Posts Tagged ‘AAA News’

Streak of Gas Price Declines Reaches 60 Days

November 24th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 24, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 60 consecutive days, reaching today’s price of $2.81 per gallon. This is seven cents less than one week ago, one quarter less than one month ago and 46 cents less than one year ago. Today’s price is the least expensive since November 4, 2010 and motorists are on target to pay the lowest averages at the Thanksgiving holiday since 2009, when the national average price was $2.63 per gallon.

 Avg-Gas-Prices-2011-2014

Across the country motorists are enjoying low prices due to production exceeding demand and relatively few issues at local refineries. Consumers in South Carolina and Missouri are paying the nation’s lowest average price at the pump, $2.57 per gallon, and 38 states are posting averages below the $3.00 per gallon threshold. On the other end of the spectrum, states located on the West Coast and northeast continue to lead the nation registering the nation’s highest averages, led by Hawaii ($3.91), Alaska ($3.54), New York ($3.20) and Connecticut ($3.14).  For the third week in a row, the average price for retail gasoline is below $4.00 per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C.

The price at the pump is down in every state and Washington, D.C. in comparison to one week ago. Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C. are posting week-over-week savings of a nickel or more and drivers in seven of these states have seen prices fall by a dime or more over this same period. Production continues to outpace demand in the Midcontinent, contributing to additional savings at the pump for states in that region. The largest discounts are seen in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, where the average price is down by 13 cents per gallon.

 10 Least Expensive Avg Gas Prices-11-24

Consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are also paying less to refuel their vehicles both month-over-month and year-over-year.  Monthly averages are discounted in 49 states and Washington, D.C. by at least 15 cents and 19 states are posting savings of one quarter or more per gallon. Motorists in Minnesota (-39 cents), Oklahoma (-35 cents), California (-32 cents) and Indiana (-32 cents) are experiencing the biggest savings over this period.

The most dramatic savings are seen on a year-over-year basis. Retail prices are lower by at least a quarter per gallon in the majority of states (41). The largest drops in the price at the pump versus last year are seen in the Atlantic Coast States of Florida (-59 cents), South Carolina (-57 cents), Virginia (-57 cents) and North Carolina (-56 cents), however 12 additional states are just behind with their average prices discounted by fifty cents or more per gallon.

 Top10 Yearly Savings-11-24

The abundance in global supply has contributed to a number of global benchmarks trading at multi-year lows, and market watchers are anxiously awaiting the outcomes of two major events scheduled for later this week to see how they will impact prices. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is scheduled to meet this Thursday, and will respond to the growth in world oil supply by either cutting or sustaining its current production levels.  Additionally, Iran is scheduled to meet with world leaders to discuss the possible relaxation of sanctions that have been in place since late-2011. Prior to the sanctions, Iran was one of OPEC’s leading producers and the lifting of these restrictions could inject additional supply into the global oil market.  At the close of formal trading on Friday West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed 60 cents higher at $76.43 per barrel. While oil prices did increase slightly to close out last week, WTI has now settled below $80 for three straight weeks – the longest streak since September 2010.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 17, 2014) The national average price of gasoline has remained below $3.00 per gallon for 17 days, with more than three-quarters of U.S. gas stations now reporting prices below this benchmark. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.89 per gallon, which is the lowest mark since December 2, 2010. Today’s price represents a savings of four cents per gallon compared to one week ago, a savings of 24 cents compared to a month ago and 32 cents compared to one year ago.

 National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011 to 2014 November 17 2014

The price at the pump is closely tied to the wholesale price of crude oil, and falling global oil prices have been the primary contributing factor to the price at the pump declining for 53 consecutive days. This is the longest streak of declines since 2008. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, dropped to its lowest level in more than three years this past Thursday ($74.21 per barrel). Lower crude oil costs are the main reason why drivers are paying  an average of 81 cents per gallon less than the 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon (April 28). The downward pressure on prices is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, meaning drivers are likely to be giving thanks for the cheapest seasonal prices since 2009 when the national average registered $2.63 on the holiday.

