Posts Tagged ‘AAA.com’

Average Gas Price Remains Flat to Close February

February 27th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

National gas prices have remained flat, fluctuating by only a couple of pennies for the last 27 days. Today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.29 per gallon, which is the same price as one week ago, same price as compared to one month ago and 55 cents more than the same date last year. In mid-March, prices will likely rise as more refiners begin to switch from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline and driver demand increases.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.07), Mississippi ($2.08) and Texas ($2.08).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets include: Hawaii ($3.10), California ($2.94), Washington ($2.75), Alaska ($2.74) and Nevada ($2.57).
  • The nation’s top five markets with the most dramatic weekly changes in prices include: Indiana (-10 cents), Utah (+7 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+5 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents).

West Coast

Hawaii ($3.10) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and drivers in the state are paying 16 cents more per gallon than second-place California ($2.94). Regional neighbors, Washington ($2.75), Alaska ($2.74), Nevada ($2.57) and Oregon ($2.56) join in the rankings as the top six most expensive markets for gas. Tight supply in the region has pressured prices higher in most states. The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that West Coast gasoline inventories dropped 600,000 bbl to 30.5 million bbl. Last week, OPIS reports that PBF Energy’s Torrance refinery experienced a fire while Tesoro also reported problems at its Wilmington refinery, which has been undergoing planned maintenance since January.

Rockies

Prices in the region remain stable on the week with the exception of Utah (+7 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents) which both saw sizable increases. Plains All American Pipeline reports that the Wahsatch Pipeline — which receives crude oil from locations near Evanston, Wyoming, and delivers to refineries in Salt Lake City, Utah — will remain down until they address “indications of soil movement.” Due to the pipeline issues, OPIS reports that many refiners in the area have been relying on truck deliveries for supply. HollyFrontier, Silver Eagle and Big West Oil have all cut production rates at their Salt Lake City refineries. Tesoro reports that they have resumed operations at its 63,000-b/d Salt Lake City refinery after temporarily shutting down last week due to supply shortages.

Great Lakes and Central States

Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+5 cents) and Kentucky (+3 cents) are posting the nation’s largest weekly changes. The latest EIA report shows that regional gasoline stocks increased 358,000 bbl, to 60.087 million bbl, while regional refinery utilization dropped for the third consecutive week. HollyFrontier’s 135,000-b/d refinery in El Dorado, Kansas, is currently undergoing planned turnaround work. Region pump prices will likely remain volatile in the coming weeks as refiners begin to make the switch from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions remain relatively stable, moving +/- 3 cents or less on the week. Pennsylvania ($2.52), Washington D.C. ($2.47) and New York ($2.46), all land on the top 10 list of most expensive markets in the country while Virginia ($2.10) lands on the list of top 10 least expensive markets. The latest EIA report shows that Northeast gasoline inventory dropped to 75.488 million bbl, which is more than 3 million bbl higher than this same period last year.

South and Southeast

The region continues to remain home to the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline: South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.07), Mississippi ($2.08) and Texas ($2.08). The latest EIA report shows that gasoline inventories in the region dropped 1.7 million bbl for the week ending February 17. Last week, OPIS reports that Phillips 66 experienced minor operation issues at its 218,747-b/d Ponca City refinery in Oklahoma and at its 154,000-b/d refinery in Borger, Texas.

Oil Market Dynamics

The market opened Monday morning posting gains following commitments from the United Arab Emirates and Iran to catch up with their promised production cuts. Continued compliance from OPEC countries has kept crude oil trading higher than last year, but rising U.S. production has placed a ceiling on the market leading to flat prices.

U.S. oil production continues to grow steadily as evidenced by the increasing rig count. Friday, oil field service company Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. added five additional rigs bringing to total rig count to 602. Additionally, according to the most recent EIA weekly status report, U.S. crude oil inventories rose to a total of 518.7 million barrels. Traders will continue to watch the impact that increased U.S. production and inventories have on the market going forward. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 46 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.

Average Gas Prices Remain Steady Despite Low Demand

February 21st, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

National gas prices have increased fractions of a penny to reach today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline, which is $2.28 per gallon. Today’s average is the same as one week ago, five cents less compared to one month ago and 56 cents more than the same date last year. Prices continue to remain flat due to lower driving demand and an oversupplied market as a result of increased U.S. production. As refinery maintenance season begins and driving demand increases, we could expect to see some of the gasoline supply in the U.S. soaked up.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five markets that have seen the largest monthly decreases include West Virginia $2.27 (-11 cents), New Jersey $2.33 (-9 cents), Pennsylvania $2.53 (-9 cents), Illinois $2.29 (-9 cents) and Delaware $2.22 (-9 cents).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are Hawaii $3.12, California $2.90, Washington $2.74, Alaska $2.71 and Oregon $2.54.

