May 21st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla., (May 21, 2015) – AAA has released a newly updated Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook®. Now in its 17th edition, the guide features more than 15,000 AAA Approved hotels, restaurants and campgrounds that welcome travelers and their furry family members. Animal-loving travelers can now also enter this year’s AAA PetBook Photo Contest, sponsored by Best Western, for a chance to win prizes and see their pet on a cover of a future edition of the book.
“Vacationing with your pets can be a rewarding experience that offers memories to last a lifetime. The key to an enjoyable trip with pets is careful planning,” said Bill Wood, vice president and executive editor, AAA Travel Information & Content Publishing. “AAA is pleased to provide traveling pet owners with reliable information for planning vacations that include the whole family.”
Travelers who capture a photo of their pet on vacation can enter the AAA PetBook Photo Contest through November. Winning entries convey the joys of traveling safely with pets. Cover pets on the current edition are shown enjoying kayaking, a romp in the snow and a scenic hike. See inside The AAA PetBook for details, or access official rules, an entry form and the contest photo gallery at AAA.com/PetBook.
The AAA PetBook provides detailed planning information — including pet policies, amenities and fees — for more than 13,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and more than 800 top-rated campgrounds. Travelers can anticipate permitted pet sizes and other restrictions that may influence their choice of where to stay. The book also lists close to 1,000 AAA Diamond Rated restaurants that allow pets in outside dining areas.
Helpful tips for first-time and seasoned pet travelers include ideas on packing, pet etiquette and border crossing. Dog parks, national public lands that allow pets and emergency vet clinics are also listed.
The 17th edition of Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is available now at many AAA and CAA offices, bookstores and online booksellers, with a suggested retail price of $18.95.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,000+* hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers six hotel products to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS®, BEST WESTERN PREMIER®, BEST WESTERN PLUS EXECUTIVE RESIDENCYSM, VībSM and BW Premier Collection SM. Now celebrating 69 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 22 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, Minor League Baseball, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Best Western continues to set industry records and accolades, including Business Travel News naming BEST WESTERN and BEST WESTERN PLUS as the best mid-price and upper mid-price hotel chains, four consecutive Compuware Best of the Web gold awards for best hotel website and six consecutive AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year awards. Best Western branded hotels worldwide won four times more TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awards than industry average.
*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate.
May 8th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla., (May 8, 2015) – AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. Kicking off the summer driving season, 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 21 to Monday, May 25.
Highlights from 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast:
- The 2015 Memorial Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, since 2005.
- Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.66, $1.00 less than the average price on Memorial Day last year.
- The 4.7 percent increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.
- More than 88 percent of travelers (33 million) will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
- Holiday air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers.
- Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day, to 1.64 million.
- Travelers will encounter higher lodging costs this year, while airfares are down slightly compared to Memorial Day 2014.
“Following a harsh winter, many Americans are trading in their snow boots for flip flops and making plans to start the season with a vacation getaway,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President. “AAA is expecting more Memorial Day travelers this year than any time in the past 10 years as confident consumers come out of hibernation ready to explore national parks, beach destinations and America’s great cities.”
A number of economic factors are contributing to the large increase in holiday travelers this year. “A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry,” continued Doney.
Impact of gasoline prices
Travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years. Today’s national average price is $2.66, $1.00 less than the average price for Memorial Day 2014. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers will pay the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.
Tips for drivers
More than 88 percent (33 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 5.3 percent increase from 2014. AAA expects to rescue nearly 350,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check battery and tire condition before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA mobile app (AAA.com/mobile), visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown.
Hotel rates increase, airfares fall slightly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is 16 percent higher this year at $144, while Three Diamond hotels will cost seven percent more, averaging $182. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are two percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.
Travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.
April 6th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, April 6, 2015) The price at the pump continues to reflect seasonality as refineries complete scheduled maintenance and prepare for the summer driving season. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 24 of the past 30 days, after reaching a peak-to-date price for 2015 of $2.46 per gallon on March 7. While prices could still rise again this spring if global crude prices rise or domestic refineries experience production issues, the timing of this seasonal peak would be within the range of recent years but the “high” would be significantly lower. Peak dates and prices in recent years were April 28, 2014 ($3.70); February 27, 2013 ($3.79); April 5 and 6, 2012 ($3.94); and May 5, 2011 ($3.98).