 AAA Top Ten Most Expensive Average Gas Prices November 17 2014

Across the country, state averages continue to tick downward with consumers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump. Thirty-five states are reporting an average less than $3.00 per gallon and three states, including Montana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, are just fractions of a cent from also falling below this benchmark. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.63), Mississippi ($2.66) and Tennessee ($2.66) are paying the nation’s lowest averages for retail gasoline. The nation’s three most expensive markets – Hawaii ($3.96), Alaska ($3.59) and New York ($3.24) – are among those reporting savings over this same period, and for the second consecutive week no state has an average that is above the $4.00 per gallon mark.

Month-over-month comparisons show that drivers in every state and Washington, D.C are paying less to refuel their vehicles. West Coast and Rocky Mountain states are registering the largest drops in prices at the pump, led by California (-37 cents), Oregon (-34 cents), Montana (-31 cents) and Arizona (-30 cents). Consumers in 20 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a quarter or more per gallon versus one month ago, and those in every state but Iowa are enjoying double-digit discounts at the pump. The monthly discount in Iowa falls just short of this threshold at 9.97 cents.

 AAA Top Ten Largest Yearly Savings in Gas Prices November 17 2014

The most dramatic discounts are evident when comparing year-over-year averages. Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying less, and those in 47 states and D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon when they refuel their vehicles. Averages are down by a quarter or more in 33 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in Delaware (-42 cents), South Carolina (-42 cents) and California (-42 cents) are saving the most per gallon over this period.

Global prices for crude oil continue to fall, touching lows not seen since 2010. Market analysts continue to speculate on what action the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will take during the upcoming meeting, scheduled for Nov 27. Should the cartel opt to cut production, the price at the pump for motorists could return higher. If OPEC instead chooses to maintain market share by leaving production unchanged, global oil prices could slide even further.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled $1.61 higher at $75.82 per barrel.

 

 

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, November 10, 2014) The national average price of gas has dropped for 46 days in a row (a cumulative decline of 42 cents), which is the longest consecutive decline since 2008. Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.93 per gallon, which is the lowest price since Dec. 4, 2010. Motorists are paying a nickel less than one week ago, 29 cents less than one month ago and 26 cents less than one year ago.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

The price at the pump has dropped 77 cents from the 2014 peak of $3.70 (April 28), which represents an estimated savings of more than $250 million each day for American motorists. A decrease in retail gasoline prices is often likened to a tax cut because it can inject billions of dollars in non-gasoline spending into the economy. Absent any unanticipated market-moving events this winter, the retail price for gasoline is expected to remain relatively low. As gasoline stations continue to adjust to falling oil prices in the global market, consumers are likely to experience the lowest Thanksgiving prices since 2009.

The average price at the pump is below the $3.00 per gallon threshold in more than half (27) of the states with consumers in South Carolina ($2.67), Tennessee ($2.70) and Mississippi ($2.71) paying the nation’s lowest prices. Although Hawaii ($3.99) continues post the highest average for retail gasoline, the state average fell below $4.00 per gallon for the first time since Jan. 9, 2014 on Saturday. Hawaii is followed by Alaska ($3.64), New York ($3.29) and Connecticut ($3.23) as the nation’s most expensive markets.

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Week-over-week the average price for gasoline is down in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in Oklahoma (-15 cents), Minnesota (-14 cents) and North Dakota (-12 cents) are experiencing the largest savings over this period with drivers in 29 states and Washington, D.C. saving a nickel or more per gallon. The only exceptions to this trend are in Michigan (+3 cents), Kentucky (+1 cent) and Indiana (fractions of a penny) where prices have increased over this same seven day period.

The average price for gasoline across the country reflects savings in both month-over-month and year-over year comparisons. Discounts are in the double-digits in every state and Washington, D.C. over the past 30 days, including 34 states and Washington, D.C. where prices are down by a quarter or more per gallon. The largest monthly savings at the pump are seen on the West Coast: Oregon (-47 cents), Washington (-44 cents) and California (-40 cents).

Top10 Monthly Savings-11-10

The year-over-year declines have been led by California (-40 cents), Maine (-39 cents), Delaware (-38 cents) and Alabama (-37 cents). The price at the pump is down by a dime or more in 43 states and D.C., and consumers in every state but Nebraska (-3 cents) are saving at least a nickel over this same period.