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the country, with every state in the region landing on the top ten list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.12), California ($2.90), Washington ($2.74), Alaska ($2.71), Oregon ($2.54), and Nevada ($2.53). West Coast refinery turnaround work ramped up this week and as a result, the latest EIA report shows a five percent drop in gasoline production. Regional gasoline inventories remained healthy, however, increasing by 860,000 barrels to 31.125 million barrels, the largest build since early January. On Saturday, PBF Energy’s 155,000-b/d Torrance refinery experienced a fire in an oil processing area. OPIS reports that operations in other parts of the refinery have continued while the impacted area has been shut down.

Rockies

Drivers in the region have seen a mixed bag of modest increases and decreases over the past week. Issues with the Wahsatch Pipeline, which receives crude oil from locations near Evanston, Wyoming and delivers to refineries in Salt Lake City, Utah, has caused supply problems for some refiners in the area. OPIS reports that Plains All American Pipeline shut down the pipeline last week to address “indications of soil movement” and will keep it closed until they are able to ensure safe operations. Because of the shutdown, OPIS reports that HollyFrontier, Chevron, Silver Eagle and Big West Oil have had to cut production rates at their Salt Lake City refineries and instead depend on truck delivery for crude supplies. Tesoro shut down production at its 63,000-b/d Salt Lake City refinery due to the pipeline issues. Despite problems with the line, state averages in the Utah area have only moved fractions of a penny on the week.

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Over the past week, retail averages have remained stable in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region, moving by a penny or less in most areas. Pennsylvania ($2.53) and Washington, D.C. ($2.50) are the only places in the regions with an average price at or above $2.50 per gallon and prices overall remain moderate. New Jersey (-9 cents), Pennsylvania (-9 cents), Delaware (-9 cents), Virginia (-9 cents), Maine (-8 cents) and Washington, D.C. (-7 cents) all landed on the top 15 list of largest monthly declines.

According to the latest EIA report, East Coast gasoline stocks increased by 2.5 million bbl to 76.3 million bbl – a record high for the region. OPIS reports that the increases occurred despite lower imports and lower gasoline production over the past week.

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes and Central States continue to be the most volatile regions in the country for gas prices with four states landing on the top 10 list of largest weekly changes: Indiana (+5 cents), Michigan (-3 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents) and Ohio (-2 cents).

Several refineries in the Great Lakes and Central regions have cut production rates this week due to planned and unplanned maintenance. Phillips 66’s 330,000-b/d Wood River refinery located in Roxana, Illinois reported a problem with an oil processing unit Tuesday, while OPIS also reports that the company’s 218,747-b/d Ponca City refinery in Oklahoma shut down a fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit for unplanned maintenance work. This week’s EIA report shows that gasoline inventories in the Midwest declined for the first time in the past six weeks.

South and Southeast

South and Southeastern states continue to dominate the rankings of the nation’s least expensive markets for gas. South Carolina ($2.04), Alabama ($2.06) and Tennessee ($2.06) are the nation’s cheapest markets for retail gasoline. They are followed in the rankings by regional neighbors, Mississippi ($2.08), Texas ($2.08) and Arkansas ($2.10). Spring turnaround season will likely bring price increases at the pump. OPIS reports that Phillips 66 is planning to begin maintenance in the next 10 days at its 154,000-b/d Borger refinery in the Texas Panhandle.

Oil Market Dynamics

Markets opened Tuesday morning reporting gains after OPEC reiterated its commitment to cut production. OPEC’s most recent Monthly Oil Market Report stated that participating countries successfully implemented 90 percent of the agreed production cuts. Last November, OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day for six months starting in 2017 and have since hinted at the possibility of extending those cuts further. The impact the OPEC agreement has on the market will depend on the rate at which the participating countries comply with production cuts. At this time U.S. oil production is up and so are crude oil inventories so retail prices have remained fairly steady. This could all change if OPEC maintains its high level of compliance and refinery maintenance season eats into U.S. supply as driving demand increases. Traders will continue to keep a close eye on OPEC compliance and U.S. supply and production. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 4 cents to settle at $53.40 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.

Ellen Edmonds Contact TileSeventy percent of U.S. drivers at risk for costly, dangerous rust damage

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2017) – As the end of winter approaches, millions of Americans will face pricey vehicle repairs from rust damage caused by chemicals used to de-ice roadways. According to a new AAA survey, U.S. drivers paid an estimated $15.4 billion in rust repairs caused by de-icing methods over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually. AAA warns drivers, especially the 70 percent (150 million) who live in areas affected by snow and ice, to take action to prevent dangerous rust-related vehicle damage to brake lines, fuel tanks, exhaust systems and other critical vehicle components.

Additional Resources

“While the application of de-icing salts and solutions is critical to keeping our nation’s roadways safe every winter, it’s important that drivers pay attention to warning signs that their vehicle may be suffering from rust-related damage,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This can be much more than a cosmetic issue, it can also create serious safety issues for drivers by impacting brake lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and electrical connections.”

AAA strongly urges drivers who experience any of the following vehicle malfunctions to immediately move the vehicle off the road to a safe location and have it towed to a trusted repair facility.

