Posts Tagged ‘AAA NewsRoom’

Julie HallAAA survey reveals national parks can expect to welcome more travelers in the year ahead

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 28, 2016) – The most Americans in recent years are heading to national parks in recognition of the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary on Aug. 25. Visitation to the national parks reached an all-time high in 2015, with more than 307 million visitors, according to the National Park Service, and travelers can expect the parks to remain busy in the year ahead. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months, building on the momentum of this year’s centennial celebrations.

Additional Resources

“The demand for national parks is off the charts this year, and it’s exciting to see that Americans are poised to take even more national park vacations in the years to come,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “In times of global uncertainty, many people are turning to domestic vacations and the wide variety of national parks offer something for every traveler to discover.”

Eighty-five percent of Americans have visited at least one national park, and a majority say the national parks are a “must-see” vacation destination (73 percent). National parks are growing in popularity among younger generations, with nearly half of Millennials (46 percent) citing that they are more likely to visit a national park in the next year, outpacing both Generation X and Baby Boomers.

“It’s not surprising to see that younger generations are particularly interested in visiting national parks,” added Shilling. “Travel is part of Millennials’ DNA, and they consistently seek experiential travel opportunities, a major draw for national park visitors.”

According to the National Park Service, the most visited national parks in 2015 were Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain. AAA’s survey revealed the national parks that top most Americans’ bucket lists for future travels include Yellowstone (33 percent), Yosemite (17 percent) and Grand Canyon (12 percent).

Americans feel the best times to visit the national parks are during the spring (35 percent), fall (33 percent) and summer (27 percent). Travelers planning trips to national parks for the remainder of 2016 can enjoy a discount on select dates in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. All sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.

Results from the AAA survey reveal additional details about Americans’ national park vacation preferences:

  • The vast majority (91 percent) of visitors to national parks drive to their destination. The remainder choose to fly (18 percent), ride on trains or buses (10 percent each) or take a cruise or boat (7 percent).
  • The majority of Americans (66 percent) typically stay in a hotel, motel or lodge when visiting a national park. Camping (41 percent), vacation rentals or cabins (38 percent), staying with friends and family (33 percent) and bed and breakfasts (27 percent) are also popular accommodation options.
  • Visitors’ favorite national park activities include walking or hiking on park trails (53 percent) and sightseeing (35 percent).

AAA offers travelers a variety of tools and resources to plan a national park vacation. Featuring one-of-a-kind national park itineraries, AAA Vacations is a collection of specially designed cruises, guided tours and independent vacations offering unique, engaging travel experiences. TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com and the mapping section of the AAA Mobile app include nearly 200 Travel Guides and Drive Trips — many featuring national parks — to help travelers plan the perfect road trip either from their PC or on their phone. Both tools help travelers map complete travel routes, locate the lowest gas prices, identify exclusive member discounts, and find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and more. For more information, visit AAA.com/Travel.

To evaluate national park travel intentions, AAA contracted with a national research company to perform a telephone survey of 1,012 adults living in the continental United States. Survey results are an accurate representation of the total continental U.S. population with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey was conducted June 23-26, 2016.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Price Since April

July 25th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileNational pump prices have fallen for 43 of the past 44 days, dropping 22 cents during this span. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline sits at $2.16 per gallon, which is the lowest mark since April and the lowest price for this date since 2004. Today’s price is five cents less than one week ago, 15 cents less than one month ago, and 56 cents less than the same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_7-25-16-01

With abundant fuel supplies across the nation and declining crude oil costs, gas prices dropped in 47 states over the past week, led by double digit drops in several Midwestern states. Gas prices have dropped in 48 states during the previous month with prices down by at least 25 cents per gallon in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan. Prices are substantially lower than one year ago in every state, headlined by California, where prices are more than a dollar cheaper than this time last year.

Today’s most common price in the country is $1.999 per gallon, and more than one-third of gas stations nationwide are selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less. This is substantially higher than the seven percent of stations at or below this threshold a month ago and the fractions of percent that broke this mark a year ago.

Gas prices are likely to remain low for the remainder of the summer compared to recent years. U.S. crude oil supplies are at their highest level for this time of year in 86 years, although domestic oil production has ticked lower each of the past nine months. While oil production has slowed slightly, fuel production has continued to rise. This is supported by data from the American Petroleum Institute, which last week reported fuel deliveries for June were three percent higher than 2015 and the highest number in nine years. Overall, domestic deliveries are 1.7 percent higher during the first half of 2016 than the same period last year, which is in line with AAA reports of travelers taking advantage of lower gas prices and hitting the roads in record numbers this year.

