Posts Tagged ‘AAA.com’

Gas Prices to Keep Dropping in October

September 30th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

Consumers Paid the Cheapest September Gas Prices in Four Years

  • Drivers paid the lowest September gas prices since 2010 with the monthly average at $3.39 per gallon, which was about 13 cents less than last year and 44 cents less expensive than 2012.
  • “American drivers will have a bit more money to spend or use on savings as gas prices continue to fall,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is a nice relief for most of us to pay a little less than in recent years to fill up at the gas station.”
  • Gas prices have declined about ten cents per gallon since the beginning of the month with the daily average falling 24 out of 30 days in September. This is the fourth consecutive year that gas prices have fallen in September. Gas prices have dropped 35 cents per gallon since June 28 despite a busy travel season and conflict in the Middle East.
  • Gas prices generally have been less expensive than in recent years due to the dramatic boom in North American petroleum production. U.S. refineries have taken advantage of increased crude oil supplies to make more gasoline. In addition, increased domestic production has helped insulate U.S. consumers from conflicts and instability overseas.
  • Gas prices typically decline in September as the busy driving season ends and because many stations begin selling less costly winter-blend gasoline on September 16. As the weather grows cooler, summer-blend gasoline is no longer required in most areas to prevent gasoline evaporation and air-quality issues.
  • For the second year in a row, consumers caught a break in September with no Atlantic hurricanes striking the U.S. coastline. September is the peak period for the Atlantic hurricane season, and hurricanes can cause gas prices to rise significantly by disrupting refineries, pipelines and oil production.

 

U.S. Gas Stations Increasingly Selling Gas for Less than $3.00 Per Gallon

  • Gas stations selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon are growing increasingly common in some parts of the country. Already, consumers can find at least one station selling gas for $3.00 or less in 26 states. Nearly four percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for $3.00 or less today, and this number should increase significantly over the next couple of months.
  • “Gas prices could fall another 20 cents per gallon by the time families load up the car for Thanksgiving,” continued Ash.  “If everything goes smoothly, buying gas for less than $3.00 per gallon should be refreshingly common in many parts of the country this winter.”
  • AAA expects the national average price of gas could drop to $3.10 – $3.20 per gallon before the year ends, which could be the closest that the national average has come to $3.00 since 2010. Last year, the national average reached a low of $3.18 per gallon on Nov. 12.
  • Fifteen states have average gas prices below $3.25 per gallon today, and many of these states could see average gas prices drop below $3.00 per gallon before the year ends. The lowest gas prices today are primarily in the Southeast and Central United States, which are regions that typically have lower gas taxes, access to domestic crude oil and abundant refinery capacity.
  • Oklahoma has the most stations with gas prices under $3.00 today with nearly 3 in 10 stations statewide selling gas for under that price. In fact, the most common price in Oklahoma today is $2.989 per gallon. The next two states with the most stations below $3.00 per gallon are South Carolina and Missouri where nearly 1 in 5 stations are below that price.
  • Gas prices typically decline from September through early winter due to declining demand as people drive less during colder months. While gas prices will not fall every day over that period, drivers should pay significantly lower prices in December than they are paying today.
  • It is possible that gas prices may remain relatively flat over the next week or two due to relatively heavy refinery maintenance. Seasonal maintenance can reduce refinery production and lead to tighter gasoline supplies. Refineries should complete most of this seasonal maintenance by the middle of October.
  • The average price of gas in October has declined three consecutive years by an average of 13 cents per gallon. Gas prices averaged $3.49 per gallon in October during the previous three years.
  • The peak period for Atlantic hurricanes has passed, but it is still possible for a late-season hurricane to disrupt production before the year is over. In late October 2012 for example, Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, which caused gas prices to rise significantly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In New York City and Long Island, average gas prices climbed above $4.15 per gallon.

 

Daily Average Price of Gas Drops to a Seven-Month Low

  • The national average price of gas has fallen to $3.33 per gallon, which is the least expensive daily average since February 13, 2014.
  • Today’s average is the lowest for the final day of September in four years and about seven cents per gallon less expensive than a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.20), Alaska ($3.92), California ($3.70), Washington ($3.69) and Oregon ($3.69). The five states with the lowest gas prices today include: Missouri ($3.09), South Carolina ($3.09), Mississippi ($3.10), Tennessee ($3.12) and Virginia ($3.13).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com

Heather HunterLabor market improvements and positive consumer expectations drive 1.3 percent increase in holiday travelers

ORLANDO, Fla., (August 21, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013. Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1.

