Posts Tagged ‘AAA Public Speaker’

Tamra JohnsonThe national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable over the past week, settling at today’s price of $2.21 per gallon. Drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and 8 cents less per gallon year-over-year. Although today’s average remains flat compared to one week ago, pump prices have been pressured higher in some regions due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline.

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Drivers in a number of states (25) are paying less at the pump week-over-week, although some volatility remains in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions where gasoline prices continued to see upward momentum as a result of the Colonial Pipeline disruption. Line 1 operations were restored on Wednesday of last week after more than a week of downtime following the discovery of a leak. While delivery of fuel resumed, it may take a week before affected states see any relief at the pumps.

Quick stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in five states today including Texas ($1.95), Arkansas ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.99), Louisiana ($1.99), and New Jersey ($1.99).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($2.81), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.62), Alaska ($2.62), Oregon ($2.53), Nevada ($2.50), Idaho ($2.43), D.C. ($2.38), Montana ($2.37) and Georgia ($2.35).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-26-16-01

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained relatively stable compared to other markets. There has been limited disruption to production in recent months and geographic location helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Drivers in four states are enjoying small weekly discounts: Wyoming (-3 cents), Idaho (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), North Dakota (-1 cent). Some parts of the region are also seeing significant year-over-year savings with three states making the list of top ten biggest yearly discounts: Utah (-41 cents), Wyoming (-38 cents), Idaho (-26 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. The fluctuating prices can likely be attributed to the transport of gasoline to the southeast due to issues on the Colonial Pipeline. OPIS reports that during the pipeline disruption, large quantities of Midwest product was transported to Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina in order to mitigate supply outages. As Line 1 begins pushing supply to impacted areas, many states that saw increases early in the month are beginning to see significant weekly discounts: Ohio (-10 cents), Indiana (-8 cents) and Michigan (-7 cents).

Prices for drivers in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Two states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Missouri ($2.01) and Oklahoma ($2.03).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in most of the Northeast have remained relatively steady over the past week, a large contrast to the spikes seen in much of the Mid-Atlantic region as a result of problems on the Colonial Pipeline: Virginia (+9 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Delaware (+4 cents). States in the region suffering from tighter supplies and rising prices should begin to see some relief in the coming weeks. The completion of a bypass on Line 1 of the pipeline last Wednesday has allowed product to begin moving to impacted states, although OPIS reports that many marketers are warning that supply will still be touch-and-go through the remainder of the month.

South and Southeast

Issues on the Colonial Pipeline pressured prices higher in much of the Southeast with the most impacted states topping the nation’s list of largest weekly increases: Alabama (+8 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents), North Carolina (+5 cents), Georgia (+3 cents). The pipeline issues have also caused Georgia to make an unusual showing on the list of most expensive markets in the country, with an average price of $2.35. Recent reports from OPIS state that the worst is over for parts of the southeast impacted by the initial shutdown of Colonial Pipeline on September 9, and supply distribution should move to normal levels throughout the week.

Despite issues with the Colonial Pipeline in the Southeast, drivers in much of the Gulf Coast continue to enjoy some of the lowest prices at the pump: Texas ($1.95), Arkansas ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.99), Louisiana ($1.99), Alabama ($2.09).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_9-26-16-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the country, with every state in the region landing on the top ten list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($2.81), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.63), Oregon ($2.54), Nevada ($2.50). Although high, prices at the pump have remained consistent over the past week despite a power outage at the PBF refinery in Torrance, California which interrupted regular operations. Reports from OPIS on Friday afternoon say that PBF spent the week heating up and restarting process units at the refinery, and it is projected all units would be up at the start of this week.

Oil Market Dynamics

Crude oil prices rallied Monday morning due to speculation about output reduction talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Attention is now focused on members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) next meeting, scheduled for September 26-28, where the cartel may agree to a production freeze or continue its current course of action and refrain from cutting production to maintain market share. These countries will meet informally while also attending the International Energy Forum in Algeria. The upcoming talks are the organization’s second attempt to negotiate a production freeze, after a failed meeting in April. OPEC last agreed to reduce supply in 2008 and traders will continue to watch how discussions progress this week. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.84 to settle at $44.48 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.

 

U.S. Drivers Waste $2.1 Billion Annually on Premium Gasoline

September 20th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

ErinSteppAAA testing shows no benefit to splurging on premium fuel when not required by the manufacturer

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 20, 2016) – According to new AAA research, American drivers wasted more than $2.1 billion dollars in the last year by using premium-grade gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. With 16.5 million U.S. drivers having used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation in the last 12 months, AAA conducted a comprehensive fuel evaluation to determine what, if any, benefit the practice offers to consumers. After using industry-standard test protocols designed to evaluate vehicle performance, fuel economy and emissions, AAA found no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.