  • In-dash warning lights for brakes and other critical systems.
  • A “spongey” or soft feeling when applying pressure to the brake pedal.
  • An unusually loud exhaust sound or the smell of fumes in or around the vehicle.
  • The prominent smell of gasoline or diesel fuel when the vehicle is parked or running.

In recent years, many state and local transportation departments have shifted from using rock salt to liquid de-icers to combat ice and snow on the roadways. These newer alternatives are more effective than traditional salt because they can be applied before a snowstorm, have a lower freezing point and melt ice and snow faster. However, these same characteristics can be even more damaging to vehicles since the chemicals remain in liquid form longer and are more likely to coat components and seep into cracks and crevices where corrosion can accelerate.

“In the last five years, 22 million U.S. drivers have experienced rust damage to their cars due to salt and liquid de-icers,” continued Nielsen. “In addition to the safety risk, repairs to fix these problems are often costly, averaging almost $500 per occurrence.”

While some rust damage is unavoidable, AAA recommends drivers take the following preventative steps in order to reduce the possibility of vehicle damage:

  • When possible, limit driving immediately before, during and after winter storms when salt and de-icing solutions are being applied and are at their highest concentrations.
  • Frequently wash your vehicle, paying particular attention to the undercarriage. This will loosen, dissolve and neutralize road salts. Many drive-through car washes offer an undercarriage rinse as an option.
  • Always use a high-quality car wash solution, not a household dish detergent that will strip the wax from your vehicle.
  • Repair any body damage and touch up paint scratches and chips that expose bare metal which could lead to rust.
  • Before the start of winter, thoroughly wash and clean your vehicle prior to the start of winter and apply a coat of wax to protect the finish.
  • Give the entire vehicle and undercarriage one last cleaning in the spring. Any deposits left over from winter can continue to cause corrosion year-round if not properly removed.

Pothole damage is another concern for drivers, as snow and ice melt and roadways begin to crumble. A new AAA survey found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repair in 2016, with repair bills ranging from under $250 to more than $1000. To address this issue, AAA believes that more funding is needed to keep pace with critical repairs and ongoing maintenance of the nation’s roadways.

When pothole or rust damage occurs, it is imperative to choose a reputable repair facility. The AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) network includes nearly 7,000 facilities which have met AAA’s high standards, including, certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, rigorous inspections and customer satisfaction. AAA members are eligible for special benefits such as priority service, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, discounts, free inspections, dispute resolution assistance and more. To locate an AAR shop in your area, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.

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.

Young Millennials Top List of Worst Behaved Drivers

February 15th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra JohnsonNew study shows that 88 percent of young millennials engage in risky behavior behind the wheel

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 15, 2017) ― A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers. These dangerous behaviors ― which increase crash risk ― included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. These findings come as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than 7 percent, the largest single-year increase in five decades.

Additional Resources

“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

By rank and by age group, the percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red light running or texting behind the wheel in the past 30 days include:

  1. Drivers ages 19-24: 88.4 percent
  2. Drivers ages 25-39: 79.2 percent
  3. Drivers ages 40-59: 75.2 percent
  4. Drivers ages 16-18: 69.3 percent
  5. Drivers ages 75+: 69.1 percent
  6. Drivers ages 60-74: 67.3 percent

Texting While Driving

  • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to report having read a text message or e-mail while driving in the last 30 days (66.1 percent vs. 40.2 percent).
  • Drivers ages 19-24 were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving (59.3 percent vs. 31.4 percent).

Speeding

  • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
  • Nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to less than 5 percent of all drivers.

Red- Light Running

  • Nearly 50 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported driving through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.
  • Nearly 14 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive through a light that just turned red, when they could have stopped safely, compared to about 6 percent of all drivers.

The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.

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.

Gas Prices Increase Slightly on the Week

February 13th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Gas prices edged up higher fractions of a penny over the weekend to reach today’s average price of $2.28. This is seven cents less per gallon on the month and an increase of 58 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_2-13-17-01

Gas prices have remained relatively steady the past month due to a well-supplied crude oil market. Today the Organization of the Exporting Petroleum Countries (OPEC) released their Monthly Oil Market Report showing that participating countries implemented 90 percent of the agreed upon production cuts, which took effect on January 1, 2017. Despite production cuts by OPEC, the market remains overfed due to increased U.S. drilling and production.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($2.87), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.73) and Pennsylvania ($2.53).
  • Averages are down in many states, with the largest monthly savings experienced by: Delaware (-18 cents), Ohio (-17 cents), West Virginia (-16 cents), Illinois (-15 cents) and Wisconsin (-13 cents).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_2-13-17-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the nation, with all states in the region landing on the list of top 10 most expensive U.S. markets: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($2.87), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.73), Oregon ($2.52) and Nevada ($2.51). Prices in the region have crept higher due to some refinery maintenance last week. OPIS reports that Chevron shutdown two production units at its 295,000-b/d refinery in El Segundo, California, for unplanned maintenance last Monday, while the company’s 257,200-b/d Richmond, California, refinery was also closed last week due to a reported problem with production equipment. According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, West Coast gasoline inventories dropped by 339,000 bbl to 30.305 million bbl. This was the third consecutive week of production declines in the region.