Despite the lowest seasonal prices in 12 years, it’s important to note the possibility that unexpected events could trigger higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas. In addition, regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand, or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in four more states have dropped below $2.00 per gallon over the past week, bringing the total to eleven states: South Carolina ($1.85), Missouri ($1.92), Tennessee ($1.93), Alabama ($1.93), Oklahoma ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.94), Arkansas ($1.95), Virginia ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.97), Kentucky ($1.99), and Louisiana ($1.99).
  • While gas prices are dropping on the West Coast, it continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: Hawaii ($2.80), California ($2.80), Washington ($2.66), Alaska ($2.64), Oregon ($2.52), and Nevada ($2.51).
  • Less than one percent of U.S. stations is selling gas for more than $3.00 per gallon today compared to 14 percent on this date last year.

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_7-25-16-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country. Fortunately for drivers in this region, prices are much less than a year ago: California (-$1.03), Alaska (-83 cents), Nevada (-75 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Washington (-54 cents), and Hawaii (-51 cents). Last year, following a number of unexpected refinery issues in California, gas prices surged during the peak driving season across the region. This year there have been relatively few refinery issues, which has helped prices remain low versus a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region continue to be insulated from refinery issues and are among the most stable prices in the nation. Over the past week prices have moved by a penny or less in five states: Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Even over the past month, prices in these states have remained flat with prices dropping only a few cents per gallon over this span.

Great Lakes and Central States

As is often the case, gas prices in the Great Lakes region are the most volatile in the nation. At the moment drivers are enjoying this distinction, as prices are dropping on abundant supplies and limited disruption to production. This region includes the five states registering the largest declines in the nation over the past week: Indiana (-15 cents), Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-10 cents), and Missouri (-8 cents). Midwestern declines are also featured in the top month-over-month comparisons, with every U.S. state that is posting a decline of 20 cents or more in this region: Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri. On top of these weekly and monthly savings, drivers in the Central United States continues to pay some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with Oklahoma ($1.94), Tennessee ($1.93), and Missouri ($1.92) all featured in the top five cheapest state averages.

Top10 Largest Monthly Declines-7-25-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to drop, and average prices in both Virginia and New Jersey are now below $2 per gallon and could be joined by Delaware before the week is over. Washington, D.C. ($2.42), New York ($2.36), Connecticut ($2.33), and Pennsylvania ($2.29) have the most expensive averages in the region, though average prices in these states are also substantially cheaper than a year ago.

South and Southeast

Gas prices in much of the South and Southeast remain near or below $2 per gallon. Motorists in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana are already enjoying an average price below this threshold, and drivers in Georgia and Texas could join this list in the next several days. The bulk of America’s refining capacity is in the Southeastern United States, and abundant production should keep prices relatively low unless there is an unexpected disruption to supply, such as a major hurricane.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-7-25-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

With domestic supplies at their highest seasonal levels in decades, a stronger U.S. dollar, and an uptick in the number of U.S. oil rigs, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is trading at its lowest price since early May. Many analysts have predicted oil prices could drop even further later this year, which would likely lead to lower gas prices for consumers heading into the fall. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 56 cents to settle at $44.19 per barrel.

Drivers 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.

Despite Vehicle Advances, Break Downs at Record High

July 20th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Mariam Ali Contact TileAAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 20, 2016) – Despite advances in vehicle technology, including maintenance reminders and other dashboard alerts designed to mitigate roadside trouble, AAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015, with more battery, flat tire and key problems than ever before, a new study shows. Vehicles fewer than five years old in particular experienced a higher proportion of tire and key-related issues than older vehicles, suggesting that the trend toward eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have unintended consequences.

Additional Resources

  • Infographic 1 | 2

“Vehicles today are advanced more than ever, yet are still vulnerable to breakdowns,” said Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Solutions. “Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life and despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year.”

Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside. To reduce vehicle weight and boost fuel economy, spare tires are being eliminated from new vehicles at alarming rates, and are being replaced with tire inflator kits that can only remedy some flat tire situations. Additionally, new keyless ignition systems can drain the battery life when keys are stored too close to the vehicle and can lock a driver out of the vehicle while the engine is still running. Finally, despite nearly all new vehicles being equipped with low fuel warning alerts and range estimations, a higher proportion of drivers are using these systems to push the limits between fuel ups.