Today’s national average price at the pump is $2.39 per gallon, which represents a savings of three cents versus one week ago and seven cents versus one month ago. Consumers continue to experience significant year-over-year savings in the price of retail gasoline and are saving $1.19 per gallon compared to this same date last year.
Production issues have largely been resolved in the Midwest and on the West Coast, following a number of unexpected issues at refineries, which caused regional price spikes over the past few weeks. Despite these localized swings, the low price of crude oil has kept the national average relatively stable over the past month. Unless there are new regional refinery issues or global crude prices turn markedly higher, drivers can expect to see pump prices continue to slide leading up to the start of the summer driving season.
California drivers continue to pay the most in the nation for retail gasoline ($3.15). However, with local refineries returning to normal production levels, prices in the state have posted the largest declines in the nation over the past several weeks and have narrowed the price spread between the Golden State and Hawaii ($3.12), which usually holds the title for the most expensive state average in the country. Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.79) and Washington ($2.74) round out the top five most expensive markets. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.13) and Mississippi ($2.15) are paying the nation’s lowest prices to refuel their vehicles.
Most drivers across the country are experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump. The average price is down in 40 states and Washington D.C., with the largest drops seen in Indiana (-14 cents), Ohio (-13 cents) and Kentucky (-10 cents). Retail prices have ticked higher versus one week ago in 10 states, all by less than a nickel per gallon, led by: Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota (all +3 cents).
Forty-one states are now posting month-over-month discounts in the average price per gallon, led by California (-29 cents), Minnesota (-22 cents) and Oregon (-18 cents). Twelve additional states are registering monthly savings of a dime or more per gallon, and drivers in 36 states are saving at least a nickel per gallon over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, prices moved higher versus one month ago in 9 states and Washington, D.C, with Utah (+25 cents), Idaho (+24 cents), Illinois (+14 cents) and Wyoming (+11 cents) are all posting premiums of a dime or more per gallon.
The average price at the pump nationwide remains substantially less expensive than one year ago, due to the relatively low price of crude. Every state and Washington, D.C., continues to post year-over-year savings, and the average price for retail gasoline is down by more than a dollar in 42 states and Washington, D.C. The price at the pump is discounted by $1.25 or more in 12 states.
The global oil market remains in flux due to news of declining revenues for producers as well as the potential for additional supply to enter the market. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member nations posted their lowest net export revenues since 2010, due to reductions in oil exports from the countries and the sharply lower price of crude. Market watchers remain focused on the oil cartel for any signs of a move to cut production to stabilize prices, and with news of a framework for a nuclear agreement having been reached between Western powers and Iran, speculations of oversupply are expected to keep downward pressure on the market. Iran holds the world’s fourth largest proven reserves of crude oil but since 2012 sanctions have limited the OPEC member country’s ability to participate fully in the global oil market.
At the close of Thursday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed down 95 cents at $49.14 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday in observance of Good Friday.
April 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, April 1, 2015)
Gas Prices Remain Relatively Stable and Cheap for Most Drivers
- Gas prices remained relatively stable in March with the national average up only about two cents per gallon during the month. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.41 per gallon, which is about $1.15 per gallon less than a year ago.
- “This spring has been relatively pain free at the pumps for most drivers with a few exceptions,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Gas prices in most places are still relatively cheap and we have not seen the national average jump at the same dramatic rates that have been so common during the spring in recent years.”
- Average U.S. gas prices are up 37 cents per gallon since falling to near a six-year low of $2.03 per gallon on Jan. 26, 2015. It is common for gas prices to rise 50 cents per gallon or more in late winter and early spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline production.
- The average price of gas in March was $2.43 per gallon, which was the cheapest average for the month since 2009.
- The cost of crude oil has remained volatile despite relative stability in gas prices. West Texas Intermediate oil prices closed as high as $51.53 per barrel in early March, but also closed at a six-year low of $43.46 per barrel on March 17 before rising again later in the month. Crude oil prices make up more than half of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
- A refinery explosion and other production problems led to a significant spike in gas prices in states west of the Rockies in late February and early March, as California’s average reached a high of $3.44 per gallon on March 6. It can be difficult for local production to meet demand when California’s refineries experience problems because there are no pipelines that connect the state to the major refining regions east of the Rockies. Average prices in California have since dropped about 26 cents per gallon.