Rockies

Prices in the region have remained relatively stable, only moving by +/-3 cents or less in most states over the past month. Prices tend to be geographically insulated from movement tied to global crude oil prices. Regional prices may increase this spring as seasonal effects like increased demand and the switchover to more expensive-to-produce summer-blend gasoline take effect.

Midwest and Central States

Prices in the Central region remained relatively stable over the past week while parts of the Great Lakes region saw dramatic increases: Indiana (+12 cents), Michigan (+8 cents) and Ohio (+6 cents). Chicago gasoline spot prices jumped last week following reports of a fire at CITGO’s 185,200 b/d refinery in Lemont, Illinois. OPIS also reports unplanned maintenance at Husky Energy’s 170,000 b/d refinery in Lima, Ohio. The latest EIA report shows that Midwest gasoline inventories climbed to 60.251 million bbl last week while gasoline production also increased to 2.435 million b/d.

Top10 Largest Monthly Declines-2-13-17-01 

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Drivers in much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions saw prices decrease over the past week with Washington, D.C. (-3 cents), West Virginia (-3 cents), North Carolina (-2 cents) and Pennsylvania (-2 cents) all topping the list of largest weekly declines. The latest EIA report shows that East Coast gasoline inventories increased by 300,000 bbl to 73.8 million bbl, expanding on last week’s record storage levels. In addition, crude oil imports have more than doubled along the East Coast, moving from 521,000-b/d to a total of 1.049 million-b/d last week.

South and Southeast

Drivers in the South and Southeastern quadrant of the U.S. continue to enjoy some of the lowest prices in the nation. Six states in the region rank in the top-ten lowest prices: South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.05), Mississippi ($2.07), Texas ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.11) and Louisiana ($2.12). The latest EIA report shows a national drop in gasoline inventories that was driven by a 2 million bbl decline in the Gulf Coast region.

Oil Market Dynamics

Monday morning crude oil prices slipped slightly despite reports that OPEC members cut 890,000 barrels of oil per day in January. OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report stated that participating countries successfully implemented 90 percent of the agreed production cuts they pledged in last year’s historic deal. It also showed that some producers, like Saudi Arabia, cut more than was originally required. In November of last year, OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to cut the amount of oil they were producing collectively by 1.8 million barrels per day for six months, starting on January 1.

Any gains this report may have resulted in have been tempered by the continued increase in U.S. drilling and production. According to Baker Hughes, over the past week the U.S. added eight more oil rigs- bringing the total count to 591, which is the highest number since October 2015. Traders will continue to watch for cartel production compliance and any fluctuations in U.S. production. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up 86 cents, settling at $53.86 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 Remain Stable Despite Record Low Demand

February 6th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable over the past week, settling at today’s price of $2.27 per gallon. Although today’s average remains flat compared to one week ago, drivers are paying ten cents less per gallon month-over-month, and 52 cents more per gallon year-over-year. Pump prices have been pressured higher overall due to cuts in oil production globally, but increased U.S. production and low demand has led to a leveling out of prices over the last couple of weeks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly estimates of U.S. gasoline demand show that January 2017 figures are down 6 percent from January 2016 and are at their lowest standing for the first month of the year since 2012.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_2-6-17-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expense markets are: Hawaii (3.11), California ($2.83), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.72) and the District of Colombia ($2.55).
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.06), Ohio ($2.07) and Mississippi ($2.07).
  • The top five markets with the most dramatic year-over-year increases in gas prices include: Minnesota (+71 cents), Michigan (+68 cents), New Jersey (+67 cents), Illinois (+67 cents) and Kansas (+66 cents).

Top10 Largest Yearly Increases Gas Prices 2-6-17-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country with six states in the region topping the list of most expensive U.S. markets: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($2.83), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.72), Oregon ($2.52), and Nevada ($2.49). Prices in some parts of the region have crept higher due to planned and unplanned refinery maintenance and tight supply in Northern California.

According to the latest EIA report, West Coast refinery utilization rates dropped 4.2 percent – a five week low. OPIS reports that these drops come as planned maintenance will likely began at Tesoro’s 107,000-b/d Wilmington plant, as well as at Valero’s 149,000-b/d Benicia refinery. Phillips 66 is also planning to begin seasonal turnaround work this week at its refinery in Ferndale, Washington. The work is expected to last at least 45 days.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies region have remained relatively stable over the past week with averages in most states fluctuating by two cents per gallon or less. A recent refinery project update from Phillips 66 shows that they plan to increase Canadian heavy crude processing capability at their Billings, Montana, refinery — 60,000-b/d– during the first half of the year. This, along with seasonal turnaround at other regional refineries, will likely result in increases at the pump for drivers as we head into the spring.