Additional Resources

“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality, and urges drivers to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for their vehicle’s fuel.”

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested 87-octane (regular) and 93-octane (premium) gasoline in vehicles equipped with a V-8, V-6 or I4 engine designed to operate on regular-grade fuel. To evaluate the effects of using a higher-octane fuel when it’s not required by the manufacturer, each vehicle was tested on a dynamometer, which is essentially a treadmill for cars that is designed to measure horsepower, fuel economy and tailpipe emissions when using both fuel types and variety of driving conditions. The laboratory testing found no significant increases in any tested category, indicating the practice of using premium gasoline when it’s not required for the vehicle offers no advantage.

“AAA’s tests reveal that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that requires regular fuel,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Premium gasoline is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most vehicles cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating.”

To understand the magnitude of the issue, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand what type of fuel their vehicles require and the frequency at which they upgrade to premium fuel. Results reveal:

  • Seventy percent of U.S. drivers currently own a vehicle that requires regular gasoline, while 16 percent drive vehicles that require premium fuel. The remaining 14 percent own a vehicle that requires mid-grade gasoline (10 percent) or uses an alternative energy source (4 percent).
  • In the last 12 months, 16.5 million U.S. drivers unnecessarily used premium-grade gasoline in their vehicle at least once. On average, those that upgraded to premium gasoline did so at least once per month.
  • In the last 12 months, U.S. drivers unnecessarily used premium gasoline in their vehicle more than 270 million times.

“When it comes to gasoline, ‘premium’ does not mean ‘better’ if your vehicle doesn’t require it,” continued Nielsen. “Drivers looking to upgrade to a higher quality fuel for their vehicle should save their money and select a TOP TIER™ gasoline, not a higher-octane one.”

Previous AAA research found that fuel quality varies significantly among gasoline retailers and that using a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards can result in 19 times fewer engine deposits, increase vehicle performance and improve fuel economy. To protect vehicle investments, AAA urges drivers to use the appropriate gasoline as determined by their car’s manufacturer (regular or premium) that meets TOP TIER standards for engine cleanliness and performance.

To calculate the total annual cost of using premium gasoline when not required by the vehicle manufacturer, AAA conducted a comprehensive analysis that included a U.S. consumer survey, Federal Highway Administration data, per-gallon costs of premium gasoline and regular gasoline and the average number of fill-ups annually. All testing was conducted at the Automotive Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center in Los Angeles, California, using an industry-standard chassis dynamometer, emissions test equipment and Environmental Protection Agency driving cycles. All gasoline used for testing was EPA Tier III certification fuel with ten percent ethanol content in both regular and premium grades. Certified test fuel was used to remove variability in fuel quality and additives. For this study, AAA did not evaluate the effects of using regular fuel in an engine that requires premium gasoline.

For additional information about premium fuel, including the full test report and fact sheet, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

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.

Tamra JohnsonToday’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.21 per gallon, which is 3 cents more than last week and 8 cents more expensive than last month.  Today’s price represents a year over year discount of 9 cents from 2015.

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Regional pump prices fluctuated dramatically this week due to pipeline repairs and localized supply disruptions.  In early September, a leak on Line 1 of the Colonial Pipeline occurred in Alabama and pressured prices in Southeast states sharply higher, including week-over-week increases of 7 cents or more in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Line 1 of the pipeline runs from Houston, Texas to Greensboro, North Carolina and can carry 1.2 million barrels of gasoline per day. As a result of the leak and downtime for the repair, Colonial Pipeline announced over the weekend that it would construct a temporary pipeline to bypass the section of the line that is damaged. According to Colonial, the bypass would allow the pipeline to resume gasoline deliveries to impacted areas by the end of the week.

Until the pipeline bypass is completed, distribution issues will continue to put additional upward pressure on prices in the Southeast and possibly the Mid-Atlantic region. States that may continue to see tighter supply and higher gas prices include Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The Colonial Pipeline has said it anticipates reopening the line later this week with the bypass in use, but it remains unclear how quickly they will be able to repair Line 1.

