Posts Tagged ‘AAA Public Speaker’

Young Millennials Top List of Worst Behaved Drivers

February 15th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

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

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

Additional Resources

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

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

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

Texting While Driving

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

Speeding

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

Red- Light Running

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

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

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

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

Gas Prices Increase Slightly on the Week

February 13th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

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

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

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

Quick Stats

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

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

West Coast

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

Rockies

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

Midwest and Central States

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

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

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

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

South and Southeast

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

Oil Market Dynamics

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

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

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

Gas Prices Remain Stable Despite Record Low Demand

February 6th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

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

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

Quick Stats

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

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

West Coast

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

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

Rockies

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

Great Lakes and Central States

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

South and Southeast

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

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

Oil Market Dynamics

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

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

 

Michael Green Contact Tile

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

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

National Gas Price Average Drops 21 Consecutive Days

January 30th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Reported updated on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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

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

Quick Stats

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

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

West Coast

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

Rockies

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

Great Lakes and Central States

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

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

South and Southeast

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

Oil Market Dynamics

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

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

 

 

 

Julie HallFive Diamond establishments are noted for contemporary designs, premier quality and personalized services

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

Additional Resources

 

The Modern – New York City

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

Four Seasons Resort Lana’i – Lanai City, Hawaii

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

The St. Regis New York – New York City

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

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

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

Four Seasons Hotel Mexico D.F. – Mexico City

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

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

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

The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond, Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AAA Inspections

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

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

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Restaurant Images

The Modern

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

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

 

Hotel Images

Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i

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

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

 

The St. Regis New York

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

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

 

Spice Island Beach Resort

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Spice Island Beach Resort)

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

 

Four Seasons Hotel Mexico D.F.

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Mexico City)

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

 

Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

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

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

 

The Jefferson Hotel

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Jefferson Hotel)

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

 

 

Increased U.S. Oil Production Pushes Pump Prices Lower

January 23rd, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

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

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

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

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

West Coast

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

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

Rockies

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

Great Lakes and Central States

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

South and Southeast

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

Global Market Dynamics

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

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

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

 

Pump Prices Drop Eight Consecutive Days

January 17th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

Gas prices have fallen for eight consecutive days, reaching today’s national average price of $2.34 per gallon. The price of retail gasoline has retreated since last week with today’s average three cents less per gallon than one week ago, but ten cents more than one month ago and 43 cents more per gallon year-over-year. The slight decrease in retail prices can be attributed to less demand and adequate supply, but this downward dip may only be temporary as the market awaits OPEC’s December monthly output report which is due out later this week.

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

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s markets that have seen the largest price decreases week-over-week are: Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents) and Illinois (-6 cents).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.77), Washington ($2.74) and Pennsylvania ($2.64).

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

West Coast
Drivers on the West Coast continue to pay the nation’s highest averages for gasoline, and the nation’s top four most expensive markets are all in this region: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.77) Washington ($2.74). The region recently saw an unexpected gasoline stock increase of 2 million bbl to 30.5 million bbl, which should help keep prices relatively steady over the next week. The recent restart of BP’s Olympic Pipeline at its Anacortes, Washington, source on Friday also should help improve regional supplies in the northwest over the next few weeks. According to OPIS, BP had to shut down operations on the Olympic Pipeline in Anacortes last Wednesday due to power outages and other issues related to severe winter storms.

Rockies
Most drivers across the Mountain time zone continue to see increases at the pump. Utah (+5 cents), Idaho (+4 cents), Arizona (+3 cents), Montana (+3 cents), Nebraska (+2 cents) and Wyoming (+2 cents), all top the list of largest weekly increases. Recent issues at Western Refining’s refinery in El Paso, Texas, could potentially impact supply in Arizona and parts of New Mexico. OPIS reports that the refinery experienced a fire in a fluid catalytic cracker on Thursday evening. The HollyFrontier Corporation also experienced problems last week with an overheated coker (oil processing unit) at their 52,000-b/d Cheyenne refinery in Wyoming. The refinery primarily serves the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountain region, which includes eastern Colorado, Wyoming and parts of Nebraska. Due to the regions’ insulated location, glitches in refinery production have the potential to impact prices at the pump.

Great Lakes and Central States
Price swings have been common in the Great Lakes and Central states over the past few weeks with five of the top ten weekly price movers landing in the area. The top national decreases in the country are: Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents) and Illinois (-6 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 most of the Great Lakes region have moved lower.