- Drivers in the Midwest also faced a brief spike in gas prices in March as several large refineries in the region experienced temporary problems. For example, gas prices in Illinois jumped more than 33 cents per gallon, but have since begun to decline as refineries return to normal operations.
AAA Sees Possibility of Lower Gas Prices by the Summer
- Lower gas prices may be on the way for U.S. consumers by this summer if refinery maintenance ends smoothly and if crude oil remains relatively cheap. It is even possible that gas prices will return to near $2 per gallon in some areas, as long as there are no unexpected problems in the meantime. AAA does not expect the national average to rise above $3 per gallon this year.
- “There is a real hope that gas prices could drop significantly in time for the busy summer driving season,” continued Ash. “The overall outlook looks good for drivers, and with any luck we will avoid the types of problems that often lead to higher gas prices at this time of year.”
- Many refineries have completed seasonal maintenance, though unexpected problems could still occur. Many refineries and wholesalers will switch to more expensive summer-blend gasoline by May 1 to meet EPA clean air regulations.
- The cost of crude oil is likely to be the most important factor influencing gas prices over the next few months. Many experts believe that crude oil prices may drop further due to abundant supplies, but international conflict, declining production or other issues could result in higher prices.
- There is a glut of petroleum around the world that has helped to keep prices at the lowest levels since 2009. Domestic oil production remains about 14 percent higher than a year ago. U.S. commercial crude oil supplies are about 24 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline supplies are about six percent higher than a year ago. In addition, a nuclear deal with Iran may allow that country to export more crude oil, which would further increase global oil supplies.
- There remains a possibility that oil prices could rise despite abundant supplies. Most recently, the market has been concerned that the conflict in Yemen could lead to violence in major oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Households Saving more than $100 a Month on Gasoline
- Many drivers are saving $15-$30 on every trip to the gas station due to lower prices. AAA estimates that households are saving more than $425 million per day on gasoline compared to a year ago, which works out to average savings of more than $100 per household a month.
- About 93 percent of U.S. gas stations are selling gas that is priced between $2 and $3 per gallon. About 1 in 3 stations are still selling gas for less than $2.25 per gallon. A year ago, nearly every station in the country was selling gas for more than $3 per gallon.
- The most common price in the country today is $2.299 per gallon, which compares to $3.599 per gallon a year ago.
- The five states with the highest average prices today include: California ($3.19), Hawaii ($3.15), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80), and Washington ($2.75). The five states with the lowest average prices today include: South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14), New Jersey ($2.16), Mississippi ($2.16) and Alabama ($2.17).
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, email@example.com.
March 30th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015) Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.42 per gallon. Consumers are paying two cents more than one month ago but fractions of a penny less than one week ago and $1.13 less than the same date last year. The national average has now fallen for 17 of the past 23 days.
The status of regional refineries continues to be a driving factor for gas prices in many parts of the country. However, while several weeks ago it was refineries going offline and driving prices higher in the midwest and west coast, today it is those facilities resuming production that has driven prices lower in the same regions. For more than a month California has been the nation’s most expensive state for gasoline. Today’s price in the Golden State is $3.20 followed by Hawaii ($3.14), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80) and Washington ($2.75). South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14) and New Jersey ($2.16) are the least expensive markets in the country for retail gasoline.
Consumers in 34 states and Washington, D.C., are paying less at the pump than one week ago, with the largest price drops in Michigan (-11 cents), California (-6 cents) and Oregon (-4 cents). Over the same period the price has moved higher in 16 states. The most dramatic increase was in Florida, where prices rose more than 10 cents during this span. While weekly declines have been experienced in many states, gas prices are still higher over the past month in most of the country. The price at the pump has increased in 32 states and Washington, D.C., with consumers in nine states paying premiums of a dime or more per gallon compared to a month ago. The largest monthly increases have occurred in Utah (+46 cents), Idaho (+44 cents) and Illinois (+22 cents).