Fueling the welcome decline in gas prices has been the multi-month drop in crude oil costs with prices for West Texas Intermediate down to a multi-year low of $77.19 per barrel last Tuesday, which compares to a 2014-high of more than $107 per barrel on June 20. Adding momentum to falling prices last week was an unexpected move by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, to lower the price per barrel for crude sold to the United States. Market watchers are now focused on the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with analysts paying close attention to how the cartel will respond to falling global prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI had recovered slightly to settle at $78.65 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 3, 2014) After a streak of 1,409 consecutive days of a national average above $3 per gallon, the price for regular unleaded gasoline fell to $2.99 per gallon on Saturday, which marked the first time the AAA indicator had fallen below that mark since December 22, 2010. Today’s price is six cents less than one week ago,  33 cents less than one month ago, and 28 cents less than the price consumers paid one year ago. Today’s national average, $2.98, is the lowest price paid since December 14, 2010 ($2.979).

National pump prices usually drop during the autumn season due to decreasing demand and the cost savings associated with producing winter-blend gasoline. However global oil prices have declined more than anticipated, as supply has outpaced demand, contributing to even greater savings at the pump for drivers. Barring an unexpected market-moving development this winter, motorists can expect to pay retail prices that are relatively low, and could see the price continue to tick downward even a little further as gasoline stations adjust to falling oil prices in the global market. AAA predicts the national average could fall another 5-15 cents in the coming weeks, which could make for the cheapest Thanksgiving gas in half a decade.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

Averages in nearly half (23 states) of the country are currently below the $3 per gallon threshold. The nation’s least expensive market for retail gasoline, South Carolina ($2.72), is registering an average unseen by motorists in the state since May 2010. Hawaii ($4.04) continues to lead the market registering the nation’s most expensive average, and remains the only state with an average price above $4 per gallon. Drivers in New York ($3.35), Connecticut ($3.30) and California ($3.30) have seen averages in their states fall by a nickel or more over the last seven days, but continue to pay the highest prices at the pump in the continental United States.

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Over the last seven days, the price has ticked downward in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in Indiana (-15 cents), Michigan (-13 cents), Oregon (-10 cents) and Montana (-10 cents) are saving the most in the nation; and the price at the pump is discounted by at least a nickel in a total of 33 states and Washington, D.C., during this period. Contrary to this trend, consumers are paying fractions of a penny more at the pump in North Dakota, South Dakota and Ohio.

Month-over-month the average price for retail gasoline reflects double-digit savings in every state and the District of Columbia. Over this same period, consumers in 39 states and Washington, D.C. are experiencing some substantial “sticker delight” with savings of a quarter or more per gallon led by: Oregon (-53 cents), Washington (-50 cents), Georgia (-45 cents) and Kentucky (-41 cents). Year-over-year comparisons reflect a similar picture with drivers in every state experiencing savings at the pump. The average price to refuel is discounted by a dime or more in 41 states and Washington, D.C., with consumers in Tennessee (-39 cents), Alabama   (-38 cents), California (-38 cents), South Carolina (-37 cents), and Georgia (-37 cents) saving the most per gallon over this same period.

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Abundant global oil production — particularly the substantial increases to U.S. production — continues to outweigh any concerns of possible supply disruptions due to geopolitical instability. This assessment has been validated by the price of crude dropping by approximately 25 percent since June at the same time as violence in Iraq and tensions in Eastern Europe have continued to grab headlines. Market participants continue to speculate about how the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will respond to falling prices, and whether the cartel will agree to cut or sustain production. Iran and Kuwait recently indicated that a reduction in production was unlikely. However the world’s largest exporter of petroleum, Saudi Arabia, has yet to publicly comment on the subject. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed out last week down 58 cents to settle $80.54 per barrel at the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX. At last look, with no market-moving news over the weekend, WTI was trading slightly higher this morning.

Michael Green

Longest Consecutive Streak to End with Drivers Saving at Least $250 Million per Day on Gasoline

WASHINGTON (Oct. 31, 2014) – The national average price of gas tomorrow will drop below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, ending its longest streak ever above that price, according to AAA. AAA estimates that lower gas prices are helping consumers save at least $250 million per day on gasoline compared to early summer when the national average reached $3.68 per gallon.