Despite fluctuating prices across the Central region, two Central states still rank among the lowest in the nation: Missouri ($2.14) and Tennessee ($2.13).

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively steady. Despite the downward price movement nationally, four states in the region are among the 10 most expensive markets in the country: Pennsylvania ($2.64), Washington, D.C. ($2.59), New York ($2.53) and Connecticut ($2.48). OPIS reports that the Colonial Pipeline resumed gasoline delivery on Line 19 from Atlanta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday after shutting it down last Saturday due to a suspected gasoline leak. Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region should remain steady over the next week.

South and Southeast
The southern regions remain the nation’s cheapest markets for gasoline, led by South Carolina ($2.11), Tennessee ($2.13), Mississippi ($2.14), Alabama ($2.14), Arkansas ($2.15), Texas ($2.15), Oklahoma ($2.15) and Louisiana ($2.17). Pump prices are typically lower in this part of the country based on its proximity to a large number of refineries and relatively low state fuel taxes. Prices in the region should remain on the lower end of the national spectrum provided there are no unexpected disruptions.

Oil Market Dynamics
Markets continue to react to OPEC’s oil production agreement, as participating countries implement cuts. Tuesday saw petroleum futures rise following remarks by Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who said that Saudi Arabia would adhere to the output agreement. He also is confident that the agreed upon production cuts would rebalance the market. Under last fall’s arrangement, OPEC, Russia and other non-cartel members pledged to cut oil output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day for six months. Energy Minister Falih went on to say that if all countries continued to abide by the OPEC agreement the market would be rebalanced and it would not be necessary to further limit production beyond the six-month agreement.

These comments follow reports that Saudi Arabia has cut production by more than the 486,000 barrels per day. Traders will continue to keep an eye on oil supply and demand as OPEC and non-OPEC countries implement the terms of their agreement. At the closing of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 64 cents to settle at $52.37 per barrel.

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

Julie HallAAA Travel experts share what’s in store for the millions of Americans planning vacations in the new year

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 12, 2017) – According to a recent AAA survey, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 – with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. All signs are pointing to a busy year for vacationers and the travel industry. Approximately one-third (30 percent) of U.S. adults say they are more likely to take a vacation this year compared to 2016, and they’re looking for a new kind of travel experience.

Additional Resources

  • Infographic 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

“There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel in the new year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. “Whether they’re taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today’s travelers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive.”

With much of the country in the midst of a harsh winter, warm-weather destinations in the United States and Caribbean are topping most Americans’ travel itineraries. The top destinations for 2017, based on AAA’s travel bookings, are:

International:

  1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2)
  2. Rome, Italy (1)
  3. Montego Bay, Jamaica (3)
  4. London, England (4)
  5. Nassau, Bahamas (6)

Domestic:

  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2)
  3. Anaheim, California (3)
  4. Miami, Florida (4)
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada (6)

*Numbers in parentheses indicate 2016 rankings.

According to AAA, destinations with the most notable increases in travel bookings include Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Toronto and Vancouver, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico.

AAA’s travel experts have identified these top trends for 2017:

  • Experiential Travel: Both novice and expert travelers alike are seeking travel experiences that help to facilitate a deeper connection to the cultures, people and traditions of a destination. For example, AAA has noted an increase in travelers booking tours that include opportunities to dine with local families or receive hands-on tutorials from local craftspeople.
  • O Canada: Canada is an increasingly popular vacation destination, thanks to its close location and favorable currency exchange rates that make trips there affordable and accessible to more Americans. Canada will also celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017, offering visitors many opportunities to experience special events and learn more about the country’s history and traditions.
  • The “I”s Have It: AAA notes a significant amount of demand for travelers visiting Europe in 2017. Ireland and Iceland are expected to be particularly popular, thanks to the availability of low airfares and the perception that both countries are safe—yet for many travelers, previously unexplored—destinations.
  • River Cruising: According to a AAA survey, four in 10 Americans would consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation and 24 percent said they are likely to take a river cruise in the next five years. And despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials are more likely to consider a river cruise for an upcoming vacation than either their Generation X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
  • National Parks: The National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, to great fanfare. Following all-time record visitation in 2015, the national parks remain an attractive vacation destination for many. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely or more likely to visit a national park through the first half of this year, building on the momentum of last year’s centennial celebrations.

Before setting out on a vacation, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience.  Travelers can also download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can be used to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request roadside assistance and more. For more information or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

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.