Great Lakes and Central States

As is often the case, volatility has characterized pump prices in the Great Lakes region over the past few weeks. Many states in the region reflected double-digit decreases three weeks ago, only to see gains over the past seven days, led by Indiana (+5 cents), Ohio (+5 cents), Michigan (+4 cents) and Kentucky (+3 cents).

The latest EIA report shows that Midwest gasoline stocks increased by nearly 3.5 million bbl to a total of almost 60 million bbl last week – the fifth consecutive weekly build and a clear sign of low regional demand.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

The EIA’s most recent report shows that East Coast inventories increased by 1.9 million bbl last week to 73.5 million bbl on hand – 6 million bbl more than last year. OPIS reports that it is common to see inventories build during the slow winter season, but this level of buildup has pressured market prices lower. Delaware (-4 cents), Maine (-4 cents), West Virginia (-3 cents), New Jersey (- 3 cents), Pennsylvania (-3 cents) and Virginia (-2 cents) all land on the nations list of top ten weekly decreases.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-2-6-17-01

South and Southeast

Markets in the South and Southeast continue to post some of the lowest prices for retail gasoline in the nation, including South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.07), Texas ($2.08), Arkansas ($2.09) and Oklahoma ($2.10). The latest EIA report shows that Gulf Coast crude oil imports jumped over 750,000-b/d last week, to a total of 3.461 million b/d. The region also saw significant increases in U.S. crude oil inventory, with supplies increasing by 8.5 million bbl to 256.7 million bbl last week. OPIS reports that most other regions saw storage levels remain steady or decrease.

PBF Energy began turnaround work at its 197,000-b/d refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana last week that should wrap up by March 3. In addition, the Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC is back in full operation. The company released a statement Sunday saying they have restarted their crude pipeline after shutting down January 30 due to a spill near Trenton, Texas.

Oil Market Dynamics

Markets opened Monday morning with slightly higher oil prices following new U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran after its missile tests. Worries that tensions between the U.S. and Iran could impact crude oil supplies have been tempered by increasing U.S. oil production. Baker Hughes, an oil field services company, reported that U.S. energy companies added 17 oil rigs the week of February 3, bringing the total U.S. rig count to 583. The potential for more U.S. oil production has kept a ceiling on oil prices and diminished the impact of efforts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut production and rebalance global oil supply. Traders will keep an eye of U.S.-Iran relations and any further gains in U.S. oil production. At the closing of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 29 cents to settle at $53.83 per barrel.

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

 

Michael Green Contact Tile

(WASHINGTON, January 31, 2017) AAA’s President and CEO, Marshall Doney, has issued the following statement in response to the confirmation of Elaine Chao as U.S. Transportation Secretary:

“I commend the Senate for moving swiftly to confirm Elaine Chao as the nation’s 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Chao’s commitment to public service is commendable and her previous service at U.S. DOT will serve her well as she advances the department’s goals to enhance the safety, efficiency and accessibility of the nation’s transportation system. AAA stands ready to work with Secretary Chao to identify solutions for transportation safety and funding challenges and intelligent transportation systems, automation and other shared priorities. AAA firmly believes that significant, additional investments are needed to maintain existing infrastructure and to enhance the nation’s system. We look forward to working with Secretary Chao to ensure that our transportation system is safe, reliable and efficient, and that the nation remains globally competitive in a rapidly changing economy.”

National Gas Price Average Drops 21 Consecutive Days

January 30th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Reported updated on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Continual growth in the number of U.S. oil rigs and the increased drilling it implies are raising expectations for a climb in domestic oil production. Additionally, increased U.S. crude oil production coupled with lower driving demand has kept downward pressure on the national average price at the pump, which has fallen for 21 consecutive days. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.27 per gallon, down four cents versus one week ago, five cents less than one month ago, but 47 cents more per gallon year-over-year.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-30-17-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.07), California ($2.80), Alaska ($2.74), Washington ($2.73) and Pennsylvania ($2.57).
  • The top five markets with the most dramatic monthly decreases in gas prices include: Ohio (-33 cents), Indiana (-31 cents), Michigan (-18 cents), Illinois (-18 cents) and Kentucky (-17 cents).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_1-30-17-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the country, with every state in the region landing on the top ten list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.07), California ($2.80), Alaska ($2.74), Washington ($2.73), Oregon ($2.52) and Nevada ($2.47). Prices have been relatively steady over the past week despite reports of growing gasoline production and supply in the California market. The California Energy Commission (CEC) reports that California reformulated gasoline inventories increased by 227,000 bbl to reach a total of 6.637 million bbl for the week ending January 20. According to CEC, California refiners increased production of the state’s boutique CARB RFG grade gasoline for use out-of-state. There is also growing demand for non-California reformulated gasoline resulting from increased exports to Mexico and typical demand in Nevada and Arizona.

