Posts Tagged ‘AAA Travel’

Jeanette CasselanoAt 56 percent of gas stations nationwide, consumers can find gas for less than $2.24, which is below today’s national average gasoline price of $2.29/gallon. Across the country, gas prices dropped in all but four states on the week. Prices in South Carolina have fallen below $2/gallon, while California is on the cusp of dropping below $3/gallon. The national average gas price has dropped for 17 consecutive days making today’s price five cents cheaper than both one week and one year ago, and six cents less than one month ago.

While gasoline demand saw new heights for Memorial Day, it has dropped for the first half of June. Meanwhile, high oil production rates in the U.S., coupled with news from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that Libya and Nigeria increased output last month, could lead to gas prices across the nation continuing to fall through the end of June.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest monthly declines: Ohio (-17 cents), Indiana (-16 cents), Oklahoma (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents), North Dakota (-8 cents), Pennsylvania (-8 cents), South Carolina (-7 cents), New Mexico (-7 cents) and Texas (-7 cents).

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the cheapest gas this week include South Carolina ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.99), Alabama ($2.03), Mississippi ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.05), Arkansas ($2.06), Missouri ($2.07), Virginia ($2.07), Louisiana ($2.10) and Kansas ($2.11).

West Coast

Still the most expensive gas markets in the country, prices in this region dropped by an average of two cents in every state except Hawaii. That state saw a two cent increase and was one of only two states to see an increase on the week (the other being Utah). Today’s West Coast prices are: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($3.01), Alaska ($2.87), Washington ($2.84) Nevada ($2.70), Oregon ($2.68) and Arizona ($2.29).

Rebounding from the lowest mark of the year last week, gasoline inventories added a strong 1.5 million bbl according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gasoline imports were a major player in the inventory growth, picking up 11,000 b/d. If inventory continue to gain in the region without an increase in demand, prices could continue to drop.

Rockies

Idaho and Utah lead the region with the highest gas prices, ($2.61) and ($2.57) respectively, while also earning a spot on this week’s top 10 states with the most expensive gasoline. Gas prices are volatile the in region, increasing in Utah (+4 cents), staying flat in Idaho, and dropping in Colorado (-3 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent) on the week. The fluctuation of gas prices in the region has been an ongoing trend since May.

Great Lakes and Central States

As gasoline inventory rises for a second straight week, the region is seeing gas prices continue to drop compared to one month and one year ago.  According to the EIA, inventory in the region sits just north of 55 million bbl, which is 4 million bbl more than this time last year.

The region continues to reap the benefit of seeing significantly cheaper gas in most states: Ohio (-38 cents), Indiana (-33 cents), Michigan (-28 cents), Illinois (-24 cents), Wisconsin (-18 cents) Kentucky (-16 cents) and Iowa (-9 cents). The remaining states in the region – Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota – are seeing a moderate drop in gas prices compared to last year, on average four cents year over year. Growing inventory and mediocre demand will allow consumer to continue to reap the benefit of cheap gas prices. 

South and Southeast

The region saw an unexpected 2.4 million bbl build in gasoline inventory, the largest jump on the week in the country by far. As stocks jump, the region’s gas prices drop by an average of four cents. South Carolina ($1.97) became the first state to see its average price at the pump move below $2/gallon. Other states saw similar decreases: Oklahoma ($1.99), Alabama ($2.03), Mississippi ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.05), Arkansas ($2.06) and Louisiana ($2.10).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices at the pump dropped in every state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, on average by 4 cents on the week; however, gas prices vary significantly, by a range of 43 cents, from state to state: Pennsylvania ($2.50), Washington, D.C. ($2.50),  New York ($2.46), Connecticut ($2.46), Vermont ($2.36), New Jersey ($2.33), Rhode Island ($2.32), West Virginia ($2.32), Massachusetts ($2.31), Maine ($2.28), Maryland ($2.27), New Hampshire ($2.24), Delaware ($2.22) North Carolina ($2.15) and Virginia ($2.07). A variety of factors contributes to the varying gasoline price difference, including demand and state gasoline taxes.

Oil Market Dynamics

Still rebounding from last week’s losses, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude opened at just under $45 today. Last week, reports from IEA and OPEC revealed that global crude inventories are still growing. Adding to the oversupply, Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from OPEC’s production cuts agreement, improved their output by 178,000 and 174,000 b/d, respectively, according to OPEC’s June report. Libyan production is now close to 800,000 b/d – the highest it has been since 2014 – while Nigeria could contribute an additional 200,000 b/d in the near future. Moreover, IEA’s monthly report stated that it expects non-OPEC production for 2017 to grow by 700,000 b/d, with the U.S. leading the way. All of this news left market watchers wondering what steps are needed to reduce supply in the market. Until global crude inventories decline, the price per barrel will likely remain below $50.

Last week, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the number of oil rigs has grown in the U.S. for another record-breaking week. After 22 weeks of continued growth, the U.S. now has 747 active oil rigs. Sustained growth in the production sector will lead to more oil in the pipeline for gasoline and other distillates production by refineries. Even as summer gasoline demand grew in previous weeks, it wasn’t a match for the rising tide of crude. It may be only a matter of time before market participants grow impatient with weak rebalancing efforts, leading them to undertake more drastic measures to bring the global supply of oil closer to the demand for refined products. Until then, drivers stand to benefit from the imbalance between oil production and gasoline refinery rates, which continues to push down the price of gas.