Other key findings from an analysis of AAA’s 2015 roadside assistance data include:

  • Battery failures, flat tires and keys locked inside the vehicle remain the top roadside assistance requests.
  • Vehicles fewer than five years old have a higher proportion of tire, key and fuel-related issues than older vehicles. Due in part to complex, electronic vehicle designs, one-in-five service calls for a newer vehicle required a tow to a repair facility.
  • Vehicles between 6 and 10 years old have the highest proportion of battery-related issues, as most batteries have a three- to five-year life.
  • Roadside assistance calls peak in the summer (8.3 million) followed by winter (8.1 million), fall (7.8 million) and spring (7.7 million).
  • Drivers are most likely to request roadside assistance on Mondays and least likely to request assistance on Sundays.
  • Drivers in the West experienced the most breakdowns, followed by the South, the Northeast and the Midwest.
  • Despite advances in key technology, AAA came to the rescue of more than four million drivers locked out of their vehicles.

“Drivers today have increasingly-connected lifestyles, and want reliable, flexible service options when trouble strikes,” continued Ruud. “AAA has responded with flexible roadside assistance offerings nationwide including app-based service requests and the ability to track assigned service vehicles in real time on a smartphone.”

To help prevent millions of roadside breakdowns from happening, AAA offers the following recommendations for common roadside problems:

  • Check for a spare tire: Before purchasing a car, check that the vehicle includes a spare tire. If it doesn’t, consider adding one as an option. Tire inflator kits — which have replaced spare tires on tens of millions of vehicles –cannot remedy all types of tire damage.
  • Check tires: At least once a month, check the tire pressure to ensure proper inflation. This affects tire wear and vehicle handling. Tires should be rotated based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for the vehicle.
  • Lockouts: AAA recommends motorists take special care of their “smart keys” and keyless entry fobs. Always take keys when exiting the car, avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Battery: AAA recommends that drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age and on an annual basis thereafter. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
  • Pack an emergency kit: A recent AAA survey shows that more than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle. AAA recommends that every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit, which includes a mobile phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Before hitting the road, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Travelers can use the app to request AAA roadside assistance, route a trip, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, book a hotel and more. In addition, AAA members can also track in real time the location of their assigned vehicle with Service Tracker. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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.

Gas Prices Drop to 12-Year Low for July

July 18th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileThe national average for regular, unleaded gasoline has fallen for 35 out of 36 days to $2.21 per gallon and sits at the lowest mark for this time of year since 2004. Gas prices continue to drop in most parts of the country due to abundant fuel supplies and declining crude oil costs. Average prices are about 55 cents less than a year ago, which is motivating millions of Americans to take advantage of cheap gas by taking long road trips this summer.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_7-18-16-01-01

The best news for consumers is that gas prices have once again dropped below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country, which is something that drivers have not seen during the summer in more than a decade. About 1 in 4 U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, and consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in 36 states.

Gas prices likely will remain relatively low compared to recent years for the remainder of the summer. U.S. crude oil supplies are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks have increased to 240 million barrels as refineries produce significant quantities of fuel. This is the highest ever mark for gasoline supplies during the month of July, according to Department of Energy records.

Despite paying the lowest seasonal prices in 12 years, there is always the possibility that unexpected events could lead to higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas. In addition, regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats

  • The national average price of gas is down a fraction of a cent for the day, three cents for the week, 13 cents for the month and 55 cents compared to a year ago.
  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in seven states today including: South Carolina ($1.88), Mississippi ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Tennessee ($1.97), Alabama ($1.97), Arkansas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.996).
  • The West Coast continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states in the nation where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65), Nevada ($2.55) and Oregon ($2.53).
  • Only 12 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-7-18-16-01-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country. Fortunately for consumers, West Coast prices are much less than a year ago, and drivers in California are saving more than $1 per gallon on average compared to that time: California (-$1.03), Alaska (-82 cents), Nevada (-71 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Hawaii (-53 cents) and Washington (-53 cents). Last year, California refineries were suffering from a number of unexpected problems, which led to higher gas prices during the peak driving season. Refineries are running more smoothly this summer, which has helped prices remain cheaper than a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies region have remained relatively stable over the past week with averages dropping by only two cents per gallon or less in states. Even over the past month, the region has experienced little change with prices generally moving only a few cents per gallon.