While prices over the past month are higher for many drivers, year-over-year price comparisons continue to highlight universal savings. Sharply lower oil prices have resulted in substantially less expensive gas prices in every state, including a price at the pump that is discounted by $1 or more per gallon in 43 states and Washington, D.C.
After briefly rising back above $50 per barrel last week, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped back below that threshold to end last week. Crude prices have fallen to multi-year lows due largely to ample global production. The possibility of increased exports from Iran should a nuclear deal be reached this week would further increase production and has for now offset any “risk premium” stemming from regional stability due to violence in Yemen. A possible deal between the West and Iran could bring an estimated 500,000 barrels per day of additional oil to the global market, which would add more supply to an already well-supplied market and exert further downward pressure on crude prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down $2.56 at $48.87 per barrel.
March 23rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015) The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached a six-year low this past week, keeping downward pressure on the national price of gasoline. This downward pressure has, at least temporarily, offset potential price gains from robust demand, regional refinery maintenance and the seasonal transition to more expensive summer-blend gasoline. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.42 per gallon. Consumers are paying fractions of a penny less than one week ago, 14 cents more than one month ago and continue to save more than $1 dollar per gallon ($1.10) in comparison to this same date last year. The national average has now fallen for 13 of the past 16 days.
Despite steady gasoline production following a number of regional refinery issues, drivers on the West Coast continue to pay some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline. Warmer temperatures in the region are credited with driving increased demand, and with ExxonMobil’s Los Angeles-area refinery and Tesoro’s Martinez refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area both running at reduced rates, supply has been unable to keep pace with growing demand. For the fourth consecutive week California ($3.27) remains the nation’s most expensive state for gasoline, followed by Hawaii ($3.15), Alaska ($2.92), Nevada ($2.82) and Oregon ($2.79). South Carolina ($2.11), Tennessee ($2.15) and Alabama ($2.16) are the least expensive markets in the country for retail gasoline.
Consumers in 38 states are experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump, with the largest price drops seen in California (-10 cents), Minnesota (-8 cents) and Maine (-7 cents). The movements in price were relatively small in the majority of these states (- 3 cents or less), with the average price falling by a nickel or more in only six states. On the other end of the spectrum, the price has moved higher in 12 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in six states are paying an extra nickel or more per gallon, with the biggest jumps in price seen in the Midwestern states of Illinois (+27 cents), Michigan (+24 cents) and Indiana (+17 cents). Dramatic price swings are unfortunately nothing new for Midwest drivers who have seen frequent price volatility in recent years. This most recent increase has been keyed by issues at two major regional refineries: BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. and ExxonMobil’s refinery in Joliet, Ill.
The majority of drivers are paying more at the pump compared to one month ago. With the exception of Tennessee (+2 cents), pump prices have moved higher in 48 states and Washington, D.C. by a nickel or more per gallon month-over-month. Consumers in 30 states are paying premiums of a dime or more per gallon, versus one month ago , with the largest increases occurring in Utah (+50 cents), Idaho (+50 cents) and California (+37 cents). Delaware (-2 cents) and Georgia (-1 cent) are the only two states to buck this trend by posting monthly savings in the price at the pump.
Year-over-year price comparisons continue to reflect an overall savings for motorists. The price at the pump is discounted in every state and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (41) and Washington, D.C. posting savings of $1 or more per gallon. Retail prices are down by more than $1.25 in three states: Colorado (-$1.38), Indiana (-$1.29) and Connecticut (-$1.27).
Global crude prices continued to tumble with reports of growing supply and the strengthening U.S. dollar. The likelihood of a possible nuclear deal between the West and Iran also has the potential to bring more oil to the global market. Additionally, comments by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister yesterday indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not cut oil production to increase global oil prices, instead electing to let the market self-correct.
The domestic oil market in the U.S is facing similar oversupply dynamics and concerns that rising U.S. production could outpace storage capacity is contributing to lower prices. WTI fell to its lowest level since the 2009 Great Recession this past week, although prices did recover some of those losses to end the week. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.76 at $45.72 per barrel.
March 16th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015) After rising for 40 days in a row, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has now fallen for nine straight days to today’s average of $2.42 per gallon. Today’s national average is three cents less than one week ago, but 18 cents more than one month ago. Compared to this same date last year, consumers are saving an average of $1.09 per gallon at the pump.