 

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.

Jeanette CasselanoAt $2.34, the national gas price is cheaper today than it was on this day one year ago. The same trend rings true at the pump in 27 states in the southeast and Midwest – many seeing double-digit price drops. More so, in 46 states consumers are paying, on average, three cents less at the pump than a week ago.

The national price drop is due to an unexpected buildup of crude oil last week combined with ongoing high gasoline production runs, an increase in gasoline stocks and a drop in gasoline demand. .  If refiners continue to produce record amounts of gasoline and oversupply the market, consumers will reap the benefit and see slight fluctuations in gasoline prices (+/- a few cents) in coming weeks. However, it is not likely that gas prices will drop much lower than this week’s prices.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest yearly declines Ohio (-46 cents), Indiana (-41 cents), Michigan (-35 cents), Illinois (-33 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents), Wisconsin (-19 cents), Oklahoma (-11 cents), Alabama (-10 cents), Tennessee (-10 cents) and West Virginia (-9 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the cheapest gas this week include South Carolina ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.05), Alabama ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.07), Tennessee ($2.08), Arkansas ($2.09) Virginia ($2.12), Missouri ($2.13), Louisiana ($2.14) and Kansas ($2.15).

West Coast

Lately the most expensive gas markets in the country, prices in this region dropped  as much as four cents, with six states paying less for a gallon of gas on the week:  California (-4 cents), Nevada (-2 cents) Oregon (-2 cents), Washington (-2 cent), Hawaii (-1 cent) and Alaska (-1 cent). Gas prices in Arizona remained flat. The regional drop is likely due to easing supply concerns with the operational return of Valero’s Benicia, CA, refinery and the arrival of a U.K. gasoline cargo load in Los Angeles last Friday. However, with West Coast gasoline inventories registering at new low of 28 million barrels (bbl), this week’s supply and demand levels could be an indicator for what consumers will pay for a gallon of gasoline in the region this summer.

Next month, California drivers may see a minor increase at the pump as the state raises its excise tax rate for gasoline by 1.9 cents/gal to 29.7 cents/gal.  The price hike is scheduled for November 1, but retailers can pass on this extra cost to consumers as early as July 1, when the excise tax takes effect, according to the California State Board of Equalization (CSBE).

Rockies

Gas prices are slightly volatile in the region with prices dropping as much as two cents in Colorado and increasing by one cent in Idaho. Montana, Wyoming and Utah remained stable on the week. However, comparing today’s gas prices to one year ago, consumers in the Rockies are paying a lot more at the pump: Idaho (+13 cents), Utah (+12 cents), Montana (+7 cents), Wyoming (+7 cents) and Colorado (+6 cents). As reported last week, fluctuation is likely due to demand increasing in the region ahead of the summer travel season, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Great Lakes and Central States

Following four straight weeks of draws, gasoline inventory is on the rise in the Great Lakes and Central States. According to the EIA, inventory in the region had its biggest one-week increase since the end of January. Sitting at nearly 55 million bbl, inventory is almost 2 million bbl higher than this time last year.

The high inventory is leading to dropping gas prices both on the week and compared to one year ago today. This week, all states are seeing on average a four-cent decrease. Compared to one year ago, six states are seeing significantly cheaper gas: Ohio (-46 cents), Indiana (-41 cents), Michigan (-35 cents), Illinois (-33 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents) and Wisconsin (-19 cents). As inventory grows and demand remains inconsistent, the cheaper gas prices are likely to hold throughout summer in the region.

South and Southeast

The country’s cheapest gas prices continue to be in the south and southeast: South Carolina ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.05), Alabama ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.07), Tennessee ($2.08), Arkansas ($2.09) and Louisiana ($2.14). In the region, all states saw prices decline at the pump with Florida and Texas dropping the most by four cents. According to the EIA, gasoline inventory increased to nearly 81 million bbl.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast – NJ up 22

Prices at the pump dropped in every state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast except Washington, D.C. where prices were flat. The states seeing the biggest weekly declines include Delaware (-6 cents), Maryland (-5 cents) and Pennsylvania (-4 cents). The EIA reports an 800,000-gasoline inventory build last week, bringing the total to nearly 70 million bbl. The build puts the region’s gasoline inventory above year-ago levels. And overall, compared to a year ago, gas prices are mostly reminiscent of last summer except in New Jersey, where prices are 22 cents more, and in West Virginia and Virginia where prices have fallen nine and eight cents respectively. With comparable gas prices to last summer, consumers may feel encouraged to drive more ultimately leading to an increase in demand, which could help dip into the supply levels.

Oil Market Dynamics

The oil market appears to be off to a good start this week, with the price per barrel above $46. The increase comes after last week’s report from the EIA showed surprising numbers in gasoline demand and crude inventories. After setting a record for use during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend, demand tumbled down by approximately 505,000 barrels per day. Market watchers expected to see a post-Memorial Day slump; however, the market was surprised by a strong build in crude inventories – a large increase of 3.3 million barrels. This figure re-emphasized that the market continues to see a substantial glut in crude inventories, resulting in high production rates putting downward pressure on prices per barrel.