Highlights from 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.
  • Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Additional Resources

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” continued Doney.  “Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Most U.S. consumers are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. The current price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219, up from $214 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including cities, like the award-winning Las Vegas title, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android offers GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014) The national average price of gas has fallen for ten straight days, but remains the highest price for this calendar date since 2008.  Yesterday, for the first time since June 11, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reflected a month-over-month discount.  Today’s average is $3.65 per gallon. This price is two cents less than one week ago and fractions of a penny less than one month ago, but it remains 18 cents more than this date in 2013.

National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011-2014 July 7 2014

With Independence Day in the books, this year’s holiday registered the highest price since 2008 at $3.66.  This surpassed the price per gallon for the holiday from each of the previous five years: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62), but was still well below the all-time-high for the date of $4.10 in 2008.

The pump price in four states continues register above $4.00 per gallon: Hawaii ($4.33), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.14) and Washington State ($4.01). While prices in all but three states (Idaho, Wyoming and Utah) are higher than the same date last year, prices in 38 states have dropped over the past week, led by a handful of Midwestern states: Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-7 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Illinois   (-5 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents).  Prices over the past two weeks have been more evenly split.  Prices in 23 states and Washington, DC have increased – led by Alaska (+7 cents), Utah (+6 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents) – while prices in 27 states have fallen – led by Ohio (-17 cents), Indiana (-12 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents). With high wholesale gasoline prices beginning to subside in many parts of the country, AAA expects pump prices for many US motorists to continue to tick lower over the coming week.

10 Most Expensive Avg Gas Prices-6-30

Violence in Iraq continues to impact global oil prices, but as production in the south of the country remains unaffected, the fear of a disruption to supply has abated. Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation, but the risk premium that had pushed oil prices to 2014 highs has subsided in recent trading sessions. These elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, but as oil prices have eased retail gas prices have finally started to follow suit.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 53 cents lower at $103.53.

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

AAA Monthly Gas Price Report
(WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014)

Drivers Stuck Paying Highest Gas Prices in Six Years for Independence Day

  • U.S. drivers will pay the most expensive Independence Day gas prices since 2008, primarily because Iraqi violence has increased global petroleum costs. AAA predicts that 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more by car during the holiday weekend despite high gas prices.
  • “Most drivers are paying about 15-20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home.”
  • With Independence Day only a few days away, today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon. This average is considerably more expensive than recent years for the holiday. The national average on July 4 in previous years was: $3.48 (2013); $3.34 (2012); $3.57 (2011); $2.74 (2010); $2.62 (2009); and $4.10 (2008).
  • AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA’s full Independence Day forecast can be found here.
  • The monthly average price of gas in June was $3.67 per gallon, which was the most expensive for June since 2011, and it was the highest average for any month since March 2013. Last year gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in June.
  • Gas prices often decline in June as refineries complete maintenance and increase gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season. During the previous three years, the national average price of gas declined in June by an average of 21 cents per gallon. A month ago, AAA predicted the national average could decline 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but this did not happen due to the unexpected events in Iraq.
  • On June 10, insurgents known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city. Following this attack, there were concerns in the market that the rebels would take Baghdad or disrupt the southern oil producing regions of the country. These concerns helped drive up global oil prices, which made it more expensive to produce gasoline. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, and any decline in exports could impact global oil supplies.