National Average Increases to Highest Price Since June

January 9th, 2017 by Jessica Souto

Tamra Johnson

The national average price of gas continues to increase, reaching today’s average of $2.37 per gallon, the most expensive average since June 2016.  Gas prices have moved higher by three cents per gallon on the week and 17 cents per gallon on the month. Retail prices have increased for 40 of the past 42 days as a result of market reactions to the OPEC oil cut agreement. Traders and industry alike will keep a close eye on OPEC compliance as they await the release of the first output report which is expected in mid-February.

2014-2017_Avg Gas Prices_1-9-17-01

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Arizona ($2.16), Arkansas ($2.16), Texas ($2.17), Oklahoma ($2.17), Louisiana ($2.18) and Missouri ($2.18).
  • The biggest weekly increases are seen in Michigan (+9 cents), Pennsylvania (+8 cents), Delaware (+8 cents), Oregon (+7 cents), West Virginia (+6 cents), Washington (+6 cents), Alaska (+6 cents), Ohio (+5 cents), Virginia (+5 cents) and Maryland (+5 cents).

Top10 Largest Increases Gas Prices 1-9-17-01 

West Coast

A number of refineries in California had challenges over the past week, including a power outage at Phillips 66’s Wilmington refinery last Thursday. The company’s Carson refinery has experienced reduced runs due to issues with the crude oil distillation unit’s heater that have been ongoing since November. Tesoro’s Los Angeles refinery is believed to be planning turnaround activity on a coker unit, hydrotreater and hydrocracker unit during January and February, while flaring activity was reported at Chevron’s Richmond facility, Phillips 66’s Rodeo plant and Shell’s Martinez refinery. OPIS also reports that Valero’s Benicia, California refinery is planning maintenance on a crude distillation unit heading into February.

Reduced gasoline production in the state has historically led to price spikes based on the region’s relative isolation from other markets. States in the region continue to post some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump: Hawaii ($3.03), California ($2.81), Alaska ($2.74), Washington ($2.73) and Oregon ($2.55).

South and Southeast

Drivers in the Southern region continue to pay some of the nation’s cheapest prices at the pump. South Carolina ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Arkansas ($2.16), Texas ($2.17), Oklahoma ($2.17), and Louisiana ($2.18) are all listed on the top 10 list of cheapest markets in the country this week. Drivers have seen prices climb higher on the week in every state in the region except Kentucky and Florida. Although prices have moved up, the weekly increases were 3 cents or less in most states. The market remains well supplied with gasoline and prices are expected to continue to remain relatively low in comparison to other regions through the month.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-1-9-17-01

Midwest

According to the latest EIA report, regional Midwest inventories remain abundant and production from regional refineries is also high, however, pump prices in the region remain volatile, with Michigan (+9 cents) and Ohio (+5 cents) seeing weekly increases while drivers in Indiana (-7 cents) and Illinois (< 1 cent) saw weekly declines. Monthly increases in Michigan (+34 cents), Wisconsin (+28 cents) Illinois (+27 cents), Ohio (+27 cents), Indiana (+26 cents) and Minnesota (+26 cents) rank in the nation’s top 10 largest increases and every state in the region is posting double-digit increases over this same time period.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Retail averages steadily increased week-over-week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region, moving by a penny or more in most states. Pennsylvania ($2.65), Washington, D.C. ($2.58) and New York ($2.54) remain the only states with an average price above the $2.50 per gallon benchmark. Colonial Pipeline reported Sunday that they have shut down Line 19 near Chattanooga, Tennessee due to a suspected gasoline release. Line 19 delivers supply to Nashville, Tennessee, from Atlanta, Georgia, via Chattanooga, Tennessee. OPIS reports that an extended shutdown of Line 19 could potentially cause supply issues in the Tennessee region and could also mean a possible back up of supplies into the Gulf Coast.

Oil Market Dynamics

Early Monday morning crude oil prices traded lower as a result of increased Iranian oil exports and reports of increased U.S. drilling. In an effort to capitalize on OPEC production cuts and gain market share, Iran has sold more than 13 million barrels of oil in the last three months. Also impacting markets are reports of increased U.S. rig counts. According to a report from Baker Hughes, U.S. drillers added four more rigs, bringing the total U.S. rig count to 529. Increased oil production by the U.S. may keep a temporary cap on prices, but traders will continue to monitor how OPEC cuts and increased Iranian exports impact the market. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed up 23 cents to settle at $53.99 per barrel.

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

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