) in their daily schedules. For longer trips, drivers should also:

  • Travel at times when normally awake
  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
  • Avoid heavy foods
  • Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment

The AAA Foundation report is based on the analysis of a representative sample of 7,234 drivers involved in 4,571 crashes. All data is from the NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey which comprised a representative sample of police-reported crashes that involved at least one vehicle that was towed from the scene and resulted in emergency medical services being dispatched to the scene.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Prices Climb as Market Reacts to OPEC Deal

December 5th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline has increased for seven consecutive days, reaching today’s price of $2.18 per gallon. Today’s average price represents an increase of five cents per gallon compared to one week ago, four cents less than one month ago and 14 cents more than the same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_12-5-16-01

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) elected to cut its collective production when the group met last Wednesday in Vienna, Austria, in an effort to rebalance the global oil supply and raise prices. Markets reacted quickly to the production agreement with crude oil gaining 12% and leading to increased retail prices. The deal is set to take effect in January 2017.

Traditionally this time of year gives way to lower gas prices as a result of cheaper to produce winter-blend fuel and less demand. However, due to the agreement from OPEC it is still unclear if prices will retreat considerably ahead of the upcoming holidays.

Quick Stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in eight states today including: Arkansas ($1.95), Texas ($1.96), Missouri ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Kansas ($1.98), Mississippi ($1.98), South Carolina ($1.98) and Alabama ($1.98).
  • The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Kentucky (+14), Ohio (+14), Michigan (+12), Indiana (+11), Delaware (+11), Illinois (+10), West Virginia (+10), Florida (+9), Maryland (+9) and New Jersey (+9).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-12-5-16-01

West Coast

States in the region continue to post some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump: Hawaii ($2.85), California ($2.67), Washington ($2.59), Alaska ($2.59) and Oregon ($2.40). Despite high prices, the region is one of the only markets in the country that saw prices drop on the week despite a rise in oil futures following the OPEC announcement last Wednesday. Drivers in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, California and Colorado all saw prices drop by a penny or more.

Rockies

The Rockies are the only other region to see drops this week. Drivers in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana saw similar discounts as drivers on the West Coast. Prices will potentially more likely move lower heading into the holiday season as demand continues to drop in the region.

Midwest and Central States

Drivers in Ohio (+14 cents), Michigan (+12 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Illinois (+10 cents) and Missouri (+8 cents) have seen prices jump more than a nickel per gallon on the week, landing all five states on the country’s top-10 list of largest weekly increases. That is despite adequate supply in the region which is likely to get a boost this week. OPIS reports that BP’s 430,000-b/d Whiting refinery in Indiana has completed planned maintenance work and should now be producing at full production rates. A lack of refinery issues in the region has created ample supply which should help pressure pump prices back down in the coming weeks.

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 12-5-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have moved higher over the past week which can likely be attributed to OPEC’s announcement. Increases have been most evident in the Mid-Atlantic, where four states made the list of top-15 largest weekly increases: Delaware (+11 cents), Maryland (+9 cents), New Jersey (+9 cents) and Virginia (+7 cents).

South and Southeast

The Southern region remains home to some of the nation’s lowest average prices for retail gasoline with seven of the nation’s top-10 least-expensive markets: Arkansas ($1.95), Texas ($1.96), Mississippi ($1.98), South Carolina ($1.98), Alabama ($1.99), Tennessee ($2.00) and Louisiana ($2.01). Prices moved higher on the week by a nickel or more in Florida (+9 cents), Tennessee (+6 cents), Texas (+6 cents), Mississippi (+5 cents) and Louisiana (+5 cents) due to a huge rally in the oil market last week that resulted from Wednesday’s OPEC announcement.

Oil Market Dynamics

Following last week’s announcement of OPEC’s production agreement, markets continued to react to the news as oil sold for more than $50 a barrel. This agreement aims to rebalance an oversupplied market and calls for a production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day by the cartel. The organization and non-OPEC members such as Russia are set to meet again in Vienna on December 10 to focus on additional production limits. Russia stated last week that it would participate, but they have failed to follow through on similar agreements in the past. As a result, traders will continue to watch how OPEC members move forward with the terms of the agreement and will keep an eye on Russia and other non-OPEC countries for indications of additional cuts in output. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 62 cents to settle at $51.68 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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