Great Lakes and Central States

This Great Lakes region has the only three states in the nation that have seen prices increase over the past week: Michigan (+$10 cents), Ohio (+9 cents) and Indiana (+2 cents). The Great Lakes is often the most volatile area in the country for gas prices, and it is not uncommon for prices to move significantly from day to day. At the moment, it looks like average prices are heading downwards yet again. Despite the recent increases, average prices in the region have posted among the largest drops in the country over the past month: Ohio (-36 cents), Illinois (-32 cents), Indiana (-31 cents), Michigan (-27 cents) and Wisconsin (-22 cents). The Central United States meanwhile continues to have some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with averages in both Oklahoma ($1.97) and Missouri ($1.996) below $2 per gallon.

Top10 Month-Over-Month Declines-7-18-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across much of the region continue to drop, and average prices in both Virginia and New Jersey likely will fall below $2 per gallon this week. Washington, D.C. ($2.47), New York ($2.38) and Connecticut ($2.36) have the most expensive averages in the region, though average prices generally are more than 50 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago.

Gulf Coast and Southeast

Gas prices in many parts of the Southeast have recently dropped near or below $2 per gallon. In South Carolina for example, nearly 90 percent of gas stations are selling fuel for under $2 per gallon today. The bulk of America’s refining capacity is in the Southeastern United States, and abundant production should keep prices relatively low unless there is an unexpected event, such as a major hurricane.

Oil Market Dynamics

WTI oil prices have dipped below $45 per barrel over the past couple of weeks to the lowest levels since late April. Oil continues to drop due to the potential for steady production and abundant supplies. Many analysts have predicted that oil prices could drop even further later this year, which would likely lead to lower gas prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 27 cents to settle at $45.95 per barrel. Prices this morning had headed lower and were briefly below $45 per barrel.

Drivers 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 TileAn Estimated Eight Million Drivers Admit to More Extreme Behavior Says New AAA Foundation Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2016)- Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, according to a new study released today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.

Additional Resources

“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year, according to the study’s estimates:

  • Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at another driver: 47 percent (95 million drivers)
  • Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45 percent (91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)
  • Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12 percent (24 million drivers)
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)

Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

  • Male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. For example, male drivers were more than three times as likely as female drivers to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.
  • Drivers living in the Northeast were significantly more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily than people living in other parts of the country. For example, drivers in the Northeast were nearly 30 percent more likely to have made an angry gesture than drivers in other parts of the country.
  • Drivers who reported other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and running red lights, also were more likely to show aggression. For example, drivers who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle on purpose.

“It’s completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Don’t risk escalating a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely.”

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

The research report is available on the AAA Foundation’s website and is part of the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to driver safety. The data was collected from a national survey of 2,705 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.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable research and educational 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.

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 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.

Game Over for Drivers Playing Pokemon Go

July 14th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileRecent Crashes Should Serve as Wake-Up Call to Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2016) – AAA is urging drivers not to use Pokemon Go behind the wheel because it could lead to potentially deadly consequences. This week’s crashes involving the game should serve as a wake-up call to focus on the task of driving and not to be distracted.

“Driving is among the most dangerous activities that people do on a daily basis, and the last thing we need is to increase the number of distractions in the vehicle,” said Jake Nelson, AAA Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research.

Distracted driving is very risky. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 3,000 deaths per year involve distracted driving, though the true number is likely far higher. The following statistics help put the dangers of distracted driving into context:

  • Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
  • When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds with eyes off the road is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  • Distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes.

Pokemon Go should not be played while driving and motorists need to be aware of others playing the game that might enter an intersection or cross a street at an inopportune time.   “Driving requires your full attention, and putting away your phone until you reach your destination could save your life,” continued Nelson. “Pedestrians playing the game also should be aware so that they do not cross a busy intersection while distracted.”

Crashes are not the only risks affecting drivers. Drivers playing Pokemon Go also could face jail time and fines. Most states have laws against distracted driving and every state has laws to prevent reckless driving. Motorists are likely to be pulled over by law enforcement if they are a threat on the road.

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 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 Extend Slide to 30 Days

July 11th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TilePump prices have now fallen for 30 straight days—the longest streak since August/September of last year—and are at their lowest mark for this date since 2004. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.23 per gallon, which is four cents per gallon less than a week ago, fifteen cents less than a month ago and 53 cents less than one year ago. Prices for some drivers are even lower with some 25,000 gas stations (approximately a quarter of stations) nationwide now selling gasoline for less than $2.00.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_7-11-16-01

Gasoline prices are poised to continue their slide this week as both crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices turned lower last week. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude were each down more than 7% last week, with WTI, the primary U.S. benchmark, falling from $48.99 to $45.41 (-7.9%) over the course of the holiday-shortened trading week. The price of oil currently reflects slightly more than half the price of gasoline at the pump, so lower oil prices are expected to result in lower retail gas prices for drivers. Additionally, the most recent Department of Energy report cited domestic gasoline production as just 100,000 barrels per day short of the all-time record, lending further momentum to falling prices.