At the end of last week, Baker Hughes, Inc. released its latest rig count report, revealing eight oil rigs had been added for the week. The U.S. now has 741 active oil rigs, an impressive number considering global concerns about the oversupply of crude in the market causing prices to trend downward. As expected, the continued growth puts more oil in the pipeline for gasoline production. With refineries still processing a lot of gasoline – measured in EIA’s recent report at over 17.5 million barrels per day – and a drop in demand, gasoline stocks around the country are continuing to grow. Price drops at the pump reflect this trend, and as the summer driving season zooms ahead, U.S. drivers may see drops continue into July and August.

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.

AAA Spills the Truth on Oil Changes

June 6th, 2017 by AAA

ErinStepp

Synthetic oil performs nearly 50 percent better than conventional oil in AAA’s tests

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 6, 2017) – Making an informed choice about oil changes just got easier, thanks to new research on the quality of engine oil. AAA found that synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by an average of nearly 50 percent in its independent evaluation, offering vehicles significantly better engine protection for only $5 more per month when following a factory-recommended oil change schedule. To protect vehicle engines, particularly those that operate in extreme conditions, AAA urges drivers to consider a switch to synthetic oil at their next oil change service.

Additional Resources

 “Oil protects critical engine components from damage and AAA found that synthetic engine oils performed an average of 47 percent better than conventional oils in a variety of industry-standard tests,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “With its superior resistance to deterioration, AAA’s findings indicate that synthetic oil is particularly beneficial to newer vehicles with turbo-charged engines and for vehicles that frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads or operate in extreme hot or cold conditions.”

While only a limited number of vehicles specifically require synthetic oil, all vehicles can benefit from using synthetic oil. At an oil change service, many drivers are offered a choice between conventional or synthetic oil. However, in a companion AAA nationwide survey of U.S. drivers, 44 percent are either unsure (27 percent) or do not believe (17 percent) that the more expensive synthetic oil is better for a vehicle’s engine. Reasons cited for regularly choosing the cheaper, conventional oil include feeling that synthetic oil is too expensive, offers no benefit, that the upgrade to synthetic oil is an unnecessary up-sell by a repair facility, or they are simply not offered the choice.

Switching from a conventional oil to a synthetic oil will cost the average driver $64 more per year, or an extra $5.33 per month. A survey of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair facilities reveals that the average cost of a conventional oil change is $38, while a synthetic oil change is $70. For those that change their vehicle’s oil themselves, the average cost of 5 quarts of conventional oil is approximately $28, while synthetic oil is $45. AAA’s survey also shows that vast majority (83 percent) of service professionals select synthetic oil for their personal vehicles.

“It’s understandable that drivers may be skeptical of any service that is nearly twice the cost of the alternative,” continued Nielsen. “While a manufacturer-approved conventional oil will not harm a vehicle’s engine, the extra $30 per oil change could actually save money in the long run by protecting critical engine components over time.”

The hesitation to select a synthetic oil may stem from American distrust in repair facilities. Another recent AAA survey found that two-thirds of U.S. drivers do not trust repair facilities, with most citing concern over the recommendation of unnecessary services. Those looking for a trusted repair facility are urged to consider one that meets AAA’s high standards, including, technician certifications, ongoing training, financial stability, facility cleanliness, insurance requirements, rigorous inspections and customer satisfaction through the AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program. To locate a shop in your area, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.

AAA’s engine oil research focused on eight industry-standard ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) tests to evaluate the quality of both synthetic and conventional engine oils in terms of shear stability, deposit formation, volatility, cold-temperature pumpability, oxidation resistance and oxidation-induced rheological changes. At the time of testing, all tested oils were licensed by the American Petroleum Institute and advertised to meet the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee’s GF-5 specifications. When selecting an oil, it is critical to reference the vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure that the oil meets the exact specifications for that particular engine.

AAA’s full research report, fact sheet and additional supporting materials can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

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.

Jeanette CasselanoNationally, the price of a gallon of gasoline increased one cent to $2.38 from last week; however, the price at the pump in 30 states has fallen as much as four cents. The moderate decline in gasoline prices is typical following a long holiday weekend. Historically, the first three weeks of June generally can indicate whether consumers will sustain gasoline demand into summer months. Today’s national average is two cents more than both a month and year ago.

 

Quick Stats

  • American drivers used a record 413 million gallons/day of gas during the week ending on May 26.
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the biggest changes in the last week include Indiana (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Florida (+6 cents), Ohio (+6 cents), Utah (+4 cents), Illinois (-4 cents), Delaware (-3 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), Oklahoma (-3 cents) and Maryland (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the cheapest gas this week include South Carolina ($2.03), Alabama ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.11), Arkansas ($2.12), Missouri ($2.12), Virginia ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.16) and Kansas ($2.19).

West Coast

Drivers on the West Coast saw moderate declines on the week, except in Arizona where prices increased a penny. Six states in the region earned a spot on the top 10 weekly list of the most expensive markets: California ($3.09), Hawaii ($3.05), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.87), Nevada ($2.74) and Oregon ($2.72).

Low combinations of gasoline storage and production levels are generating concern in the region. At 28.2 million bbl, gasoline storage levels are their lowest for the year and reflect a deficit of 1.3 million compared to 2016. In Northern California, planned and unplanned refinery maintenance has negatively affected gasoline production. In May, imports helped the West Coast meet supply demands, but prices could continue to increase in the region until refiners resume normal operations.     