Quick stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in six states today including: Mississippi ($1.96), Texas (1.96), Missouri ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.98), Arkansas ($1.99) and Louisiana ($1.99).
  • The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Georgia (+21 cents), South Carolina (+13 cents), Tennessee (+13 cents), North Carolina (+11 Cents), Ohio (+11 Cents), Indiana (+10 cents), Alabama (+7 cents), Delaware (+7 cents), Kentucky (+7 cents) and Hawaii (+6 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-19-16

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country, including the top six most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.82), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.62), Oregon ($2.53), Nevada ($2.50). Despite having some of the most expensive prices, some drivers in the region are also enjoying some yearly savings with three states in the region making the list of top ten biggest yearly decreases: Alaska (-55 cents), Nevada (-52 cents), California (-33 cents). The West Coast region had not been impacted by problems on the Colonial Pipeline and the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) predicts that prices in the Pacific Northwest and California may see some decreases over the next few weeks.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region are among the most stable prices in the nation. The states continue to be insulated from any refinery and pipeline issues and over the past month average prices have moved by a penny or less in three states: Idaho, New Mexico and Idaho. Drivers in the region are also enjoying large yearly discounts with Utah (-43 cents), Wyoming (-40 cents), Colorado (-39 cents), New Mexico (-29 cents), Idaho (-29 cents) and Arizona (-29 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country.

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in these regions are enjoying some weekly price discounts due to sufficient supplies and limited disruption to production. These regions include five states registering some of the largest declines in the nation over the past week: Missouri (-6 cents), Illinois (-4 cents), Minnesota (-3 cents), Kansas (-2 cents) and Iowa (-2 cents). Midwestern declines are also featured in the top month-over-month comparisons, with four out of the five states posting a decline in this region: Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. On top of these weekly and monthly savings, drivers in two Central states continue to pay some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with Missouri ($1.97) and Oklahoma ($2.03) both featured in the top 10 cheapest state averages.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across most of the region have remained relatively stable with seven states featured on the list for smallest weekly changes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York. The most expensive averages in the region are Washington, D.C. ($2.36), Pennsylvania ($2.33), New York ($2.32) and Connecticut ($2.29). Some states in this region will be impacted by the problems on the Colonial Pipeline. OPIS reports that there will be less gasoline and diesel moving to Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and New Jersey as a result of the leak. Colonial Pipeline has executed its alternative plan to construct a bypass line around the leak site to allow Line 1 gasoline distribution to return to service as rapidly and safely as possible. Colonial stated on Sunday that it is aiming to complete its bypass construction for Line 1 this week and restart full operation using the bypass for gasoline delivery from Houston to Greensboro, but there is a possibility construction may take longer than projected.

Top10 Largest Weekly Increases 9-19-16

South and Southeast

Gas prices in the South and Southeast continue to top the list for lowest prices, with six out of ten of the nation’s cheapest retail markets located in this region: Texas ($1.96), Mississippi ($1.96), Arkansas ($2.01), Louisiana ($1.99), Alabama ($2.01), South Carolina ($2.04). Some states in these regions have also seen significant weekly price increases due to a problem with the Colonial Pipeline, the major artery that brings gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas and Louisiana refineries to a number of Gulf Coast and southeastern states. Reports from OPIS say the repair of a spill on the pipeline will limit the movement of gasoline from Texas and Louisiana refineries to multiple states in the South and Southeast regions including Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Some of these states have already seen significant price movement over the past week with Georgia (+21 cents), Tennessee (+13 cents), South Carolina (+13 cents) and North Carolina (+11 cents) topping the national list of largest weekly increases.

Global Market Dynamics

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed last week trading lower following the release of the International Energy Agency’s crude oil report which forecast abundant supplies with diminishing demand. Meanwhile, the Colonial Pipeline announced Sunday evening that it was currently working to repair the leak on Line 1 and construct a bypass pipeline to reduce disruption of gasoline deliveries. Colonial said they are aiming to have the Line 1 bypass up and running this week, but many of those watching the market are skeptical of their ability to restart the line that quickly. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the Colonial Pipeline repairs, discussions surrounding the possibility of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and the OPEC member meeting later this month. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down .88 cents to settle at $43.03 per barrel, the lowest settlement since Aug. 11.

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.

Tamra JohnsonGas prices have fallen for eleven of the past 12 days, reaching today’s average of $2.18 per gallon. Drivers are saving two cents per gallon compared to one week ago, but are paying five cents per gallon more on the month. Overall gas prices remain lower than last year due to the relatively low price of crude oil with drivers saving an average of 18 cents per gallon compared to a year ago.

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The national average price for unleaded gasoline is expected to keep moving lower as we head into fall barring any unexpected disruptions in supply or spikes in the price of crude oil. Pump prices typically decline during this time of year due to lower driving demand after the busy summer driving season has concluded and the changeover from summer-blend to a cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline, which takes place in many parts of the country starting on September 15.

The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasoline involves the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of the fuel. RVP is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline (higher RVP), the easier it evaporates.

Winter-blend fuel has a higher RVP because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. If the RVP is too low on a frigid day, the vehicle will be hard to start and once started, will run rough.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), drivers will continue to benefit from an oversupplied market and AAA predicts that consumers could experience national average prices below $2.00 at the pump if the price of crude oil remains relatively low and refineries are able to conduct planned seasonal maintenance without issue.