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained steady, moving +/- 2 cents or less in most of the region. Prices are expected to follow the national average decrease this week due to suppliers in most parts of the region dropping prices to help move product. These discounts are most prevalent in Wyoming, where commercial and consumer demand typically drop significantly in midwinter.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to drop this week with five states landing on the list of largest weekly declines: Ohio (-11 cents), Michigan (-9 cents), Illinois (-9 cents), Indiana (-8 cents) and Wisconsin (-4 cents). Like suppliers in the Rockies, those in the Great Lakes and Central region are offering steep discounts to help clear out product. Low demand and healthy supply in the Great Lakes region should continue to pressure prices down over the next week.

Prices for drivers in the Central part of the country remain flat despite the shutdown of the Magellan Pipeline last Wednesday. A leak was discovered on a section of the pipeline in Worth County, Iowa. OPIS reports that Magellan resumed operations on the pipeline between Rosemount, Minnesota, and Mason City, Iowa, on Saturday after “repairs to the damaged section of pipeline were safely completed.” This week Missouri ($2.10) and Oklahoma ($2.11) both appear on the top 10 list of least expensive markets.

Top10 Largest Weekly Declines-1-30-17-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast followed the national average down this week. Wells Fargo attributes the region’s significantly low demand over the past month to higher than normal rainfall levels, which kept drivers off the road. This includes some of the most densely populated areas along the East Coast. The latest U.S. Energy Information Administration report shows that regional gasoline supply increased by 0.9 million bbl last week, to a total of 71.6 million bbl.

Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region should continue to drop this week due to low demand and healthy supply. Despite recent drops, Pennsylvania ($2.57), Washington D.C. ($2.52), New York ($2.50) and Connecticut ($2.44) all landed on the list of most expensive markets for the week.

South and Southeast

Pump prices continue to move down in the South and Southeast, with the regions featuring five of the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina ($2.04), Alabama ($2.07), Mississippi ($2.08), Texas ($2.10) and Arkansas ($2.11). The Gulf Coast is home to the bulk of U.S. refining capacity, which helps to keep prices low. Ample supply tied to low demand should keep regional prices down until the seasonal switch to the production of more costly summer-blend gasoline this spring.

Oil Market Dynamics

Markets opened Monday morning posting steady crude oil prices as a result of increased U.S. oil production. Oil-services firm Baker Hughes reported that drillers added 15 rigs in the U.S., bringing the total crude oil rig count to 566, the highest since November 2015. The increased U.S. production continues to offset OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the global oil market. End of month surveys of OPEC production cuts are expected tomorrow and traders will be paying close attention to the cartel’s agreement compliance. Market watchers will also keep a close eye on U.S. production and the impact it has on supply and demand. At the closing of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 61 cents to settle at $53.17 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 HallFive Diamond establishments are noted for contemporary designs, premier quality and personalized services

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 27, 2017) – AAA has unveiled 63 restaurants and 120 hotels that have earned the AAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for the 2017 Five Diamond Award list. This exclusive group represents just 0.3 percent of the nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated restaurants and hotels. Following rigorous evaluations from AAA’s professional inspectors, the following establishments were added as Five Diamond honorees in 2016.

Additional Resources

 

The Modern – New York City

AAA Inspector Notes: An exquisite museum sculpture garden provides this AAA Five Diamond restaurant a sublime, cosmopolitan and relaxed setting for a most splendid meal. The prix-fixe menus focus on seasonal, high-quality ingredients; sautéed foie gras, lobster steamed in spinach, bone marrow-crusted beef and Long Island duck are standouts. Service is energetic and diligent. The wine list is ample, and desserts are, like the setting, wonderfully artistic. Chef Abram Bissell adds his own signature and contemporary New American touch, and service staff is a pleasing blend of professional, enthusiastic young servers and a highly knowledgeable old guard.

Four Seasons Resort Lana’i – Lanai City, Hawaii

AAA Inspector Notes: The newly renovated AAA Five Diamond resort provides panoramic ocean views atop rugged lava cliffs and white sand beaches. Accommodations are culturally contextual, giving a nod to Hawaiian aesthetics. Guests will find unsurpassed in-room technology, including a 75-inch flat-screen television, multi-option panel controls for lighting and window coverings and an in-room iPad loaded with resort information and guest request options.

The St. Regis New York – New York City

AAA Inspector Notes: A New York landmark since 1904, this appealing AAA Five Diamond property offers style at a grand level. When combined with contemporary luxury and attentive services, it is in a rarefied, supreme class altogether. This historic hotel was built by John Jacob Aster IV as a sister property to the Waldorf Astoria, just a few years before Astor went down with the Titanic. Today, guests can enjoy unlimited use of the private on-site health club, complimentary garment pressing upon arrival and fresh fruit or candy delivered daily.