While retail gas prices may continue to slide through the month of July, there are a number of factors that could cause prices to rise again. This includes an increase in the global price of crude oil due to disruption in supply, stronger than expected economic indicators or geopolitical tensions overseas; as well as domestic factors like refinery issues, production cuts due to lower prices, stronger than anticipated demand or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats
• The West Coast remains the most expensive region to by gasoline in the country, led by California ($2.88), Hawaii ($2.83), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.66) and Nevada ($2.57).
• The nation’s least expensive markets are South Carolina ($1.93), Oklahoma ($2.00) Mississippi ($2.00), Missouri ($2.01) and Alabama ($2.02).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_7-11-16-01

West Coast

As is often the case drivers on the West Coast continue to pay the most expensive gas prices in the nation; however, these same motorists are also experiencing the most substantial yearly savings at the pump. Each of the top-five largest year-over-year savings is in this region: Alaska (-81 cents), California (-71 cents), Nevada (-67 cents), Utah (-64 cents) and Oregon (-61 cents). While West Coast drivers are benefiting from these lofty discounts, these motorists are all too familiar with the impact of refinery glitches that could quickly reverse this trend. While gasoline supplies in the region remain comfortable, the Department of Energy did report a decline of 400,000 barrels to 27.9 million for the week ending July 1, in part credited to motorists filling their tanks in advance of travel for the July 4 holiday weekend. Regional production also increased during this same period, although not enough to offset the higher demand.

Rockies

Gas prices for motorists in the Rocky Mountain region have been among the most stable in the nation as supply and demand have kept prices largely in balance. This includes four states in the region among the top-five most stable over the past month: Wyoming (down fractions of a penny), Idaho (-1 cent), New Mexico (-1 cent) and Arizona (+2 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in the Great Lakes Region have been no stranger to dramatic fluctuations in the price they pay at the pump as regional refinery and distribution issues have regularly sent prices sharply higher only to drop again once the issue has been resolved. The past month has been no different and four states in the region top the list of largest declines: Ohio (-60 cents), Michigan (-50 cents), Indiana (-49 cents) and Illinois (-35 cents). While declines in Central States have not been as pronounced, they are still substantial with Missouri (-20 cents) and Tennessee (-17 cents) both ranking in the top-ten and Oklahoma (-16 cents) just missing the cut at number 11.

Top10 Largest Monthly Declines-7-11-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have also seen prices fall over the past month, although the discounts registered have been substantially less severe than those in the Great Lakes region. Limiting some of the retail price decline in the region have been reports that refineries supplying the region are reducing production in the face of narrow profit margins. Lower production would be expected to exert some upward pressure on prices, although to date it has not been enough to offset the combined downward pressure from lower oil prices and few unexpected refinery issues.

Gulf Coast and Southeast

Drivers in the southeastern quadrant of the U.S. continue to enjoy some of the cheapest prices in the nation, due to the advantageous proximity to major Gulf Coast refineries and some of the lowest state gasoline taxes in the country. Five states in the region rank in the top-ten lowest prices nationwide: South Carolina ($1.93), Mississippi ($2.00), Alabama ($2.02), Arkansas ($2.02) and Louisiana ($2.05).

Oil Market Dynamics

Global oil prices have continued to sag thanks largely to indications of increased supply. This includes reports that June production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose to more than 32.5 million barrels per day, as Nigerian production ramped up following disruptions. While these reports have pressured global prices lower, the region remains volatile and an incident that impacts production or heightens geopolitical concerns could send prices higher again. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 27 cents to settle at $45.41 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 TilePump prices have now fallen for 24 straight days and registered their lowest price for yesterday’s Independence Day holiday since 2005. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.27 per gallon, which represents a savings of three cents per gallon on the week and nine cents per gallon on the month. Year-over-year drivers continue to benefit from noticeable discounts at the price to refuel their vehicles and prices are down 50 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg-Gas-Prices_7-05-16

With a AAA-estimated record 43 million drivers hitting the road this Fourth of July holiday weekend, this year continues to see Americans hitting the road in record numbers. A rebounding economy and gas prices across the country that reflect substantial yearly savings are contributing to gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled that are both on track to set all-time highs for 2016. Higher demand puts upward pressure on prices, as evidenced this spring when prices increased on 84 of 104 days beginning at the end of February and jumped more than 65 cents during this span. As is often the case leading up to the changeover from winter- to summer-blend gasoline, this year’s increase was exacerbated by regional refinery issues that sent prices temporarily higher in some markets. While prices may continue to slide through the month of July, further refinery issues, stronger than anticipated economic growth, geopolitical tensions overseas or hurricanes here at home that impact distribution and production all have the potential to reverse this trend and see prices again turn higher again.