Quick stats

  • Gas prices in seven states are below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.91), Alabama ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.98), Texas ($1.98), Tennessee ($1.99) and Virginia (1.99).
  • The biggest weekly decreases in price are seen in Indiana (-11 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Nebraska (-6 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents).

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West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain some of the highest in the nation, with six out of ten of the nation’s most expensive retail markets located in this region: Hawaii ($2.75), California ($2.73), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.58), Oregon ($2.50) and Nevada ($2.48).

Strong demand in the region is currently pressing on limited supplies. The drop in supplies can likely be attributed to issues at two California refineries earlier this month. The region also currently has the highest wholesale price for gasoline, which translates to higher prices for drivers. While prices remain on the high-end, some drivers in the region are still benefitting from significant year-over-year discounts. Only two states nationwide are posting yearly discounts of more than 50 cents per gallon and both are located within this region: Alaska (-73 cents) and Nevada (-60 cents).

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies are also enjoying large yearly discounts with Colorado (-46 cents), Utah (-45 cents), Wyoming (-43 cents), New Mexico (-37 cents), Arizona (-36 cents) and Idaho (-35 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country. Prices in the region have generally been the most stable across the nation since it is geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices. Regional prices may see a slight drop this week as seasonal effects like decreased demand and the switchover to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline take effect.

Great Lakes and Central States

Prices are starting to move lower following the close to the summer driving season, with six states in these regions making the top 10 list for biggest weekly discounts: Indiana (-11 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Nebraska (-6 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents). The decrease is a relief for drivers in the regions who have dealt with significant volatility throughout the summer.

Crude oil supply appears to be building in the region which has helped to stabilize the price at the pump. Barring any unexpected disruptions in supply, drivers should see prices continue to drop with the switchover to winter-blend gasoline.

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Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have remained relatively flat, however the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline late Friday evening may impact prices moving into this week. The pipeline is a major artery in the movement of gasoline from Pasadena, Texas all the way up the Eastern Seaboard and disruptions can have a significant impact on supply. Two of the lines on the pipeline were shut down Friday following reports of potential system integrity issues. According to the Oil Price Information Service, Colonial Pipeline restarted delivery on Line 2 from Houston to Greensboro on Saturday, but gasoline delivery on Line 1 is not expected to restart until later this week due to a potential gas leak. This will impact northern states over the next 48 hours. There is, however, ample supply in the region and the higher-than-usual inventories should provide a buffer to the temporary gasoline delivery stoppage. Despite the down lines, two states in the region are among the six cheapest in the country: New Jersey ($1.98) and Virginia ($1.99).

South and Southeast

Markets in the South and Southeast continue to post some of the lowest prices for retail gasoline in the nation, with seven out of ten least expensive retail markets: South Carolina ($1.91), Alabama ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.97), Texas ($1.98), Tennessee ($1.99), Arkansas ($2.01) and Louisiana ($2.01). Ample supply is a contributing factor to the comparatively lower prices in the region. Reports from OPIS say that the Southeast region has also been impacted by the Colonial Pipeline shut down. Southern deliveries are down, which will likely cause some sporadic supply outages, especially in areas supplied by its stub lines in the Southeast. Like the Northeast, the higher-than-usual inventories in the area should provide a buffer to the temporary gasoline delivery stoppage for the next few days, and as a result southern states should not be greatly impacted by the pipeline issues. Approximately 50 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast, which generally helps to balance supply and keep prices in the region relatively low.

Oil Market Dynamics

Oil prices briefly spiked last week due to the release of an EIA report that stated U.S. crude inventories fell 14.5 million barrels, but quickly retreated when inventory numbers were attributed to import disruption due to tropical storm Hermine. WTI opened this week trading lower, following news that the U.S. oil rig count increased for the tenth consecutive week and the sustained strength of the U.S. dollar. Traders will continue to keep an eye on discussions surrounding the upcoming OPEC meetings and the possibility of member and non-member countries agreeing to a production freeze. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.74 to settle at $45.88 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.

 

ErinSteppExpert in traffic safety research takes the driver’s seat

WASHINGTON (September 12, 2016) – Dr. C. Y. David Yang, a leading expert in transportation and traffic safety research, has been selected to be the new executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Dr. Yang joins the Foundation after having served most recently as the Human Factors Team Leader with the Federal Highway Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he transformed the Human Factors Laboratory into a world-class research facility with state-of-the-art tools and top-notch researchers.

Additional Resources

“Dr. Yang is uniquely qualified to lead the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as it heads into its 70th year,” said AAA Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Mark A. Shaw. “The Foundation has established a strong reputation for important research that informs efforts to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths, and I am confident that Dr. Yang’s experience and deep commitment to traffic safety will increase the Foundation’s impact as a leading safety research organization.”