“Consumers are experiencing ‘sticker delight’ as gas prices unexpectedly drop below $3.00 in much of the country,” said Bob Darbelnet, CEO of AAA. “Lower gas prices are a boon to the economy just in time for holiday travel and shopping.”

The national average price of gas has remained more expensive than $3.00 per gallon for 1,409 consecutive days. During that 46-month period, gas prices averaged $3.52 per gallon and reached as high as $3.98 per gallon on May 5, 2011.

More than 60 percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon today. Consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon in nearly every state. The drop below $3.00 per gallon is significant because about 40 percent of American adults believe that gasoline is “too high” when the price reaches that level, according to a AAA survey conducted in March.

“The steep decline in gas prices has helped to make driving less expensive for the vast majority of Americans who use their car every day,” continued Darbelnet. “Many Americans are spending $10-$20 less to fill up the cars on every trip to the gas station compared to what they paid during the summer driving season.”

AAA anticipates gasoline prices may continue to drop in the near term, but it is possible that prices in many areas will begin to stabilize soon. Unless there are unexpected developments, gasoline should remain relatively inexpensive this winter due to lower demand and typical seasonal trends. By spring, higher gas prices may return due to refinery maintenance, increased demand and a return to summer-blend gasoline.

“Paying less than $3.00 for gas is a welcome holiday gift that may not last nearly as long as many would hope,” continued Darbelnet. “It is possible that lower gas prices will soon be a faded memory, so enjoy it while you can. The days of paying more than $3.00 per gallon for gas have regrettably not gone away.”

Gas prices typically decline in the autumn due to decreased driving and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline, but prices have fallen faster than many expected this year due to sharply lower crude oil prices. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has dropped more than $20 per barrel since late June due to strong production and concerns about the global economy, particularly in Europe and Asia. There also are reports that some OPEC nations, such as Saudi Arabia, would be willing to let prices fall to maintain a competitive market share.

Crude oil is the main cost associated with gasoline and represents about two-thirds of the price of a gallon of gas. It is estimated that every ten dollar per barrel change in the price of crude oil results in a 25-cent change in the price of a gallon of gasoline.

The least expensive prices primarily are in the Southeast and Central United States, which are regions that generally have lower gas taxes and have access to major refineries processing cheaper domestic crude oil. The most expensive prices are generally on the West Coast and in the Northeastern United States, yet even these regions are experiencing lower prices than recent years. Average state prices can be found on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

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.

Gasoline Closes in on $3 per Gallon

October 27th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 27, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.04 per gallon, the lowest mark since December 27, 2010. Today’s price is six cents less than one week ago and twenty-five cents less than one year ago. The national average has now dropped for 32 consecutive days for a total of 30 cents per gallon.

Gas prices typically decline this time of year, but have fallen more swiftly than typical due to the sharply declining price of crude oil. The cost of crude oil accounts for approximately two-thirds of the price consumers pay for gasoline, which means, barring any other factors, gas prices continue to fall as long as crude oil prices decline. Today’s national average price of gas represents an 18 percent savings compared to the 2014 high of $3.70 per gallon, which was reached on April 28.

National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011-2014

Seventeen states currently register an average gas price below $3.00 per gallon with drivers in South Carolina ($2.79), Tennessee ($2.79) and Mississippi ($2.80) paying the nation’s lowest average prices at the pump. Hawaii remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline with an average above $4.00 per gallon ($4.05) followed by Alaska ($3.77), New York ($3.41) and California ($3.39).

Week-over-week, average prices are down in 40 states and Washington, D.C. with the steepest drops in the Pacific Northwest: Oregon (-15 cents) and Washington (-13 cents). The average price for retail gasoline has ticked upward in 10 states with the price up a nickel or more compared to one week ago in six states. Drivers in Minnesota (+16 cents) and Oklahoma (+12 cents) in particular have seen prices jump over the past week due to tighter supplies even as the national average has ticked lower. While retail gasoline in these states is less expensive than both a month and year ago, pump prices could continue to buck the national trend until additional gasoline reaches those markets in early November.