Quick Stats

  • The West Coast continues to post the nation’s highest prices at the pump, led by: California ($2.91), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65) and Nevada ($2.57).
  • The nation’s least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($1.96), Mississippi ($2.02), Alabama ($2.05), Arkansas ($2.05) and Oklahoma ($2.05).

Top10-Least-Expensive-Average-Gas-Prices_7-5-16

West Coast
Drivers on the West Coast continue to pay some of the most expensive prices in the nation, this includes market-leader California, where prices continue to inch back toward the $3 per gallon benchmark. Despite these high prices, drivers many of these same states are enjoying some of the most dramatic year-over-year declines in the country. Alaska (-82 cents) has the highest yearly discount, while Utah (-65 cents) Nevada (-63 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Idaho (-57 cents) and Hawaii (-55 cents) all register in the top ten.

Top10-Largest-Weekly-Declines-7-5-16

Oil Market Dynamics

Global oil prices continue to point lower thanks largely to indications of increased supply. This includes the recent return of production from the Canadian Oil Sands and reports of strong output from OPEC member countries. Adding to this news over the weekend were reports that June production by OPEC had reached multi-year highs. This includes an increase in production in Nigeria where production reportedly increase by 150,000 barrels per day during the month. While these recent production reports have pointed to increased production the region remains volatile and an incident with the potential to impact production and send prices higher is always a consideration.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 66 cents to settle at $48.99 per barrel; however, prices were trading sharply lower in pre-market trading this morning.

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 TilePump prices are holding relatively steady and remain at their lowest levels for this time of year since 2005. Today’s price of $2.31 per gallon represents a savings of three cents per gallon on the week and two cents per gallon on the month. Year-over-year drivers continue to benefit from noticeable discounts in the price to refuel their vehicles, and prices are down 47 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg-Gas-Prices_6-27-16

This year’s summer driving season is likely to set new records for both gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled, and the latest data from the U.S. EIA shows that gasoline demand is currently at an all-time high. Strong demand can put additional pressure on refineries, and their ability to sustain output and keep gasoline flowing to markets directly impacts the price consumers pay at the pump. However, refineries are reportedly increasing output and gasoline supply has more than kept pace with growing demand. In fact, the refinery utilization rates reached its highest level since April and gasoline inventories posted an increase in the face of these record numbers. Gas prices have fallen for 16 consecutive days, and if the market can remain adequately supplied drivers are likely to continue paying prices unseen for the summer months in more than a decade.

Quick Stats

  • The West Coast leads the market and is posting some of the nation’s highest prices at the pump, led by: California ($2.90), Hawaii ($2.79), Alaska ($2.66), Washington ($2.65) and Nevada ($2.55)
  • The nation’s least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.00), Mississippi ($2.06), Arkansas ($2.07), Alabama ($2.09) and Oklahoma ($2.09).

West Coast
Gas prices on the West Coast remain some of the highest in the nation, with nearly every state in the region represented in the rankings of the nation’s top 10 most expensive markets. Prices have moved higher on the week in almost every state in the region, and averages in the market’s leader California ($2.90) are within a dime of the $3 per gallon benchmark. Despite this trend of increasing averages, the region continues to lead the market posting some of the largest year-over-year savings, thanks to lower crude oil prices and comparatively more supply. Drivers in every state located in the region are saving at least 50 cents per gallon on the year, with the largest discounts in price experienced by drivers in Alaska (-80 cents), Nevada (-65 cents), Oregon (-62 cents) and Hawaii (-58 cents).