Dr. Yang is well known and highly regarded in national and international transportation communities, chairing the Users Performance Section of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board and serving on the editorial boards of two noted transportation journals. A prominent and award-winning transportation expert, Dr. Yang has published more than 40 journal articles, conference papers, and government reports on subjects related to transportation safety, operations, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. Dr. Yang earned his BS, MS and Ph.D. in civil engineering at Purdue University.

“I look forward to joining and working with the respected team of researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in the near future,” said Dr. Yang. “I am proud to have the opportunity to lead this organization that is dedicated to improving safety on our nation’s roadways.”

“Dr. Yang assumes the leadership of the Foundation at an important time,” Shaw said. “The Foundation is conducting valuable research in areas including impaired and distracted driving, teen and senior drivers and other important topics,” continued Shaw. “Under Dr. Yang’s leadership, the Foundation will continue to provide innovative insights to increase the Foundation’s and AAA’s impact on safety.”

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 more than 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. For additional information on AAA Foundation research and findings, visit AAAFoundation.org and NewsRoom.AAA.com.

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

Tamra JohnsonNew AAA Foundation report reveals habits and characteristics of the American driver

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 8, 2016)- American drivers spend an average of more than 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The research finds that more than 87.5 percent of Americans aged 16 years and older reported driving in the past year. During this time, drivers travelled nearly 10,900 miles on average and spent more than 290 hours on the road.

Additional Resources

“The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” says Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of American’s lives.”

The American Driving Survey is the most current and comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis. It revealed that Americans drove a total of 2.45 trillion miles last year, which is a 2.4 percent increase from 2014. Other survey findings show that:

  • On average, men report driving 2,314 more miles than women per year and spend 18 percent more time behind the wheel.
  • More than 86 percent of U.S. households have at least one car for every driver in the home and 28 percent report having more cars than drivers.
  • Seniors over the age of 75 drive fewer miles (5,840 annually) than teenagers (7,551 annually). Drivers ages 30-49 drive an average of 13,506 miles annually, more than any other age group.
  • Drivers who report living in rural areas drive more miles (13,029 annually) compared to drivers who live in cities or towns (10,571 annually).
  • Motorists in the Midwest and Southern regions drive more (11,295 miles annually) compared to those in the Northeast (9,328 miles annually).
  • More than 50 percent of miles driven by Americans are done in cars, followed by SUVs (20 percent), pickup trucks (17 percent) and vans (7.9 percent). Men report doing a much greater share of their driving in pickup trucks compared to women who report doing most of their driving in cars and SUVs.
  • Over 66 percent of total driving trips and nearly 62 percent of total miles driven are done by drivers without a passenger in the vehicle. Women are 24 percent more likely than men to have a passenger in the vehicle on any given trip.
  • On average, Americans drive the most during the fall (October through December) at 31.5 miles daily and drive the least during the winter (January through March) at 26.2 miles daily.

The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual American Driving Survey, which reveals the driving habits of the American public. The survey data are from a sample of 5,774 drivers who provided information about their daily driving trips in calendar years 2014 and 2015. The AAA Foundation released their first American Driving Survey in 2015.

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

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

Gas Prices Drop to Close Out Labor Day Weekend

September 6th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra JohnsonThe national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped six consecutive days after rising for 16 straight days to close out August. Today’s national average is $2.20 per gallon. Gas prices started turning lower heading into the Labor Day weekend, which marks the unofficial end to the summer driving season. Today’s national average is two cents less than a week ago and 18 cents less than a year ago but 8 cents more than one month ago. The year-on-year discount persists but has closed more than 30 cents in just 20 days.

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Prices rose in the second half of August due to increasing crude oil prices and uncertainty regarding Hurricane Hermine’s impact on Gulf Coast refineries. When it became clear that the storm would not impact production, prices dropped quickly during the second half of last week and through the weekend. While the possibility of future storms over the remaining months of hurricane season could send prices temporarily higher, the seasonal effects of lower demand – with the busy summer driving season in the rear view – combined with the changeover to cheaper-to-produce winter blend gasoline likely mean prices will move lower over the next several months.

Quick stats:

  • Gas prices in four states are below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.94), Alabama ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.98) and New Jersey ($1.99).
  • The biggest weekly price decreases are reflected in Michigan (-11 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents), Ohio (-4 cents), Alaska (-3 cents), Iowa (-3 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents) and South Dakota (-3 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-6-16-01

West Coast

The region continues to be the priciest in the nation, with the seven most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.75), California ($2.67), Washington ($2.64), Alaska ($2.53), Oregon ($2.46), Idaho ($2.46) and Nevada ($2.45). The region currently has the highest wholesale price for gasoline, which translates to higher prices for drivers. While prices remain on the high-end, they are relatively steady and have so far not reacted to refinery issues that arose late last week at Chevron’s Richmond, California refinery and Tesero’s Martinez, California location. Both refineries are reporting unscheduled maintenance that could impact supply in the region and send prices higher until the issues are resolved.