Rockies

Trending higher, gas prices increased in Utah (+4 cents), Idaho (+2 cents) and Wyoming (+2 cents). Holding steady on the top 10 list of most expensive gas markets, Idaho’s average gas price is $2.61. With a four cent gasoline price increase, Utah earned a spot again on the top 10 list of largest weekly increases. Prices increased in Colorado (+1 cent) and remained flat in Montana. Fluctuation is likely due to demand increasing in the region ahead of the summer travel season, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Great Lakes and Central States

Gasoline supply and demand in the Great Lakes and Central States were volatile in May, sending gasoline prices on a roller coaster ride throughout the month. The trend continues into June. While the region saw a moderate level of gasoline inventory draws last week, it appears demand is not consistent and this is causing fluctuation across the region.

In the region, three states are seeing gas prices increase as much as seven cents on the week: Indiana (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Ohio (+6 cents). A week ago, these three states were seeing prices drop seven to six cents. However, compared to one month ago, the trio of states are paying 11 to 13 cents more. Meanwhile, gas prices in eight states decreased as much as four cents, including Illinois (-4 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), Nebraska (-2 cents), Minnesota (-2 cents), and Kansas (-2 cents).

South and Southeast

In the South and Southeast, gasoline prices are trending lower for the majority of the region with decreases of one to three cents on the week. Prices only increased in Florida (+6 cents), Louisiana (+2 cents) and Texas (+1 cent). This was the only region to see an increase in gasoline storage levels, though moderately, and decrease in crude oil inventory in the country.  

Drivers in Nashville and central Tennessee are likely to see gas prices drop this summer, potentially by as much as six cents a gallon. The drop is due to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) giving the green light for gasoline retailers to switch over to a cheaper-to-produce, higher RVP gasoline for summer months.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Across the region, every state is seeing prices at the pump drop as much as three cents, except in Maine, Vermont, New York and Connecticut where prices remained flat. Pennsylvania ($2.57) and Washington, D.C. ($2.53) earned a spot on the top 10 weekly list of the most expensive markets, while Virginia ($2.15) joins the top 10 weekly least expensive markets this week.

Oil Market Dynamics

For the second week in a row, the price per barrel of crude opened at less than $50. The opening price shows that the market is expressing serious skepticism about OPEC’s ability to rebalance global supply through its production cuts, which will now last through March 2018. Market watchers are also looking at long-awaited gasoline demand in the US to see if it will grow enough to eat away at ballooning inventories.

The EIA report for the week ending on May 26th showed some encouraging trends related to gasoline demand. It came in at a record of 9.822 million barrels per day (b/d) – 7,000 b/d ahead of the previous record from last June. However, the report also showed that week’s gasoline output from refineries topped 10 million b/d, for the fourth week in a row, and the level was the highest since early November of last year. Strong refinery output rates show that instead of diminishing existing stocks of gasoline to meet demand, refineries are continuing to replenish the gasoline they have in storage with newly produced gasoline. The result is that storage levels still remain high, so refineries can pull stocks from storage to meet higher driver demand without needing more oil to produce higher levels of gasoline.

Moreover, oil production continues to grow in the US. Baker Hughes, Inc. reported in its report last week that oil rigs grew by 11, landing at 733. This record-breaking oil exploration in the US will continue to increase crude inventories. Only time will tell if growing demand for refined products, like gasoline, will begin to chip away at global crude inventories, increasing prices per barrel – which could lead drivers to pay more at the pump.

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.

Jeanette CasselanoToday’s national average is $2.37 – one cent more than a week ago, two cents more than a month ago and five cents more than a year ago. Rising gasoline demand has resulted in dropping gasoline inventories across the country, according to the latest Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) report. Last week, U.S. demand for gasoline jumped 252,000 b/d to 9.7 million b/d, the highest level this year, while gasoline inventories dropped by 800,000 barrels (bbl). If the trend continues, consumers can expect to see summer gasoline prices potentially return to the high prices seen in April, when the national average for a gallon of gasoline was $2.42.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the biggest changes in the last week include: Ohio (-7 cents), Utah (+6 cents), Indiana (-6 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Missouri (+5 cents), Kansas (+4 cents), Iowa (+4 cents), Maryland (+4 cents) and Colorado (+4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the most expensive gas include: California ($3.10), Hawaii ($3.07), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.87), Nevada ($2.74), Oregon ($2.73), Idaho ($2.59), Pennsylvania ($2.58), Washington, D.C. ($2.55) and Connecticut ($2.51).
  • Gasoline prices vary significantly within the country due to, among other factors, regional supply and demand, gasoline specification requirements and taxes.

West Coast

Drivers in California are seeing the largest weekly increases (+ 4 cents). Regionally, prices fluctuated between +2 cents and –1 cent on the week. Every state earned a spot on the top 10 weekly list of the most expensive markets: California ($3.10), Hawaii ($3.07), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.87), Nevada ($2.74) and Oregon ($2.73).

Trickling into June is the region’s supply concerns sparked by May’s unplanned and planned refinery maintenance in the region. Gasoline inventories remain relatively unchanged (from the week prior) and at a two-month low while total West Coast gasoline production fell to a three-week low.