Gas prices may continue to drop in the near future due to a steep decline in the cost of crude oil. Crude oil prices declined by more than 10 percent last week due to abundant supplies, a stronger U.S. dollar, and the possibility of even more oil entering the market soon. Every $10 per barrel decline in the cost of crude oil can send gas prices down by nearly 25 cents per gallon.
The national average tends to moves higher this time of year because refineries conduct planned maintenance, which can limit fuel production. Refineries are also beginning to transition to summer-blend fuel in advance of the May 1 deadline. As part of this process, refineries draw down current inventories of winter-blend fuel, which can further constrain supplies. However, gas prices should remain relatively cheap because crude oil costs are much lower than recent years and U.S. inventories have risen for nine straight weeks, which should keep downward pressure on retail gasoline markets.
The West Coast is still recovering from localized refinery issues and remains the nation’s most expensive region for retail gasoline. Motorists in California ($3.37) continue to pay the highest pump prices in the nation, and the retail price is likely to remain relatively high due to lingering limited supply. California is followed by Hawaii ($3.14), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.87) and Oregon ($2.86) as the nation’s the top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in South Carolina ($2.14), Indiana ($2.19) and Tennessee ($2.19) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.
Weekly price comparisons in most states reflect relatively stable prices, with the average price moving by +/- 2 cents in 36 states. However, a handful of states have seen prices move more dramatically. Prices in Idaho (+15 cents) and Utah (+14 cents) have moved sharply higher, largely due to regional refinery issues, while one-week price drops in Ohio (-12 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents) headline the 42 states where prices have fallen.
Month-over-month comparisons continue to show that the majority of drivers (45 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying more at the pump. The average price for retail gasoline has climbed by more than a dime per gallon in 42 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in four states have seen prices increase by 50 cents or more over this same period: California (+60 cents), Oregon (+52 cents), Washington (+51 cents) and Idaho (+51 cents). A handful of Midwest states are bucking this trend, as prices are down in Indiana (-12 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Michigan (-4 cents) and Illinois (-2 cents) versus one month ago.
Despite fluctuations in the retail gasoline market, consumers are still experiencing significant savings year-over-year. The average price is discounted in every state and Washington, D.C. compared to this same date last year. Drivers in seven states are saving $1.25 or more per gallon, led by Indiana (-$1.50), Michigan (-$1.47) and Ohio (-$1.45).
The global oil market remains oversupplied, and relatively high U.S. production levels continue to support bearish market sentiment. This trend is likely to continue as warmer weather in the Bakken region of the United States allows for increased output after production levels in the region slipped in January.
The possibility of geopolitical events in major production regions is likely keep the market relatively volatile in the near term. Speculation is beginning about the agenda for OPEC’s first scheduled meeting of the year, and whether the cartel will intervene to cut oil production in order to pressure prices higher in the global market. Without signals of a decision being made in advance of this meeting, the market will be left to self-regulate in search of bottom.
The divergence between Brent and West Texas Intermediate, the two most cited oil benchmarks, remains approximately $10 per barrel, just shy of February’s 14-month high of $13 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI fell $2.21 and settled at $44.84 per barrel.
March 12th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 12, 2015) – As snow continues in many parts of the country, travelers are ready to escape to warmer weather and sunny destinations, according to AAA. Warm destinations offering fun-filled activities for families will experience the largest influx of travelers this spring season, followed by ever-popular vacation destinations Washington, D.C., New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.
AAA Travel’s top spring travel destinations, based on AAA.com hotel bookings, are:
- Orlando, Fla.
- Los Angeles, Calif. (Anaheim)
- San Diego, Calif.
- Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- Miami, Fla.
- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Washington, D.C.
- New York, N.Y.
- Seattle, Wash.
- San Francisco, Calif.
“It’s clear that travelers are seeking warm weather destinations this spring as they look to escape the cold after a particularly harsh winter,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “In addition to great domestic destination getaways, cruises, tours and vacation packages to international destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean are also popular vacations this spring.”