Rockies

Drivers across the Mountain time zone are enjoying hefty yearly discounts with seven states in the top ten in the nation: Utah (-53 cents), Colorado (-50 cents), Wyoming (-47 cents), Arizona (-41 cents), Idaho (-39 cents), New Mexico (-39 cents), and Montana (-35 cents). Refiners in the region have access to some of the cheapest crude oil on the market and as a result prices in the region are often geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices. Given the price insulation and already lofty discounts, prices in this area may have less room to fall than coastal and Great Lakes areas as the busy summer driving season comes to a close.

Great Lakes and Central States

Price swings have been common in and around the Great Lakes states this week with six of the top ten weekly price movers landing in the area. The top national decreases in the country are: Michigan (-11 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents) and Ohio (-4 cents). Prices rose last month following issues at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, but with production reported to have returned to normal, prices in the region have moved lower. Despite the fluctuating prices across the region, two Central region states still rank among the lowest in the nation: Missouri ($2.02) and Tennessee ($2.02).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively flat even as prices nationally have started to fall. Despite the minimal movement, two states in the region are among the six cheapest in the country: New Jersey ($1.99) and Virginia ($2.01). Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region should continue to drop this month due to a decrease in demand and the switch over to cheaper winter-blend fuel on September 15.

South and Southeast

Early projections about the impact Hurricane Hermine might have on production and distribution over the busy holiday travel weekend triggered price movement in the Gulf Coast and Southeastern regions last week. Hermine eventually passed with minimal impact on the area and prices have dropped as a result. These regions continue to post some of the lowest pump prices in the nation, including all three of the cheapest states and six of the top ten. Only four states in the country are paying below $2 per gallon and three are located in this region: South Carolina ($1.94), Alabama ($1.97) and Mississippi ($1.98).

Top 10 Most Dramatic Weekly Price Decreases_9-6-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

After jumping more than 20 percent during the first half of August, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has dropped 10 percent over the past several weeks. The forces driving the market continue to be the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other global currencies and the potential for OPEC and non-OPEC members to agree to a freeze in oil production when countries meet in Algiers later this month. Monday evening brought reports that Saudi Arabia and Russia met during the G20 summit and signed an oil cooperation agreement signaling an effort to work together in the world oil market. The possibility of an agreement briefly caused oil prices to rally, but when it was clear that the two countries did not make a firm commitment to halt production, prices again started to slide. Traders will continue to monitor these factors in the coming weeks for guidance on what direction oil markets will move this fall. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.28 to settle at $44.44 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.

Tamra JohnsonAfter dropping for two months, including a streak of 53 of 54 days, pump prices are again on the rise heading into Labor Day weekend. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased for 14 consecutive days. Today’s average price of $2.22 per gallon marks an increase of six cents per gallon compared to one week ago and eight cents per gallon compared to one month ago. Despite the increase, drivers are paying 27 cents less than they did at this same time last year and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004.

According to a AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices. OPIS projects that Americans will purchase about 400-million gallons of gasoline each day over Labor Day weekend, at an aggregate cost of about $880-million per day. While the national year-over-year discount remains, it has closed substantially from more than fifty cents just ten days ago.

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A number of factors have been driving prices higher for motorists including: higher crude oil prices, refinery issues in the Gulf Coast, and the threat of a tropical weather system moving into the Gulf of Mexico. The rising crude oil prices can be attributed, in part, to talks of an agreement to limit production amongst OPEC countries and news from the U.S. Federal Reserve that the U.S. may raise interest rates in the next couple of months.

While Midwest prices have often been the most volatile in the nation in recent years, prices in Southern and East Coast states over the last week have headlined the list of biggest movers. This has been largely tied to refinery issues in the Gulf Coast including flooding at the Baton Rogue Exxon Mobil and Covent facilities and a refinery outage in Baytown, Texas, which have pressured prices higher in areas supplied by these facilities. Meanwhile, the first major tropical depression moved through the Straits of Florida, the area between Cuba and the Florida Keys, Sunday evening. While the storm’s direction and strength are still uncertain, many meteorologists are tracking the storm’s path into the Gulf of Mexico with a northern bend into Florida later in the week. The storm’s projected move away from the concentration of refineries and petroleum infrastructure in the Gulf Coast is easing worries about available supply.