Gas Prices to Remain Expensive During Summer Driving Season

  • Gas prices this July likely will remain expensive due to high crude oil costs and rising summertime demand. AAA expects the national average price of gas in July will range from $3.60-$3.70 per gallon, though prices could climb higher if there are new developments in Iraq or a major hurricane. Last year gas prices averaged $3.58 per gallon nationally in July.
  • “It is shaping up to be a hot and expensive summer for gas prices, and we have not even hit the busiest time of the year yet,” continued Ash. “It is clear that most drivers will pay high prices as they fill up for their summer road trips.”
  • AAA expects the national average price of gas likely will remain relatively flat in the near future and could even decline a few cents as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. Price increases from recent ISIL attacks in Iraq already are reflected in current prices, and it would take major new developments, such as ISIL moving into southern oil producing regions, for prices to rise significantly higher in the days ahead.
  • Gas prices have increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July during the previous three years as strong summer demand pushed up prices. July is typically the second busiest month of the year on the roads behind August. Last year Americans drove a total of 263.2 billion miles in July.
  • From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013, gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon. Gas prices have averaged $3.67 per gallon so far this summer.

National Average Price of Gas Has Remained Flat This Week

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago. Gas prices nationally have stopped increasing and have remained relatively flat in recent days as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is unlikely to send gas prices significantly higher unless there are major developments in Baghdad or in the southern oil producing regions.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.13), Washington ($4.00) and Oregon ($3.98). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.39), Alabama ($3.42), Mississippi ($3.45), Tennessee ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.48).
  • Despite high gas prices in most parts of the country, drivers in four states are paying less than a year ago. These four states include Utah (-8 cents), Idaho (-6 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Colorado (-0.1 cents). The states with the largest price increases compared to a year ago include Michigan (42 cents), Kentucky (37 cents) and Ohio (32 cents).
  • The most expensive metro area in the continental United States is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.24 per gallon. The least expensive metro area in the United States is Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C. at $3.33 per gallon.

Michael Green( WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014) The national average price of gas has stopped increasing as we approach the Independence Day holiday, though prices remains at a six-year high for this time of year. Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon. The price has remained relatively stable over the past seven days, and the current price is just a penny more than one month ago.

Consumers have seen little fluctuation in the national average for the month of June; however the current price at the pump is 19 cents more than at this time last year ($3.49). In comparison to previous Independence Day holidays, motorists will face prices that are the highest since 2008, with today’s average ($3.68) surpassing the holiday’s price per gallon from: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62).

The situation in Iraq continues to put pressure on global oil prices, as markets weigh the potential for supply disruptions from OPEC’s second largest producer. These elevated oil prices have ultimately meant stubbornly high retail gasoline prices for motorists.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

This past Friday (June 27), the price at the pump reached the $4.00 mark in the state of Washington ($4.00 today) for the first time since 2013 (May 24). The Evergreen State joins Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.21) and California ($4.13) with prices at or above $4.00 per gallon. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the last week in 43 states and Washington, D.C.,  and consumers in just four states have seen prices either rise or fall more than a nickel over this same period: Alaska (+7 cents), Illinois (- 6 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents). Prices over the last 30 days have been more universally volatile with consumers in 31 states and Washington, D.C. posting averages that have moved either up or down over a nickel, led by Alaska (+21 cents), Ohio (-23 cents) and Indiana (-25 cents).

10 Most Expensive Avg Gas Prices-6-30

Regardless of geographic location, motorists in nearly every state are paying more at the pump than one year ago. Motorists in 40 states and Washington, D.C., are experiencing a bit of sticker shock, with prices up a dime or more compared to this time last year. This largest increases are in Michigan (+42 cents), Kentucky (+37 cents) and Ohio (+30 cents). However, four states are outside of this trend and have posted year-over-year declines: Colorado (-0.1 cent), Montana (-1 cent), Idaho (-6 cents) and Utah (-8 cents).

Top10 Monthly Increases-6-30

Energy market analysts continue to monitor the situation in Iraq and the movements of the group ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).  After capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, it was rumored that ISIL would enter Baghdad or the country’s southern oil producing. These concerns caused global prices to rise, but, many analysts now see this action as unlikely in the near term barring a major offensive move by ISIL.

The conversation regarding domestic production was revived this week when two Texas energy companies received permission to export ultra-light oil to foreign buyers. The decision relates to a decades long ban on crude exports, enacted in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the historic gasoline shortages of the 1970s.  The move falls short of relaxing the ban on oil exports, which oil producers have called for, and will remain a topic of discussion in the coming months.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 37 cents lower at $105.37.

Heather HunterOptimistic Americans dusting off credit cards for a Fourth of July vacation.