Theme parks continue to be a popular vacation option, as evidenced by Orlando and Los Angeles holding top spots on this year’s list. Universal Orlando Resort is an increasingly popular destination with new attractions including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the new family-friendly Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
AAA Vacations, a collection of cruises, guided tours and independent vacations, offers unique, engaging travel experiences that range from exploring the Galapagos to touring America’s national parks, and are available at more than 1,000 AAA Travel offices. Each itinerary is designed with the AAA member in mind and includes built-in value along with exclusive member benefits such as 24/7 Member Care and Best Price Guarantee.
With all the options available to travelers today, vacation planning can be a daunting task. To maximize a spring break vacation, AAA recommends travelers seek the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience. For more information and to begin planning a vacation, visit AAA.com/Travel.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
March 9th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, March 9, 2015) The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline fell yesterday for the first time since increasing for 40 consecutive days, which was the longest streak of daily price increases since 2011. During this period, average gas prices increased by 43 cents per gallon, but have fallen by a half cent since Saturday. While today’s price of $2.45 per gallon is three cents more than one week ago and 28 cents more than one month ago, pump prices continue to reflect a substantial yearly discount. Compared to the same date last year motorists are saving an average of $1.04 per gallon.
Retail gas prices typically trend higher this time of year as suppliers undergo maintenance and plan to reduce winter grade fuel in preparation for the changeover to summer-grade gasoline, which is more costly to produce. West Coast markets have seen particularly dramatic run-ups over the last several weeks due to a number of supply issues. An explosion last month at ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, Calif. has kept that facility running at severely reduced rates. Production at Tesoro’s refinery in Martinez, Calif. also remains limited as it aims to restart after recent planned maintenance.
The result for motorists is a statewide average in California ($3.43) that is the highest in the nation and 30 cents more expensive than second-place Hawaii. Environmental regulations require the state to sell specialized blends of gasoline, which limits the state’s ability to substitute fuel from neighboring markets to overcome supply shortages. It also can be difficult for the West Coast to meet demand when there are refinery disruptions because there are no pipelines to major refining regions east of the Rockies. The West Coast is the most expensive region for retail gasoline with Alaska ($2.90), Oregon ($2.88) and Nevada ($2.88) rounding out the nation’s top five most expensive markets. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.16), Wyoming ($2.16) and Montana ($2.20) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.
The majority of drivers nationwide are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. Prices have moved higher in 45 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week, led by the Rocky Mountain states of Idaho (+21 cents) and Utah (+21 cents). Motorist in 30 states are paying a nickel or more per gallon and the price at the pump has moved higher in six states by a dime or more per gallon in comparison to one week ago. Over this same period, the price at the pump has fallen in five Mid-continent states: Michigan (-13 cents), Indiana (-11 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Illinois (-5 cents) and Kentucky (-2 cents). Two-week price comparisons reflect a similar trend with prices rising in 47 states. The most dramatic increases in retail averages over this two-week period have been on the West Coast. California (+48 cents), Oregon (+43 cents) and Washington (+40 cents) are joined by five additional states where drivers are paying more than a quarter per gallon versus 14 days ago.
Monthly comparisons show rising prices in every state and Washington, D.C. Twenty-seven states are paying an average of a quarter or more per gallon and the price has moved higher by a dime or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period. Consumers on the West Coast have again experienced the most extreme jumps in price with California (+84 cents), Oregon (+66 cents), Washington (+63 cents) and Nevada (+57 cents) boasting month-over-month increases of more than 50 cents per gallon.
Year-over-year savings continue to erode as production challenges in California and seasonal refinery maintenance across the country pressure prices higher in many markets. The average price for retail gasoline remains cheaper in every state and Washington, D.C., however, the number of states posting a yearly savings of $1 or more (38 states) continues to diminish. California (-47 cents) is the only state where savings are less than 50 cents per gallon, and drivers in five states are saving more than $1.25 per gallon: Michigan (-$1.41), Indiana (-$1.36), Colorado (-$1.35), Illinois (-$1.32) and Ohio (-$1.27).