Rockies

Idaho leads the region for the highest gas prices, increasing + 4 cents to $2.59, and also lands on this week’s top 10 list of most expensive markets. With a +6 cents increase, Utah earned a spot on the top 10 list of largest weekly increases. Meanwhile, other states in the region saw penny increases at the pump: Colorado (+4 cents), Wyoming (+1 cent) and Montana (+1 cent).

Great Lakes and Central States

The region continues to see the most volatility of any market in the country. Prices dropped by as much as seven cents in some states while increasing by four cents in others. Despite seeing increases ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Ohio (-7 cents), Indiana (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents) and Kentucky (-3 cents) are all posting cheaper gas prices than a week ago, while Missouri (+5 cents), Kansas (+4 cents), Iowa (+4 cents), Wisconsin (+4 cents), Minnesota (+3 cents) and Nebraska (+2 cents) all saw prices increase on the week.  

While the state of Ohio mostly saw gasoline price increases in May, Southwest Ohio drivers can expect to see lower summer gasoline prices thanks to a switch to higher RVP (volatility) gasoline, according to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). In April, the EPA approved the removal of Ohio’s low RVP fuel requirements previously required for summertime (June 1 to Sept. 15) in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas – allowing these markets to use higher RVP gasoline in summer months. The low RVP fuel requirements are no longer the cost-effective approach for reducing ozone as when the program was initiated, according to Ohio EPA.

South and Southeast

In the South and Southeast, gasoline prices are up to 33 cents below the national average. South Carolina ($2.04) tops the weekly list of cheapest markets and even saw a decrease (-6 cents) on the week. With the exception of South Carolina, prices in the region are trending slightly higher on the week: Georgia (+3 cents), Arkansas (+2 cents), Tennessee (+2 cents), Mississippi (+1 cent) and Louisiana (+1 cent).


 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Growing demand for gasoline pressured pump prices higher across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Delaware (+6 cents) and Maryland (+4 cents) saw the biggest price increases while Pennsylvania ($2.58), Washington, D.C. ($2.55), Connecticut ($2.51) and New York ($2.51) all made the top 10 list of largest weekly increases.

OPIS reports that next year, Pittsburgh drivers could see a drop in summer gasoline prices as the state considers switching to a cheaper-to-produce, higher RVP gasoline for summer months. The switch could occur as early as summer 2018 and is similar to the decision made by Ohio’s EPA.

 

Oil Market Dynamics

The price per barrel of crude oil opened at less than $50 on Tuesday morning. The market remains lukewarm after last Thursday’s meeting with OPEC and non-OPEC producers regarding an extension of production cuts failed to generate more pronounced actions from the cartel. Although the group agreed to extend the cuts through March 2018, market watchers were not surprised by the move and hoped that OPEC would take more drastic measures, like deepening the cuts beyond 1.8 million barrels per day. In advance of the heavily traveled Memorial Day weekend, the market made some gains on Friday that helped to narrow the market’s losses after OPEC’s meeting.

OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market continue to be thwarted by rising oil production in the US. According to Baker Hughes, Inc., drillers in the US added two rigs last week, marking 19 weeks of continued growth and landing at an eye-popping 722 rigs. The number is the highest since April 2015. The bright spot in the market is the advent of summer, which typically sees more drivers on the road and usually leads to greater demand reducing gasoline inventories in the US. Elevated demand would require refineries to deplete ever-increasing stocks in storage to make more gasoline and other refined products. After last week’s EIA data showed that gasoline demand in the US is increasing, market watchers will look at this week’s report to see if the trend continues.

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.

Jeanette CasselanoHeading into Memorial Day weekend, gas prices are increasing for the first time in four weeks. Today’s national average is $2.36/gallon – two cents more than a week ago, six cents less than a month ago, but eight cents more than a year ago. The increases are likely the result of rising demand and crude oil prices. At least 36 states saw price increases on the week, with national gasoline inventories dropping by 400,000 bbl to 240.7 million.

AAA projects that more than 34 million Americans are planning to take a road trip this Memorial Day weekend– which is 800,000 more drivers than last year. The rise in road travel could pressure pump prices to continue to increase into the summer months, potentially returning to the higher national averages seen in April.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the biggest changes in the last week include: Ohio (+10 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), California (+8 cents), Indiana (+6 cents), Delaware (+4 cents), Nevada (+4 cents), Wisconsin (+3 cents), Oklahoma (+3 cents), South Carolina (+3 cents) and Kentucky (+3 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the most expensive gas: California ($3.06), Hawaii ($3.06), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.88), Oregon ($2.73), Nevada ($2.72), Pennsylvania ($2.57), Idaho ($2.54), Washington, D.C. ($2.54) and Connecticut ($2.50).

 

West Coast

The West Coast continues to be the most expensive region in the country, with every state landing on the top 10 list of most expensive markets: California ($3.06), Hawaii ($3.06), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.88), Oregon ($2.73) and Nevada ($2.72).

Drivers in California are now paying more than $3/gal at the pump, 20 cents more than last year. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows West Coast gasoline stocks dropped for the third consecutive week to 29.1 million bbl, the lowest mark in eight weeks. Refinery maintenance at Phillips 66’s Carson refinery, Valero’s Benicia refinery and Tesoro’s Golden Eagle and Carson refineries are all contributing to growing supply concerns. Early June scheduled gasoline deliveries from Europe, via New York Harbor, and from the Caribbean, could help increase regional supplies.