Spice Island Beach Resort – St. George’s, Grenada

AAA Inspector Notes: Situated on a gorgeous white-sand beach, this all-inclusive AAA Five Diamond resort has richly decorated, luxurious suites with furnished balconies or terraces. Some units also come with private plunge pools and four-poster canopy beds. The suites, tucked among private gardens dotted by lemon, almond and sea grape trees, are spread out in several buildings and afford very nice privacy.

Four Seasons Hotel Mexico D.F. – Mexico City

AAA Inspector Notes: Recently renovated from top to bottom, the design of this AAA Five Diamond hotel is stylish and sophisticated throughout. The elegantly appointed guest rooms are chic and many overlook a beautifully landscaped courtyard. Spanish colonial-inspired rooms feature LCD flat-screen televisions, iPod docking station and mini-bars. Marble-covered bathrooms include a deep soaking tub and separate shower.

Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Dorado, Puerto Rico

AAA Inspector Notes: Cutting-edge AAA Five Diamond luxury is wrapped in an envelope of naturally preserved sanctuary-style surroundings. The guest suites are spacious and have luxurious amenities and ocean views, with some also featuring private pools. Guests can indulge at the stupendous five-acre spa that includes a complete hydro treatment area and treehouse treatment rooms. The service is stellar from beginning to end and the ambience of exclusivity is self-evident. The pool area faces a wide swath of beach with views of turquoise ocean water.

The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond, Virginia

AAA Inspector Notes: This ornate 1895 Beaux-Arts hotel is a historic landmark with striking architectural details, including a Tiffany stained-glass rotunda, a marble statue of Thomas Jefferson and a grand staircase. A small museum tells of the AAA Five Diamond property’s storied past and dispels many of the rumors and historic tales associated with the hotel.

“Five Diamond establishments represent the upper echelon of hospitality, redefining personalized service, using creativity to enhance guest comfort and providing memorable experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections and Diamond Ratings. “Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment and is a point of great pride for these top hotels and restaurants.”

Also of note among the new additions to the list is the first Five Diamond Rated property in Grenada, Spice Island Beach Resort. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs remains the only hotel that has maintained the Five Diamond Rating for 41 consecutive years – since 1976 when AAA first introduced the Diamond Ratings for accommodations. The Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Virginia remains the longest tenured Five Diamond restaurant, the only one to maintain the coveted status for 29 consecutive years, since 1988.

“These leading edge properties are well-positioned to meet the needs of discerning travelers. Their noted attributes include contemporary design trends and the highest quality food and amenities. Personalized, attentive service is foremost, delivered in ways that offer guests inspiring and memorable local experiences,” said Petrone.

Candidates for the Five Diamond Rating undergo multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts. Using guidelines weighted by member priorities, inspectors meticulously evaluate guest services and physical attributes to assess the level of competence, refinement and hospitality and assign a corresponding rating of One to Five Diamonds.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete lists of Four and Five Diamond hotels and restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online TripTik Travel Planner mapping and routing tool, searchable online AAA Travel Guides and AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 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.

Restaurant Images

The Modern

(Photo Credit:Photographer in file name, followed by The Modern)

The-Modern-Dining-Room-Ricotta-Cannoli-credit-Nathan-Rawlinson The-Modern-DiningRoom-Green-Apple-Panna-Cotta-credit-Nathan-Rawlinson The-Modern-Bar-Room-Pea-Salad-Burrata-Mint-credit-Nathan-Rawlinson The-Modern-Bar-Room-credit-Nathan-Rawlinson The-Modern-BarRoom-and-The-Modern-Empty-credit-Benjamin-Johnson

 

Hotel Images

Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i)

Four-Seasons-resorts-Lanai-5 Four-Seasons-resorts-Lanai-3 Four-Seasons-resorts-Lanai-2 Four-Seasons-resorts-Lanai-4 Four-Seasons-Resorts-Lanai

 

The St. Regis New York

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of The St. Regis New York)

St-Regis-TiffanySuite St-Regis-Royal Suite The St. Regis New York The St. Regis New York Newly renovated St. Regis New York - King Cole Bar and Restaurant reopens October 2013

 

Spice Island Beach Resort

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Spice Island Beach Resort)

Version 2 Spice-Island-Beach-Resort-accommodations14 Spice-Island-Beach-Resort-accommodations-13 Spice-Island-Beach-Resort-Oasis-Swimming Pool-Swim-Up-Jacuzzi Spice-Island-Beach-Resort-RoyalCollection02

 

Four Seasons Hotel Mexico D.F.