Top Ten Most Expensive Average Gas Prices

Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. continue to enjoy month-over-month and year-over-year savings at the pump. Compared to this same date last month, state averages are down by a quarter or more in 35 states. Oregon (-48 cents), Washington  (-47 cents) and Delaware (-40 cents) are registering the largest discounts over this period, but drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving more than a dime per gallon. Year-over-year, the average price at the pump is down by a dime or more in 46 states and Washington, D.C., led by Delaware (-39 cents), Tennessee (-36 cents) and Alabama (-36 cents). Eighteen states are reflecting prices discounted by a quarter or more in comparison to this same date last year.

Top Ten Largest Monthly Savings in Gas Prices

Continuing unrest in Iraq and geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe have taken a backseat to an emerging belief by many market watchers that global supply – including significantly higher oil production in the United States – is outpacing global demand growth. This assessment has helped sink West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to near $80 per barrel for the first time since June 2012 and has fueled speculation of how the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will respond to the falling price of crude. OPEC is scheduled to convene on November 27 in Vienna to discuss global demand and the impact of increased production by non-OPEC countries. At the close of formal trading on Friday, WTI was down $1.08 at $81.01 per barrel on the NYMEX, and prices have fallen below $80 in morning trading today.

Price Of Gasoline Reaches New 44-Month Low

October 20th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 20, 2014) With oil prices sharply lower over the last several weeks, the national average pump price has followed suit and has now dropped on 25 consecutive days. This tumble has sent the national average to a low not seen since early 2011 and increased the likelihood that the national price at the pump could test the $3.00 per gallon mark for the first time since 2010.

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.10 per gallon, representing the lowest price since February 1, 2011. The national average has fallen by a dime since one week ago and is 25 cents less than both one month and one year ago. This year-over-year gap has reached its widest mark since March.

Drivers are savings an average of 60 cents per gallon compared to the 2014 high of $3.70 (April 28), and pump prices have tumbled 10 percent since Labor Day when the national average registered $3.44 per gallon. For every penny that the national average falls (were the lower price sustained over the course of a year) more than one billion dollars per year in additional consumer spending is estimated to be freed up.

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Motorists in 17 states now pay an average price below $3.00 per gallon. The nation’s 10 most expensive markets are composed primarily of states on the West Coast and in the Northeast led by: Hawaii ($4.08), Alaska ($3.80), California ($3.50) and New York ($3.45). On the other end of the spectrum, consumers in Missouri are paying $2.77 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, a low unseen in the state since 2010.

Compared to one week ago, the average price at the pump is down in 48 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in 23 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon week-over-week with the largest discounts in Kentucky (-17 cents), Indiana (-16 cents) and Georgia (-14 cents). There are two states where the price has ticked upward over this same period: Ohio (+3 cents) and Michigan (fractions of a penny).

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The average price paid by drivers to refuel their vehicles is down in every state and Washington, D.C. both month-over-month and year-over-year. In comparison to this same date last month, consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving 15 cents per gallon or more at the pump, and of this total there are 24 states where the price has fallen by a quarter or more per gallon. The Western states of Washington and Oregon (both down 40 cents) are registering the largest discounts over this period, followed by Kentucky and Colorado (down 39 cents). Year-over-year, 47 states and Washington D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump and 25 states are registering discounts of a quarter or more led by Kentucky (-42 cents), Indiana (-40 cents) and Delaware (-36 cents).

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Geopolitical tensions in Iraq continue to be viewed by market watchers as posing a minimal threat to the region’s oil production. Sentiment for crude oil prices has remained bearish and it is speculated that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will continue to protect its market share by sustaining current levels of production rather than cutting output to increase the global price of oil. OPEC member countries are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s oil production and are scheduled to convene on November 27 in Vienna to discuss whether to sustain or reduce production. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed out last week by settling up a nickel at $82.75 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. WTI was trading slightly lower to open the day today.

Michael Green Contact Tile

AAA Foundation Research Suggests States Could Reduce Crashes by Extending GDL Requirements

WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2014) – Experience behind the wheel may matter more than age when it comes to the safety of young-adult drivers, according to two new studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These results suggest that states could reduce road crashes, fatalities and injuries by extending graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws to novice drivers beyond age 17. AAA is promoting this research as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place from Oct. 19-25.

Additional Resources

Graduated driver licensing laws are designed to help new drivers gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by initially restricting their exposure to risky situations, such as driving at night or with young passengers. The law then gradually phases in more privileges as new drivers gain more experience.