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices_6-27-16

According to the U.S. EIA, gasoline production on the West Coast is at a two-year high and refineries overall are keeping up with growing demand. Issues that could potentially impact the ability of refineries to continue to supply the market were reported late in the week, and pump prices may fluctuate in the near term as a result. A natural gas storage facility in Southern California was shut down due to a leak. Refineries rely on natural gas to produce transportation fuels, and this reduction could impact the region’s gasoline supply. Additionally, an intrastate crude oil pipeline that is connected to nearly every local crude oil production site and to six Los Angeles area refineries also reported a leak. The pipeline was already operating at a reduced rate when the spill was reported, and although clean-up, mitigation and recovery efforts are currently underway this too may also impact pump prices in the region.

Rockies
Pump prices are down on the week in the Rocky Mountain states and averages remain below the $2.50 per gallon benchmark. Consumers in Utah (-65 cents) are benefitting from yearly savings of more than 50 cents per gallon and gas prices are expected to hold relatively steady during the summer months.

Great Lakes
Drivers in the Great Lake states are experiencing a bit of relief at the pump, following a string of issues that caused prices to move noticeably higher in the region over the past few weeks. Illinois ($2.48) and Michigan ($2.46) are the only two states in the region ranked in the nation’s top 10 most expensive markets; however, averages in both states are down on the week. Gasoline supplies are reportedly recovering in the region, which is also home to states posting the nation’s largest weekly savings, led by: Indiana (-16 cents), Ohio (-16 cents), and Michigan (-13 cents).

Top10-Largest-Weekly-Declines-6-27-16

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Retail averages held relatively steady week-over-week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region, moving by +/- 2 cents per gallon over this period. Washington, D.C. ($2.55) is the only state located in this region with an average price above $2.50 per gallon and prices on the whole remain moderate. Consumers in Delaware (-53 cents), New York (-52 cents), Connecticut (-51 cents) and New Jersey (-50 cents) are all saving 50 cents or more per gallon year-over-year. Gasoline supplies fell on the week, but the market remains well supplied, and prices are expected to remain moderately priced this summer, barring any major disruptions in supply.

Southeast
Southeastern states continue to dominate the rankings of the nation’s least expensive markets for gas. South Carolina ($2.00) is the nation’s least expensive market for retail gasoline, is followed by regional neighbors Mississippi ($2.06), Arkansas ($2.07), and Alabama ($2.09) in the rankings. Gas prices have moved by +/- 3 cents per gallon in the region week-over-week and are expected to remain on the lower end of the spectrum in the near term. A wildcard for gas prices in the region is the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Prices could become volatile due to severe weather which could impact both production and distribution.

Central States
Oklahoma ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.10) and Missouri ($2.11) are ranked in the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets, and prices in the Central States are expected to remain relatively lower. On the whole, weekly and monthly price comparisons show that prices are holding steady and with a few exceptions have moved by +/- 2 cents per gallon over these periods.

Oil Market Dynamics
The United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union, also known as the “Brexit,” reportedly contributed to WTI closing out the week at its steepest one-day loss since October. The global oil market has been characterized by extreme oversupply for the better part of the year, but the tide appeared to be turning thanks to record gasoline demand from the U.S. and expectations that demand from other nations would also grow. The Brexit put a damper on these speculations because it contributed to the U.S. dollar gaining strength. A strong dollar makes crude oil more expensive for countries holding other currencies, which limits purchasing power, and could reduce global crude oil demand. The full impact of the Brexit remains unknown and both benchmarks opened the week trading lower.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $2.47 and settled at $47.64 per barrel – this represents a loss of 34 cents per barrel on the week.

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 TileThe national average price of gas reached a new 2016 high over the weekend, and today’s average of $2.38 per gallon is the most expensive average since September 2015.  Gas prices have moved higher by two cents per gallon on the week and 16 cents per gallon on the month. Although pump prices have increased for 28 of the past 33 days, consumers continue to benefit from yearly savings and prices are down 42 cents per gallon compared to a year ago.

National-Average-Comparison_6-13-16

 

The cost of crude oil has moved higher over the past few weeks, which has made gasoline more expensive to start the summer driving season. Crude oil prices have increased due to unexpected disruptions in places like Canada and Nigeria, while questions continue to mount over future production in Venezuela. Since early April, the cost of crude oil has increased by more than $13 per barrel to the highest levels since 2015. With all other factors being equal, a $1 per barrel change in the price of crude oil can increase gas prices by 2.4 cents per gallon. Prices may continue to fluctuate on the heels of news related to global oil supply and the U.S. dollar, which could have a major impact on what drivers pay for gasoline this summer.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: California ($2.86), Michigan ($2.74), Hawaii ($2.73), Ohio ($2.68) and Alaska ($2.67).
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.08), Mississippi ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.12), New Jersey ($2.14) and Louisiana ($2.15).
  • Despite increasing for 28 of the past 33 days, the national average remains at its lowest price for this same date since 2005.
  • Gas prices in the Midwest are rivaling averages typically experienced by drivers on West Coast due to planned and unplanned refinery maintenance, combined with healthy demand for gasoline.