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 26, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 41 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 1.9 percent increase from the 40.3 million people who traveled last year and a nearly 14 percent increase compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The majority of travelers will be celebrating their freedom with a road trip, with more than eight in 10 (34.8 million) choosing to travel by automobile, the highest level since 2007.  The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.
Highlights from 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Willingness to take on credit card debt, not an increase in income, is responsible for the increase in consumer spending.
  • Nearly five million more Americans are expected to travel for Independence Day than for Memorial Day.
  • Travel volume for Independence Day has grown four out of the past five years and is expected to be more than six percent higher than the average of the past 10 years.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to increase one percent to 3.1 million travelers from 3.07 million last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares five percent lower than last year and car rental costs that remain consistent with last year at $58.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are 15 percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are nine percent more.

Additional Resources

“With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “In line with tradition, most travelers are celebrating their newfound summer freedom with an all-American road trip.”

An increase in consumer spending is primarily due to increasing credit, rather than rising incomes.  Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but continued improvements in the employment picture and rising home values means they are starting to feel more comfortable taking on debt. In addition to consumer spending, a boost in consumer confidence and the employment outlook are driving more Americans to take a road trip.

“Steady improvement in the economy has spurred increased consumer confidence and spending,” continued Doney.  “Optimistic Americans are more willing to take on debt this year, dusting off their credit cards to pay for a much-needed Independence Day getaway.”

Travelers likely to pay most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years

AAA expects the majority of U.S. drivers likely will pay the highest gas prices for Independence Day since 2008. Today’s national average price of gas is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than the average on July 4, 2013, which was $3.48 per gallon. In recent years gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, but this has not occurred this summer due to higher crude oil costs as fighting intensifies in Iraq. AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Travel expenses mixed

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase nine percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $178 per night compared to $164 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen 15 percent with an average cost of $137 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $58, the same as last year. Airfares have declined five percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $215, down from $228 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Average Gas Prices Approach 2014 High

June 23rd, 2014 by admin

Michael Green( June 23, 2014) As we approach the end of the first full month of the 2014 summer driving season, the national price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon, which is the highest price for early summer in six years. The average price at the pump has increased for 12 consecutive days for a total of four cents per gallon, narrowing the gap between the current retail price and the 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon reached on April 28. Today’s average is two cents more than one week ago, three cents more than one month ago, and motorists are paying 11 cents more per gallon than a year ago.

Violence keyed by the militant group known as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has continued to expand toward southern Iraq, where the majority of the country’s oil production is located. These concerns have helped to increase global oil prices, which makes it more expensive to produce gasoline. AAA had previously predicted that the national average price of gas would fall 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but that now appears unlikely due to higher oil costs. This means that even though the national average has only increased a few cents per gallon since the Iraq violence intensified, drivers are likely to pay substantially higher gas prices than they would have otherwise.

National Averages

For more than a month, drivers in three states have paid more than $4.00 dollars per gallon at the pump: Hawaii (currently $4.34), California (currently $4.15) and Alaska (currently $4.10).  Prices in 43 states and the District of Columbia have increased during the previous week and prices in 18 states are up by a nickel or more. Motorists in only five states have seen pump prices fall by a penny or more: Indiana (-14 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Illinois (-4 cents) and Kentucky (-3 cents).

Top ten expensive

In 41 states and Washington, D.C., drivers are paying more at the pump in comparison to this date last year, and 33 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a dime or more per gallon. Of the eight states with lower prices at the pump, only the drivers in North Dakota (-13 cents) and Utah (-12 cents) are experiencing savings in the double-digits.

top ten yearly increases

After a run-up to a new nine-month high to end last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices moved slightly lower today. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 66 cents lower at $106.17.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.66 per gallon.  Today’s average is fractions of a penny more than a week ago, a little over a cent more than a month ago, and a nickel per gallon more than the same date last year.  After falling for nine straight days, the national average has increased for five consecutive days for a total of about two cents per gallon as violence in Iraq has intensified.

AAA has predicted that drivers will pay relatively high prices this summer, ranging from $3.55 – $3.70 cent per gallon, however this range may be higher if unrest in Iraq escalates or disrupts oil production in the region. Given the increase in crude oil prices to nearly a nine-month high, retail gas prices are likely to rise to or near the current 2014 high ($3.70 on April 28) in the coming days.