Rockies

Drivers in Idaho ($2.54) are paying the highest gas prices in the region and +18 cents more than the national average. It is not uncommon for prices in the Rockies to surpass the national average. According to the latest EIA report, the Rockies lead the nation for low demand and gasoline stocks are down to 7.7 million bbl, the lowest in the country.

Since January, all states in the Rockies have seen gas prices rising steadily. Utah has seen the biggest fluctuation in price. On its most expensive day in April, gas prices were +31 cents higher than the cheapest price posted on January 1, 2017.

Great Lakes and Central States

Ohio (+10 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Indiana (+6 cents) and Wisconsin (+3 cents) all top the list of largest weekly increases. The increases are in-line with growing national demand and the region’s drop in gasoline inventory. Great Lakes and Central States inventories dropped by 1.5 million bbl, the biggest draws in the country. The region is sitting on 53.5 million bbl of stock, which is about 700,000 bbl higher than a year ago.

South and Southeast

Every state in the South and Southeast touts gasoline prices below the national average, including: South Carolina ($2.05), Mississippi ($2.08), Alabama ($2.09), Arkansas ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.10), Oklahoma ($2.10), Missouri ($2.10) and Louisiana ($2.13).

The Gulf Coast saw the largest build on gasoline inventories in the country, 1.1 million bbl, pushing stocks just above the 80 million bbl mark. Despite the increase in stocks, a few states experienced jumps in gas prices at the pump on the week up to +3 cents: South Carolina, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Even with the build, this part of the region holds a year-on-year deficit of just under 3 million bbl.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw gas prices fluctuate, with increases up to four cents in some areas: Delaware (+ 4 cents), Maryland (+3 cents), Washington, D.C. (+3 cents), West Virginia (+3 cents) and New Jersey (+2 cents); while others saw prices drop or remain stable: Pennsylvania (-1 cent) and Vermont (-1 cent).

Compared to the previous week’s gain of 2.6 million bbl, this week’s addition of only 400,000 bbl likely impacted the wide range in gasoline price changes (+4 cents to -1 cents) in the region. With this week’s growth, the region’s stocks are the second highest in the country at just above the 70 million bbl threshold, but not above the all-time high of 76 million bbl in mid-February.

Pennsylvania ($2.57), Washington, D.C. ($2.54), Connecticut ($2.50) and New York ($2.50) continue to lead the region with the highest gas prices.

 

 

Oil Market Dynamics

After a strong finish to last week’s trading, crude made strong gains on Monday morning and stayed above $50/bbl. The jump is due to a weaker dollar and comes ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Thursday in Austria to discuss extending the already agreed upon production cuts through the remainder of the year – and possibly through the first quarter of 2018. In fact, OPEC is seeking to include additional countries in the agreement to deepen its impact on the global market, as Iran and smaller export nations examine potential cuts.

Only time will tell if OPEC’s actions will curtail growing inventories, especially as the U.S. continues to benefit from historic rates of exploration. Last week, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., oil rigs in the US are up 8 to 720. Unprecedented growth in the exploration sector will continue to put new oil in the production pipeline for refineries. If gas prices continue to increase, refiners will capitalize on the potential to expand profit margins and continue producing record amounts of gasoline. With Memorial Day around the corner, these dynamics and growing demand could lead to higher prices at the pump for road travelers. 

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.

Jeanette CasselanoToday’s national average is $2.34/gallon. This price is a penny cheaper than one week ago, seven cents less than a month ago, but +12 cents more than a year ago. The latest Energy Information Association (EIA) report shows that gasoline demand increased by 252,000 barrels on the week. Despite the jump in demand, the continued oversupply of gasoline caused prices in most parts of the country to drop or remain steady with the exception of some states in the Great Lakes and Central regions, where prices increased by a penny or more.

In coming weeks, the onset of summer travel is likely to increase demand which might help dip into high gasoline stocks; however, it may not be enough demand to increase prices significantly.

National Average Gas Price Comparison 2014-2017

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the most expensive gas: Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.98), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.88), Oregon ($2.73) and Nevada ($2.68), Pennsylvania ($2.57), Idaho ($2.54), Washington, D.C. ($2.51) and New York ($2.50).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the biggest changes in the last week include: Indiana (+9 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Delaware (-5 cents), Kentucky (+5 cents), Florida (-5 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Alabama (-4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents) and Pennsylvania (-4 cents).

Top Ten Largest Weekly Declines in Gas Prices

West Coast

Hawaii ($3.06), California ($2.98), Alaska ($2.90), Washington ($2.88), Oregon ($2.73) and Nevada ($2.68) lead the nation with the highest gas prices. Demand in the region continues to dip into seasonally high inventories, but not enough to deplete the unseasonably high gasoline stocks. Despite dropping 388,000 bbl last week, gasoline stocks are sitting close to a high of 30 million bbl.

Down time at the Valero Benicia refinery coupled with potential month-end work at Tesoro’s 166,000-b/d Martinez, Calif., refinery are creating supply concerns in the region. A drop in supply could potentially move prices higher in the coming weeks.