The global price of crude oil remains volatile due to speculations about possible production cuts due to oversupply and news of rising global demand. Absent any intervention from OPEC, global prices are expected to continue to fluctuate as markets attempt to self-regulate and find balance. U.S. production continues to hit record levels, and according to the EIA’s most recent report, stockpiles have climbed to their highest weekly levels since the energy agency started collecting statistical data on the subject in 1982. Abundant domestic supply has also kept the spread between WTI and Brent crude relatively wide. The gap in price currently stands at about $10 per barrel. Historically, when the global market is balanced, the disparity in benchmark pricing is around plus or minus $2 per barrel; however the spread has varied widely over the past several years.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.15 settling at $49.61 per barrel.
March 2nd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, March 2, 2015) Significant price jumps in West Coast markets due to refinery outages and operational issues have kept upward pressure on the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline. The national average has moved higher for 35 consecutive days, the longest streak of increases since February 2013, during which the national average has increased 39 cents per gallon. Today’s price of $2.43 per gallon represents an increase of 13 cents in comparison to one week ago. The 13-cent weekly increase is the largest spike since July 2013. Although the price at the pump remains at a significant discount in comparison to this same date last year, consumer savings continue to narrow and are currently at $1.03 per gallon – 22 cents per gallon below the peak savings of $1.25 per gallon on January 26.
Gas prices historically tend to rise during this time of year as refineries nationwide conduct planned seasonal maintenance that can limit fuel production. However, unexpected refinery outages on the West Coast have exacerbated seasonal production declines, and the price at the pump has jumped significantly higher in impacted markets. Drivers in California have been subject to the most dramatic increases. Average price for retail gasoline in the state climbed by 13 cents over a 24-hour period due to supply shortages and the impact of last week’s explosion at ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, California, and the broader price impact is currently being felt in a number of West Coast markets.
California ($3.39) has unseated Hawaii ($3.05) as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline for the first time since October 2012. Unlike other states, California cannot easily import gasoline from neighboring markets due to environmental regulations that require specialized fuel blends in the state. The neighboring states of Nevada ($2.79), Oregon ($2.78) and Washington ($2.72) have also been impacted by the regional production issues, and are joined by Alaska ($2.77) as the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline. No state is posting an average below the $2 per gallon threshold. Motorists in Utah ($2.05), Idaho ($2.05) and Wyoming ($2.09) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.
Retail averages have moved higher in every state and Washington, D.C. over the past week. Consumers on the West Coast have seen the sharpest increases in the price at the pump over this period, led by: California (+43 cents), Oregon (+32 cents) and Washington (+27 cents). The price is up by a dime or more per gallon in 20 states, and motorists in 47 states and Washington, D.C. are paying at least a nickel more per gallon to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. This trend also holds true for two-week price comparisons, where 44 states are posting premiums of a dime or more per gallon. The largest two-week increases have also taken place in California (+59 cents), Oregon (+42 cents) and Washington (+38 cents).
With the exception of Hawaii (-9 cents), monthly comparisons show American motorists are paying more to refuel their vehicles than one month ago. Month-over-month prices are up by more than a dime per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and 38 states are registering premiums of a quarter or more per gallon. Drivers in California (+95 cents), Oregon (+66 cents), Washington (+59 cents) and Nevada (+58 cents) once again headline increases, with prices moving higher by more than 50 cents per gallon over this period.
Production concerns in California, along with the broader impact of seasonal refinery maintenance, have further eroded the year-over-year savings experienced by many drivers nationwide. Although the price at the pump remains discounted in every state and Washington, D.C., six fewer markets (40) than one week ago are posting yearly savings of $1 or more per gallon. While yearly discounts are narrowing, five states continue to post savings of $1.25 or more: Colorado ($1.35), Michigan ($1.27), Connecticut ($1.26), Idaho ($1.26) and Utah ($1.26).
Volatility remains a central theme in the global oil market, and reports of increased production from Libya and a rise in exports from Iraq will likely keep global prices on the move. U.S. production companies are beginning to scale back plans for exploration and production, and the number of U.S. oil rigs in operation continues to decrease in light of shrinking profit margins and the global market’s continuing oversupply. Nevertheless, production remains high and stocks continue to build. This abundance in domestic production is widening the gap between the domestic benchmark WTI and its global counterpart Brent crude. The gap in price, which is now approximately $13 per barrel, is viewed by analysts as an advantage for U.S. refineries.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.59 settling at $49.76 per barrel.