“Turning 18 does not instantly make someone a safer driver,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This new research clearly demonstrates how important experience is to safe driving and suggests that graduated driver licensing laws may be beneficial for people that begin driving at an older age.”

The findings are based on two studies that examined crash rates of new drivers. The first study looked at crash rates in both California and North Carolina, which are two states that allow driving at age 16 and have no GDL requirements for new drivers ages 18 or older. While new drivers licensed at older ages tended to be less likely to crash during their first months and years of driving than younger beginners, the research revealed an important exception: new drivers licensed at age 18 were more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in injuries during their first year of solo driving than new drivers licensed at any other age.

The second study examined crash rates in New Jersey, which has a minimum age of 17 for unsupervised driving and is the only state in the country to have a comprehensive GDL program for all new drivers up to age 21. In New Jersey, while crash rates of new drivers licensed at different ages largely converged after six months of solo driving experience, older beginners had lower crash rates overall and lower rates of injury crashes than younger beginners.

Although the data did not allow researchers to directly investigate whether these differences were caused by GDL provisions, collectively, the results of the two studies suggest that applying GDL to all new drivers, or at least to some new drivers older than 17, might have a protective effect and improve safety.

“Graduated driver licensing can greatly reduce crashes, injuries and deaths for everyone on the road,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations. “These laws set the parameters to help ease the transition behind the wheel during the learning to drive process.”

Graduated driver licensing programs have reduced 16- and 17-year-old driver crashes, but generally do not apply to new drivers ages 18 and older. Prior AAA Foundation research found that an estimated 36 percent of new drivers miss out on the protections of GDL by delaying licensure until age 18 or older. AAA is not calling for states to extend GDL provisions just yet, but does believe the research results are very promising in terms of pinpointing a way to keep these drivers safe. The AAA Foundation is planning to dive deeper into this area of research in the coming year.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, and drivers ages 18-20 were involved in more than 800,000 crashes in the United States in 2012. Parents and teens can learn more about teen driver issues and GDL requirements in their state by visiting AAA’s Keys2Drive website.

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 200 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 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.

Gas Prices Fall Nine Cents in One Week

October 13th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 13, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 18 straight days, reaching today’s price of $3.20 per gallon. This price represents a new 2014 low and is the lowest average for the Columbus Day holiday since 2010 when gas averaged $2.81 per gallon. Today’s average price is nine cents less than one week ago, 20 cents less than one month ago and 15 cents less than one year ago.

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Drivers in six states are paying an average price below three dollars per gallon to refuel their vehicles with eight additional states posting prices within a nickel of this mark. Motorists in Missouri saw the average price fall below the $3.00 threshold this past Tuesday, and for the second week in a row are paying the nation’s lowest average price per gallon ($2.90).  Although the average price in Hawaii has fallen by four cents over the past seven days, it continues to lead the market with an average retail price above $4.00 per gallon ($4.13). Californians still pay the highest average ($3.60) in the continental U.S. followed by New Yorkers and Oregonians who are both paying $3.52 per gallon.

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The average price is down in every state and Washington, D.C. in both week-over-week and month-over-month comparisons. Week-over-week the retail price has dropped by a dime or more in 13 states with drivers in the Midwestern states of Minnesota (-16 cents), Michigan (-15 cents) and Kentucky (-14 cents) saving the most per gallon. Motorists in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a nickel or more over this same period.  Even larger drops in the price at the pump are reflected over the past month. Michigan (-40 cents), Delaware (-35 cents), Washington (-33 cents) and Oregon (-32 cents) are registering the largest discounts in price over this period, followed by 10 other states where the average price is down by a quarter or more. State averages have fallen by a dime or more in every state but Florida, where prices have fallen only nine cents.

Year-over-year the average price for retail gas is lower in every state but Alaska (where prices are up less than a penny), and consumers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a nickel or more per gallon. The price has dropped by a dime or more in 38 states with consumers in Michigan (-30 cents), Minnesota (-30), Ohio (-27 cents) and Delaware (-25) saving a quarter or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

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Low demand combined with abundant supply has kept downward pressure on global oil prices. The impact of falling prices is currently front of mind for many in the market, and attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will alter production in order to influence prices higher. OPEC members are scheduled to meet at the end of November and will reportedly not hold an emergency meeting before then based on current prices, which has supported the bearish sentiment for crude oil. Additionally, while violence continues in Iraq, market watchers still assess the threat to oil production to be relatively limited. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled eight cents lower at $85.74 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. This is fifth consecutive settlement below $90 per barrel and the lowest price since December 2012.