 

Quick stats:

Gas prices in three states are below $2.00 per gallon, six fewer than one week ago: South Carolina ($1.95), Alabama ($1.98) and Mississippi ($1.996).

States around the country have seen volatility in gas prices including drivers in the Great Lakes region, the Rockies, central and southern states. The biggest weekly increases in price are seen in Florida (+13 cents), Tennessee (+9 cents), Georgia (+9 cents), Missouri (+8 cents), Kansas (+8 cents), North Carolina (+8 cents), South Carolina (+8 cents), Colorado (+8 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Illinois (+7 cents).

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West Coast

Prices on the West Coast remain the most expensive in the nation, including the top five most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.74), California ($2.68), Washington ($2.61), Alaska ($2.55), Oregon ($2.46). While prices in the region have followed the national average trending higher, they have been some of the smallest increases in the country. Drivers in the area are also enjoying the largest yearly discounts compared to the same date last year, but issues at a refinery in Carson, California on Friday have the potential to impact supply in the region heading into the Labor Day weekend.

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies are also enjoying yearly discounts with Colorado (-58 cents), Wyoming (-53 cents), Utah (-51 cents), Arizona (-50 cents) and New Mexico (-46 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country. Prices in the region are often geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices and have generally been among the more stable in the nation over the past month. Regional prices may drop this fall as seasonal effects like decreased demand and the switchover to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline take effect.

 

Great Lakes and Central States

Volatility remains the norm in the Great Lakes and the top five monthly price increases in the nation are all in this area, tied in large part to a refinery issue at the largest refinery in the region, the 430,000 barrel per day BP facility in Whiting, Indiana. These top monthly increases are Michigan (+22 cents), Illinois (+19 cents), Minnesota (+19 cents), Missouri (+17 cents) and Oklahoma (+17 cents). While prices jumped as a result of the issue at the Whiting refinery, reports are that the issue has been resolved and that the refinery is back to normal production as of last week. While lower than their Great Lakes neighbors, no state in the Central region currently boasts an average that is less than $2.00 per gallon. As of one month ago, four Central states were below the $2 threshold: Kentucky ($1.99), Oklahoma ($1.95), Missouri ($1.93) and Tennessee ($1.90).

 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have been relatively flat over the past month, even as prices nationally have been on the rise. Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region may continue to drop as the summer driving season ends, decreasing demand and the switch to cheaper winter-blend fuel being allowed in mid-September.

 

South and Southeast

States in the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions are seeing some of the biggest increases in the nation over the past week as market watchers tracked a slow-moving tropical wave with some concern that it could materialize into a storm with potential to impact production at refineries on the Gulf of Mexico and demand by drivers in the region. The current forecast predicts the storm surge will potentially reach the Florida coast north of Tampa on Thursday. The Gulf Coast is home to the largest concentration of refineries in the nation and storms that hit these facilities can disrupt operations and send prices higher for states east of the Rockies.

Top10-Most-Dramatic-Weekly-Price-Increases_8-29-16-01-004

Oil Market Dynamics

West Texas Intermediate oil prices briefly fell below $40 per barrel in July, but have turned higher in August. Prices retreated slightly last week from their recent high of $48.52 set on August 19, but remain more than 10% higher than one month ago. Market watchers will continue to monitor possible interest rate increases by the U.S. Federal Reserve and any signs that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may consider an agreement that would limit production in an effort to influence prices higher. Members of OPEC are due to meet informally in Algeria on Sept. 26-28 on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum. There are few expectations of any real meaningful agreement and the market may not see any changes impacting the cost of crude oil until the meeting has commenced. At Friday’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up 31 cents to settle at $47.64 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.

ErinSteppAAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly

ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel.

Additional Resources

“AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal:

  • In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction).
  • With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios.
    • Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios.
  • When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced.
    • When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall.

“Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.”

In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal:

  • Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle.
  • Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle.
    • Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent).
  • Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work.
    • Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent).

“When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.”

For its potential to reduce crash severity, 20 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.

AAA’s testing of automatic emergency braking systems was conducted on a closed course at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Using instrumented vehicles and a state-of the-art robotic “soft car” that allowed for collisions without vehicle damage, AAA collected vehicle separation, speed and deceleration data in a variety of crash scenarios designed to mirror real-world driving conditions. The testing was designed to build on previous testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For additional information, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

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.