Gas prices often decline in June with the national average falling the previous three years at an average of about 20 cents per gallon. The recent turmoil in Iraq is likely to prevent that trend from repeating this year. A year ago the national average was turning lower as domestic production and distribution issues eased, although market watchers were keeping a close eye on geopolitical tensions in Syria. While Syria is not a major oil producing nation, there was concern that fighting might spread to other countries in the region, which kept some upward pressure on crude oil prices.

Avg-Gas-Prices-2011-20142

Drivers in Hawaii ($4.35), California ($4.09) and Alaska ($4.06) continue to pay more than $4 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, a trend that has lasted for 23 days. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) in 34 states and the District of Columbia over the past week, however consumers in five states have seen prices climb a nickel or more: Montana and Ohio (+6 cents) and Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri (+5 cents).

10-Most-Expensive-Avg-Gas-Prices-6-16

The overall picture for the states is reflecting a bit of regional variation, especially when looking at the month-over-month and year-over-year averages. The biggest fluctuations in price are evident when comparing year-over-year averages, where prices in 29 states and the District of Columbia have swung by 10 cents or more. The biggest price drops have been in the Midcontinent and Mountain States: North Dakota (-26 cents), Colorado (-22 cents) South Dakota (-19 cents) and Utah (-18 cents).  The biggest price increase is Pennsylvania (+23 cents).

The month-over-month picture reflects a similar picture of price volatility. Consumers in Michigan (+20 cents), Illinois (+16 cents), Montana (+14 cents) and Wisconsin (+14 cents) are paying the largest premiums per gallon.  Meanwhile, drivers in parts of the South have watched pump prices fall: Alabama (-11 cents), Georgia (-8 cents), South Carolina (-7 cents) and Florida (-7 cents).

Largest-Yearly-Fluctations-6-16

Much of the attention of global market watchers has shifted from Ukraine and Russia, to widespread violence in Iraq.  According to the EIA, Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserve in the world and is the second largest producer of crude oil in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Markets will continue to monitor the conflict closely due to the potential for violence to spread to neighboring oil producing nations, and the overarching regional foreign policy implications associated with an Iraqi civil war.

After a run-up late last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices were relatively steady today. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $106.90, just a penny shy of Friday’s settlement, which was the highest since September 18.

Heather Hunter65th annual auto technology showdown matched top high school student teams from all 50 states;  over $10 million in scholarships awarded to help refuel auto industry’s next generation of talent

DEARBORN, Mich. (June 10, 2014) – Students from across the country gathered in Dearborn today, to match wits and workmanship in a race against the clock – and one another – for the right to claim a National Championship and be named the top young automotive minds in America at the 65th annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals at Ford World Headquarters.

When the dust settled, the duo of Justin Bublitz and Colt Morris from Grafton High School in Grafton, Wis. claimed the crown of America’s top auto technicians, registering the day’s top score under the tutelage of instructor Carl Hader.

With over $10 million dollars in scholarship prizes in the balance, state winners gathered today in Dearborn to solve “real world” automotive challenges – both digital and mechanical – in a timed competition. A quick mind and steady hands were required as top auto students worked with wrenches and computers alike.   With automotive sales up across the board, and new and innovative technologies becoming a bigger part of the manufacturing process, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition is shaping the next generation of auto technicians who will work on these vehicles.

Beginning with a shotgun start, the student competitors (all paired in two-person teams) raced to their vehicles to review a work order that challenged them to diagnose and repair a number of purposefully placed “bugs” ranging from digital to mechanical and electrical. Once the repairs were completed, it was a race to shut the hood, fire up the engine and steer the vehicle across the finish line – where a scrutinizing judging team awaited.

To earn the National Title, Bublitz and Morris earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Students are graded on quality repair workmanship and safety. Combined with the results of a written examination taken on June 9, their score allowed them to hoist the trophy as national champions.