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices_6-13-16

 

West Coast

Retail averages on the West Coast are relatively steady and have moved by three cents or less over the past week. California ($2.86) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and regional neighbors Hawaii ($2.73) and Alaska ($2.67) are the only two states in the region also ranked in the nation’s top five most expensive markets. Consumers in the region continue to benefit from the largest yearly savings, with pump prices in nearly every state in the region discounted by more than 50 cents per gallon.  In fact, the largest year-over-year savings in the price of gas are seen in the West Coast states of: Nevada (-71 cents), Alaska (-71 cents) and California (-68 cents).

Conditions at the ExxonMobil Torrance, CA refinery are reportedly improving and two units previously offline are scheduled to be restarted this week. The latest data from the U.S. EIA points to gasoline inventories shrinking in the region, however, gasoline production is growing which could help balance the scale and keep gas prices relatively steady over the near term.

Great Lakes

Pump prices in the Great Lakes states continue to climb higher due to tightening supply and healthy demand for gasoline. Michigan ($2.74) is the nation’s second most expensive market for gas, and the Great Lakes states of Ohio ($2.68), Illinois ($2.66) and Indiana ($2.61) join in the rankings of the nation’s top 10 most expensive markets. The nation’s largest price increases over the past few weeks have occurred in states located in this region. Gas prices are up double digits in Michigan (+23 cents), Ohio (+21 cents), Illinois (+18 cents), Indiana (+17 cents) and Wisconsin (+13 cents) versus two weeks ago.

Headlining the supply challenges in the region is the recent shutdown of a segment of the West Shore pipeline, located in Wisconsin. This segment is reportedly undergoing repair and inspections and may be offline for several weeks while the work is being completed. Operational challenges are also being reported at Marathon’s Detroit, MI refinery and ExxonMobil’s Joliet, IL plant.

Despite these supply issues, refinery production has increased over the past few weeks, while supplies are still about nine percent higher than a year ago. In response to recent distribution issues, both Michigan and Wisconsin’s governors took action extending the hours that drivers transporting fuel are permitted to stay on the road. In the near term, gas prices may remain volatile with summertime driving fueling high demand.

Top10-Largest-Two-Week-Increases_6-13-16

 

Central States

Pump prices in the region remain some of the cheapest nationwide with Oklahoma’s average at $2.15, Missouri at $2.19 and Kansas at $2.19 per gallon. Magellan is reporting that a segment of its pipeline, located in Kansas, was taken offline due to heavy rainfall, which caused a portion of the pipeline to be exposed. Service is likely to be suspended for several weeks while the pipeline undergoes repair. Supply in the region is reportedly ample and is believed to be capable of offsetting any shortages resulting from this incident.

 

Gulf Coast

Despite experiencing severe weather, which can sometimes cause prices to move higher due to supply disruptions, gas prices in the Gulf Coast remain relatively low. Every state in the region is represented in the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets, and Mississippi ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.12) and Louisiana ($2.15) are ranked in the nation’s top-five least expensive markets.

The Magellan Midstream Partner’s pipeline is reportedly under repair, following being shut down last week due to flooding in Texas. The pipeline delivers product to a number of markets in the region and its outage might impact regional fuel distribution. Gas prices in the region appear to be unaffected by the outage and are down on the week in every state located in the Gulf Coast. Best estimates suggest that the pipeline will return to operation before the end of the month, and in the interim the company is attempting to address any shortages by altering its delivery schedule.

Southeast

The Southeast is home to the nation’s least expensive market, South Carolina ($2.08). Tropical Storm Colin brought heavy rains and tropical-storm-force winds to the region last week, yet gas prices held steady over this period. Contrary to common expectations, with the exception of West Virginia (+ fractions of a penny), prices fell in every state located in the region week-over-week.

Oil Market Dynamics

After reaching new 2016 highs, crude oil prices retreated to close out the week due to news of a strengthening U.S. dollar and data showing an uptick in the number of U.S. drilling rigs in operation. Both benchmarks opened the week by extending this trend of sliding prices, as concerns of revived production out of the U.S. and global demand concerns begin to resurface. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.49 and settled at $49.07 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.

Podcasts

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.