Rockies

In the Rockies, Utah’s gas prices fell two cents since last week, while Montana and Colorado saw just a penny decline. Wyoming and Idaho remained flat. With gas prices ringing in at $2.54, Idaho lands on this week’s top ten cities with the most expensive gas prices. According to the latest EIA report, the region’s gasoline stocks are at 7 million bbl- the lowest in the entire country.

Great Lakes and Central States

Despite high gasoline stocks in the regions, five states saw price increases on the week: Indiana (+9 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Illinois (+2 cents) and Minnesota (+1 cent). The region is carrying 55 million bbl in gasoline stocks- 2 million bbl more than this same time last year.  

South and Southeast

Every state in the South and Southeast saw prices decline on the week, with the exception of Kentucky (+5 cents). Consumers can find the cheapest gas in the country in this region, with eight states landing on the top 10 weekly list of least expensive markets: South Carolina ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.07), Alabama ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.09), Arkansas ($2.10), Louisiana ($2.12) and Missouri ($2.12).

The Gulf Coast saw a small dip in gasoline stocks last week and is the only region where current gasoline stocks (79.2 million) are below levels posted during this same time last year (83.1 million).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states continued to see prices at the pump decline, notably Delaware (-5 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents) and Pennsylvania (-4 cents). Even with the price drop, Pennsylvania held its spot on the country’s top 10 list of most expensive markets along with Washington, D.C. ($2.51) and New York ($2.50).  Ranked as the 11th most expensive state this week, Connecticut is just as pricey at $2.50.

With a 2.6 million bbl increase, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast were the only regions in the country to see a jump in gasoline stocks, according to EIA data. This jump likely contributed to declines on the week.

Top Ten Largest Yearly Increases in Gas Prices

Oil Market Dynamics

On Monday morning, U.S. petroleum futures were just below $50 per barrel. Prices rallied after officials from Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that they plan to extend production cuts into March 2018. This news comes after OPEC released its May report, which warns that the global oil market will not rebalance by the end of the year unless there is a collective effort from all oil producers to increase market stability.

OPEC is expected to draft a formalized production cut extension during its meeting in Vienna, Austria, on May 25. However, there is skepticism that any extended cuts will offset growing U.S. production. Last week, U.S. drillers added an additional nine oilrigs, bringing the total U.S rig count to 712 and marking 17 weeks of growth. The expected result of OPEC’s actions is far from certain. Until it is, drivers may continue to benefit at the pump – even during the typically more expensive summer driving season.

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.

 

Jeanette Casselano

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.35 per gallon, which is four cents less than one week and one month ago, and 14 cents more than the same date last year. Last week, 46 states saw prices drop – some by at least 9 cents – with prices remaining steady in other parts of the country. The trending decline is due to an unseasonable glut of gasoline in the U.S. market, record high refinery production rates, moderate demand and a recent drop in crude oil prices.  

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly decreases include: Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-9 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), Delaware (-6 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Florida (-5 cents), Kansas (-5 cents) and Maryland (-4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the biggest changes in the last year include: Alaska (+44 cents), Hawaii (+42 cents), Washington (+40 cents), Oregon (+34 cents), New Jersey (+30 cents), New Mexico (+27 cents), Montana (+26 cents), North Dakota (+24 cents), Nevada (+21 cents) and Pennsylvania (+21 cents).

West Coast

Despite small price declines on the week, the region remains the most expensive market in the country for gasoline. The West Coast is the only region in the country where demand seems to counter oversupply. The latest Energy Information Association (EIA) report shows that regional gasoline stocks registered their largest draw in seven weeks. According to OPIS, the inventory drop indicates regional demand has increased leading into to the summer driving season and is likely to continue.

Drivers in the region have seen significant increases at the pump compared to this same time last year, with most paying on average 14 percent more for a gallon of gasoline: Alaska (+44 cents), Hawaii (+42 cents), Washington (+40 cents), Oregon (+34 cents), Nevada (+21 cents) and Arizona (+12 cents)

Rockies

Last week, Colorado ($2.33) and Utah ($2.46) saw two-cent decreases, while three states remained flat: Montana ($2.38), Wyoming ($2.33), and Idaho ($2.56). The average gas price in the region is 17 cents more expensive than this day a year ago ($2.23 vs. $2.40).

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes and Central states are seeing the biggest drops in prices this week with five regional states making the top 10 list of largest weekly declines: Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-9 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), and Kansas (-4 cents). Two states have gas prices within pennies of May 2016 prices, including Ohio ($2.18) and Indiana ($2.17).

Historically, gasoline stocks start to fall in April, however this year the region has seen unseasonable increases in gasoline stocks, which continues to build due to low driving demand. Projections for high summer travel volume will likely cause demand to peak later this summer – July or August.

South and Southeast

Gas prices in most parts of the region dropped slightly or remained flat on the week, with the exception of Kentucky (-6 cents), Missouri (-6 cents) and Florida (-5 cents) where prices dropped by five cents or more. The region continues to lead the country as the cheapest market for retail gasoline: South Carolina ($2.06), Oklahoma ($2.07), Tennessee ($2.12), Mississippi ($2.12), Alabama ($2.12), Missouri (2.13), Arkansas ($2.13), and Louisiana ($2.15). Since January 1, 2017, South Carolina on average has had the cheapest gas in the country ($2.07).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Like most parts of the country, drivers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are seeing regional gasoline supplies out pace demand. Delaware (-6 cents) and Maryland (-4 cents) saw some of the country’s largest weekly declines, while Pennsylvania ($2.64), New York ($2.53) and Washington, D.C. ($2.53) held their place on the country’s top 10 list of most expensive markets. Other states saw prices remain stable or experienced small fluctuation.