Tamra Johnson

Following a streak where the national retail average price of gasoline dropped on 54 of 55 days, pump prices have now increased on 12 of the past 17 days and each of the past six. The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.16 per gallon, which is four cents more than one week ago, but is two cents less than a month ago, 46 cents less than the same date last year, and the lowest price for this date since 2004.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-22-16-01

Pump prices have been driven by crude oil prices surging more than 20 percent this month and refinery issues impacting production in some regions. Higher crude oil prices have come as the U.S. dollar has weakened and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is reportedly considering production cuts to bolster prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is priced in U.S. dollars. As the U.S. dollar weakens, crude oil becomes relatively less expensive for those holding foreign currencies, which increases demand and puts upward pressure on oil prices. This upward momentum has been further supported by reports that OPEC members will again consider an agreement that would limit production in the face of the global glut of crude oil supplies that has more than halved prices in recent years.

Also influencing gasoline prices have been refinery issues that have exacerbated price increases in areas supplied by these facilities. This includes a number of refineries in the Gulf Coast that are undergoing unplanned maintenance as a result of flooding in Louisiana and refinery fire in Texas. Drivers in the Midwest and Central U.S. continue to see the most dramatic recent price movement as the impact of outages – including the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. – has pushed prices higher. The facility is reported to be slowly coming back online, which could allow regional prices to drop back down.

While pump prices in the vast majority of states (42) have moved higher over the past week, domestic gasoline supplies remain high and oil prices remain relatively lower compared to recent years, meaning pump prices are likely to remain cheap through the rest of the summer and into the fall. Prices could even dip back below $2.00 per gallon once the summer driving season is complete and as many regions are allowed to transition to selling cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline. However, a major market-moving event, like a hurricane or further increasing crude oil costs, could still offset this decline and temporarily drive pump prices higher.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in nine states are below $2.00 per gallon, three fewer than one week ago: South Carolina ($1.87), Alabama ($1.90), Mississippi ($1.93), Virginia ($1.95), Tennessee ($1.95), New Jersey ($1.96), Arkansas ($1.99), Texas ($1.99), and Louisiana ($1.997).
  • West Coast drivers are still paying the highest prices for gasoline despite featuring five of the six states with week-over-week savings. This region includes the seven highest state averages and the four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.69), California ($2.66), Washington ($2.58), and Alaska ($2.55).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-22-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also among the only motorists who have seen state prices drop over the past week and many of these states feature prominently in the ranking of the largest year-over-year discounts, including three of the top four savings in the nation: Alaska (-89 cents), California (-84 cents), and Nevada (-77 cents). While weekly discounts exist in parts of the region, prices in California have moved higher due to an issue at the Valero refinery in Wilmington, Calif. that produces an estimated 87,000 barrels per day when running at capacity. Should this facility be delayed in returning to production, it could reverse the recent declines in other parts of the region.

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained relatively stable compared to other markets due primarily to the fact that there have been few regional disruptions to production in recent months and their geographic location. Being located in the center of the country helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Barring unforeseen production issues, lower prices could be around the corner for drivers in the area with the nearing end to the summer driving season and the transition to winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. The changeover to winter-blend gasoline, which has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure and is cheaper to produce, is allowed to take place in many parts of the country on September 15.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. This is a product of tightening supplies compared to other regions and refinery issues that have limited production at some facilities. While prices in recent weeks have been a mixed bag of increases and decreases, regional prices over the past week have moved universally higher, with Midwestern states filling the top-five increases during this span: Indiana (+10 cents), Kentucky (+10 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), and Ohio (+8 cents). This volatility has been pressured by operations at the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest facility), which has been slow to come back on line following production problems.

Prices for drivers in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Three states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Tennessee ($1.95), Missouri ($2.01), and Oklahoma ($2.07).

Top10 Largest Increases 8-22-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While still largely cheaper than one month ago, prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have moved higher over the past week due to rising crude oil prices. This has been most evident in the Mid-Atlantic, where three states feature prominently in the top-ten weekly increases in the nation: Delaware (+9 cents), Maryland (+7 cents), and Pennsylvania (+7 cents).

South and Southeast

Drivers across the South and Southeast still make up the bulk of those paying pump prices below $2 per gallon. Despite several recent production issues in the region, seven states still place in the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The U.S. Gulf Coast is the largest refining region in the nation, so even with some recently reported problems, the area is less susceptible to price spikes from limited disruptions.

Oil Market Dynamics

As outlined above, a key contributing factor to the higher retail gas prices has been the increase in crude oil prices in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is still priced much lower than recent years, prices have increased more than 20 percent in August and are trading at the highest level since July 1. This increase has been attributed to a weaker U.S. dollar and reports that OPEC will reconsider production limits by cartel members at its next meeting in Algeria in late September. An agreement on a similar proposal failed at their last meeting, however Ecuador and Venezuela are expected to again call for measures to cut production. If OPEC members agree to limit production, rising crude oil prices could offset or even reverse any expected drop in U.S. pump prices resulting from tapering demand and cheaper seasonal blends. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was up 30 cents to settle at $48.52 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.

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