Nancy WhiteAAA Urges Manufacturers to Focus on Accuracy and Usability to Reduce Cognitive Distraction

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 7, 2014) – With three out of four drivers believing that hands-free technology is safe to use, Americans may be surprised to learn that these popular new vehicle features may actually increase mental distraction, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This research can serve as guidance to manufacturers who increasingly market hands-free systems as safety features. The good news for consumers is that it is possible to design hands-free technologies that are less cognitively distracting, according to the research.

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The results, which build on the first phase of the Foundation’s research conducted last year, suggest that developers can improve the safety of their products by making them less complicated, more accurate and generally easier to use – a point AAA hopes to use in working with manufacturers to make hands-free technologies as safe as possible for consumers. While manufacturers continue their efforts to develop and refine systems that reduce distractions, AAA encourages drivers to minimize cognitive distraction by limiting the use of most voice-based technologies.

“We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies because their minds are not fully focused on the road ahead,” said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive officer of AAA. “We now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.”

Using instrumented test vehicles, heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure reaction times, Dr. David Strayer and researchers from the University of Utah evaluated and ranked common voice-activated interactions based on the level of cognitive distraction generated. The team used a five-category rating system, which they created in 2013, similar to that used for hurricanes. The results show:

      • The accuracy of voice recognition software significantly influences the rate of distraction. Systems with low accuracy and reliability generated a high level (category 3) of distraction.
      • Composing text messages and emails using in-vehicle technologies (category 3) was more distracting than using these systems to listen to messages (category 2).
      • The quality of the systems’ voice had no impact on distraction levels – listening to a natural or synthetic voice both rated as a category 2 level of distraction.

The study also separately assessed Apple’s Siri (version iOS 7) using insight obtained from Apple about Siri’s functionality at the time the research was conducted.  Researchers used the same metrics to measure a broader range of tasks including using social media, sending texts and updating calendars. The research uncovered that hands- and eyes-free use of Apple’s Siri generated a relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction.  

To put all of this year’s findings in context, last year’s research revealed that listening to the radio rated as a category 1 distraction; talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone resulted in a category 2 distraction; and using an error-free speech-to-text system to listen to and compose emails or texts was a category 3 distraction.

“Technologies used in the car that rely on voice communications may have unintended consequences that adversely affect road safety,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The level of distraction and the impact on safety can vary tremendously based on the task or the system the driver is using.”

To assess “real-world” impact, Dr. Joel Cooper with Precision Driving Research evaluated the two most common voice-based interactions in which drivers engage – changing radio stations and voice dialing – with the actual voice-activated systems found in six different automakers’ vehicles. On the five point scale, Toyota’s Entune® system garnered the lowest cognitive distraction ranking (at 1.7), which is similar to listening to an audio book. In comparison, the Chevrolet MyLink® resulted in a high level of cognitive distraction (rating of 3.7). Other systems tested included the Hyundai Blue Link (rating 2.2), the Chrysler Uconnect™ (rating 2.7), Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch® (rating 3.0) and the Mercedes COMAND® (rating 3.1).

“It is clear that not all voice systems are created equal, and today’s imperfect systems can lead to driver distraction,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA is confident that it will be possible to make safer systems in the future.”

This phase of the research highlights the variability in demands across all the systems tested.

AAA is calling for developers to address key contributing factors to mental distraction including complexity, accuracy and time on task with the goal of making systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. AAA also plans to use the findings to continue a dialogue with policy makers, safety advocates and manufacturers.

To view the full report, “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Vehicle II: Assessing In-Vehicle Voice-based Interactive Technologies,” and other materials on distracted driving, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com. This study builds upon groundbreaking research conducted last year, which found that drivers can be dangerously distracted even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. AAA promoted the study in the release:  Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again, Says AAA.

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 200 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 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.

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