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Mexico City)

Four-Seasons-Hotel-Mexico-City-ARCH-COURTYARD-1-0015 Four-Seasons-Hotel-Mexico-City-ARCH-LOBBY-STAIRCASE-0700 Four-Seasons-Hotel-Mexico-City-Pool Four-Seasons-Hotel-Mexico-City-Presidential-Suite-Bathroom Four-Seasons-Hotel-Mexico-City--RM-225-1727

 

Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve)

Dorado-Beach_00113 Dorado-Beach_00159 Dorado-Beach_00207 Dorado-Beach_00266 Dorado-Beach_00315

 

The Jefferson Hotel

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Jefferson Hotel)

The-Jefferson-Hotel-Rotunda-Lobby-and-Grand-Staircase The-Jefferson-Hotel-pool The-Jefferson-Hotel-Grand-Premier-2 The-Jefferson-Hotel-Entrance The-Jefferson-Hotel-Bath

 

 

Increased U.S. Oil Production Pushes Pump Prices Lower

January 23rd, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average price of gas continues to decline as U.S. oil production increases. Today’s average price of $2.31 per gallon represents a decrease of three cents per gallon on the week, four cents per gallon on the month, and prices have moved lower for 14 of the past 15 days. Despite this recent trend lower, retail averages are up by 46 cents per gallon as compared to one year ago.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-23-17-01

  • Quick Stats
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.07), Tennessee ($2.11), Alabama ($2.11), Mississippi ($2.11) and Indiana ($2.12).
  • The states with the largest weekly decreases in gas prices include: Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Indiana (-8 cents), Illinois (-8 cents) and Kentucky (-6 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-1-23-17-01

West Coast

Prices on the West Coast remain the most expensive in the nation, with five states landing on the list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.07), California ($2.80), Alaska ($2.77), Washington ($2.74) and Oregon ($2.54). While prices in most parts of the region have followed the national average trending lower, they have been some of the smallest decreases in the country. Recent reports from the California Energy Commission (CEC) show that California suppliers currently have a supply of summer blend gasoline on hand and are storing barrels until the upcoming seasonal shift to RVP gasoline. In the week ending January 13, RFG production was cut by 350,000 bbl to around 6.6 million bbl, yet inventories jumped 184,000 bbl to 6.35 million bbl.

Supply levels for current season gasoline are healthy across the region. OPIS reports that Valero’s Benicia, California, refinery has set a large turnaround schedule that will begin this month.

Rockies

Prices in the Rockies remained relatively steady over the past week, moving +/- 2 cents or less in most markets. Prices in the region are often geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices and have generally been among the more stable in the nation.

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in the Great Lakes region continue to see impressive discounts with four states in the region topping the list of largest weekly declines: Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Indiana (-8 cents) and Illinois (-8 cents). Most Central States, with the exception of Missouri, saw declines on the week. The most recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows that Midwest storage levels increased by 1 million-bbl over the past week, to a total of 53 million bbl. Storage increases paired with a drop in demand this month likely attributed to regional and national price declines. Tennessee ($2.11), Indiana ($2.12), Ohio ($2.13) and Missouri ($2.16) all landed on the top 10 list of least expensive markets.

Top10 Largest Weekly Declines-1-23-17-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have followed the national average down over the past week with Delaware (- 5 cents), Maryland (-4 cents) and North Carolina (-4 cents) all landing on the top 10 list of largest weekly declines. The latest EIA report shows that total Northeast gasoline stocks increased by 3.4 million bbl to reach a total of 70.7 million bbl, which is the highest level since August 2016. Despite the declines at the pump, Pennsylvania ($2.61), Washington, D.C. ($2.56), New York ($2.52) and Connecticut ($2.46) remain among the top 10 most expensive markets in the country.

South and Southeast

Gas prices in the South and Southeast continue to top the list for lowest prices, with six out of ten of the nation’s cheapest retail markets located in this region: South Carolina ($2.07), Alabama ($2.11), Mississippi ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.12), Texas ($2.13) and Arkansas ($2.13). Multiple refineries in the Texas area have reported issues over the past few weeks. LyondellBasell’s 302,300-b/d Houston refinery reported a power outage on Friday, while Western Refining’s refinery in El Paso, Texas, is back online after a fire on January 13. U.S. gasoline exports dropped slightly to 923,000 b/d. OPIS reports that the declines can likely be tied to issues with fog on the Gulf Coast over the past few weeks.

Global Market Dynamics

At Sunday’s OPEC meeting, energy ministers announced that the cartel has successfully limited oil output in an effort to reduce oversupply and support crude oil prices. At the meeting, OPEC announced that participating countries had already cut production by 1.5 million barrels per day. Eleven of OPEC’s 13 members along with 11 non-OPEC countries struck an agreement last November to cut production collectively by 1.8 million barrels per day for the first six months of 2017. Participating members also agreed to create a joint technical committee (JTC) to work with the OPEC Secretariat in assembling a production data report that will be released the 17th of every month. The JTC will meet again on March 17 in Kuwait.

OPEC’s production announcement did little to impact crude oil futures, which were trading lower early Monday. The drop is likely a result of an increase in U.S. oil production as evidenced by the 35 additional oilrigs reported by Baker Hughes. The introduction of these new rigs brings the total U.S. rig count to 694, which represents a significant increase in output counteracting OPEC’s production cut. Traders will keep a close eye on how OPEC output cuts and increased U.S. production impact the market moving forward. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed up $1.05 to settle at $52.42 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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