The top-10 teams in the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals were:

State High School City Student Student Instructor
1. Wisconsin Grafton High School Grafton Justin Bublitz Colt Morris Carl Hader
2. Oklahoma Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center Choctaw Andrew Chapman William Eubanks Jim LaFevers
3. Maine Portland Arts and Technology High School Portland David Dutton Kolbe Clifford John Carmichael
4. Oregon Vale High School Vale Kade Phillips Tyrel Raven Drew Barnes
5. Hawaii Maui High School Kahului Chayce Mimura Devin Vea Neill Nakamura
6. Massachusetts Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School Bourne Adam Bancroft Kyle Saintonge Dennis Theohasidis
7. Rhode Island Burrillville High School Harrisville Harry Moran Nick Pennine Tim Durigan
8. Iowa West Delaware High School Manchester Glenn Comley Nathan Gudenkauf Jason Guyer
9. Kansas Newton High School Newton Derek Voth Carson Roach Bob Ziegler
10. Nevada Arbor View High School Las Vegas Zach Taylor Mason Hoopes Tom Garrett Jr.

In addition to scholarships, the National Champion Wisconsin team will enjoy an immersive, weeklong job shadow experience with 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and his Wood Brothers Racing team, as they prepare the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion car for the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. – the famous site of Bayne’s spectacular win at age 20.

“For today’s automotive technicians, being able to diagnose and repair a computer-related malfunction is just as critical as fixing mechanical failures,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Chief Operating Officer. “As a generation that has grown up with digital technology, this year’s students are uniquely qualified to lead the auto industry forward and you saw their brilliance on display today in a high-octane atmosphere matching the nation’s best talent from coast-to-coast.”

“The automotive technicians of tomorrow must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet the current and future technological advances in automotive technology,” said Steve DeAngelis, Ford’s Manager of Technical Support Operations. “The people at Ford are committed to training and retaining the best technicians in the industry, which is why we are so proud of our continued involvement in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, which invests in our highly-skilled technicians of tomorrow.”

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers over $10 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  Approximately, 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit autoskills.aaa.com.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, June 9, 2014) A day before the 50th anniversary of the modern self-serve fueling station, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65 per gallon.  Today’s average is two cents less than a week ago and fractions of a penny less than a month ago. This time last year consumers were paying two cents less at the pump ($3.63), and the national average was beginning to trend downward toward the summer low of $3.47 (July 7, 2013).

For the past three years, the national average has steadily declined to start the summer driving season. Although early data for summer 2014 is moving in this direction, it is too soon to say to what extent this pattern will persist for a fourth year.

Avg-Gas-Prices-2011-20141

For the past 16 days consumers in Hawaii, California and Alaska have all paid an average pump price of more than $4 per gallon – Hawaii is the only state within 25 cents of the state’s record price per gallon ($4.61 on April 11, 2012). The price at the pump in 35 states has remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the past seven days, and only two states are posting fluctuations of more than a nickel, both to the downside: Kentucky (-6 cents), and Ohio (-12 cents).

10-Most-Expensive-Avg-Gas-Prices-6-9

Consumers in 29 states and the District of Columbia are paying  a bit less at the pump  than a month ago, with the largest occurring savings in  Alabama (-11 cents), Florida (-10 cents) and Georgia (-10 cents). For this same period, three states – Michigan (+22 cents), Indiana (+15 cents) and Wisconsin (+11 cents) – are posting double-digit increases. Motorists in 31 states are paying a year-over-year premium, and of this total more than half are paying an additional 10 cents or more per gallon, led by Pennsylvania (+25 cents), Nevada (+22 cents), South Carolina (+20 cents).


On the other side of the year-over-year spectrum, the price per gallon has dropped by a dime or more in 17 states. This time last year, the Great Lake States (Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana) were experiencing near record high prices due to supply and transportation challenges caused by unscheduled maintenance at local refineries.  As a result, the largest year-over-year savings at the pump are posted by Midcontinent states, with drivers in North Dakota leading the way at 35 cents per gallon less than this date last year.

Market watchers continue to monitor the ongoing unrest in Libya and Ukraine, and its impact on global crude prices. Additionally, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has a meeting scheduled for this week and the proceedings will be closely monitored to see if there are any indications that production levels will be adjusted in the near future.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled $1.75 higher at $104.41 per barrel, which is the highest settlement since March 3.

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