Oil Market Dynamics

On Monday morning, U.S. petroleum futures were below $50 per barrel, but they have gained slightly after encouraging remarks from the Russian and Saudi Arabian energy ministers over the weekend. The energy ministers stated that there is budding consensus to extend production cuts beyond the June 30 deadline and into 2018, signaling that OPEC and non-OPEC producers are willing to take necessary steps to rebalance the market. Since the cuts were enacted, U.S. oil production has increased more than 10 percent since mid-2016 to a total of 9.3 million barrels per day and close to levels of the world’s top producers – Russia and Saudi Arabia. With some market predictions suggesting that U.S. production could soon reach 10 million barrels per day, OPEC and its partners must continue to restrict supply if their market correction goals are to be achieved. Additionally, U.S. drillers added 6 more oil rigs, bringing the total rig count to 703 and marking 16 weeks of growth, according to last week’s data from energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc. The U.S. rig count is now up a whopping 375 oil rigs when compared to last year’s count at this time. Continued increases in the supply and exploration of crude will certainly counter OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market. Only time will tell if supply restrictions and rising demand will shorten the oversupply – and ultimately lead to higher retail prices at the pump. 

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.

Jeanette Casselano

Gas prices have dropped slowly on the week. Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.39, a three cents drop from one week ago; however, it is an increase of nine cents over last month and 18 cents more than this time last year. One year ago, the country was experiencing higher consumer demand and prices were increasing. Fast forward to today, consumers are still experiencing higher gas prices over last year due to the OPEC agreement, but we are not seeing substantial increases at the pump due to increased gasoline inventories and low demand across the country.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.10), Mississippi ($2.15), Tennessee ($2.15), Arkansas ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Missouri ($2.18), Louisiana ($2.18), Virginia ($2.20) and Kansas ($2.22).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly decreases include: Indiana (- 13 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Oklahoma (-5 cents), Delaware (-4 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Wisconsin (-4 cents).

West Coast

Gasoline prices on the West Coast are flat from a week ago, but continue to reign as the most expensive in the country: Hawaii ($3.08), California ($3.00), Alaska ($2.92), Washington ($2.91), Oregon ($2.76) and Nevada ($2.71). On the West Coast, gasoline inventories are substantial, about 2.7 million bbl higher than the five-year average. The inventory spike is likely a result of refiners’ robust gasoline production in March and a strong April import schedule. Even with the region’s substantial gasoline inventories contributing to this week’s price stabilization, prices at the pump are, on average, 38 cents more than this time last year for West Coast consumers.

Rockies

Two states in the Rockies saw gas prices increase, albeit by pennies: Idaho (+1 cent) and Montana (+1 cent), while Colorado and Wyoming gas prices remain flat. The region tends to be among the most stable in the nation due to their insulated status in the center of the country and few disruptions to regional production over the past few weeks.

Great Lakes and Central States

With decreases as much as 13 cents, prices at the pump have dropped in the Great Lakes and Central States. In the region, six states made the top ten list of largest weekly decline: Indiana (- 13 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Wisconsin (-4 cents).

Overall, the region is seeing gasoline demand flatten while production grows. Currently, the region’s gasoline stocks are about 1-2 million bbl higher than levels in the last two years and could potentially increase as the region is typically a receiver of other regional gasoline during the summer driving season.

South and Southeast

Nearly a dozen South and Southeast states have seen gas prices decline since last week: Florida (-4 cents), Missouri (-4 cents), Texas (-3 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents), Georgia (-3 cents), Mississippi (-2 cents), Louisiana (-2 cents), Alabama (-2 cents), Tennessee (-2 cents) and Arkansas (-2 cents).

Across the board, demand for gasoline in 2017 is lower than 2016, but prices are higher. South and Southeast states reign with the country’s least expensive gas prices: South Carolina ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.10), Mississippi ($2.15), Tennessee ($2.15), Arkansas ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Missouri ($2.18) and Louisiana ($2.18).

 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pennsylvania ($2.64), New York ($2.53), Washington, DC ($2.53), Connecticut ($2.52) and Vermont ($2.43) are among the country’s 15 most expensive markets. Despite the high prices, some Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw prices drop on the week: Delaware (-4 cents), Maryland (-4 cents), North Carolina (- 3 cents), Washington, D.C. (-3 cents), Virginia (-3 cents) New Jersey (-2 cents), Pennsylvania (-2 cents) and West Virginia (-1 cent). Other states saw prices remain stable or fall by a penny or less. Compared to one month ago, a bulk of Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states are paying at least 14 cents more for a gallon of gasoline.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of trading Friday, April 28, on the NYMEX, WTI increased 36 cents to settle at $49.33. The below $50 price per barrel can be partly attributed to increasing crude oil stocks. According to energy services company Baker Hughes, the U.S. added nine oil rigs last week, putting the total at 697 – the largest number of rigs since April 2015. Increased production from the U.S. comes ahead of talks to extend a production cut agreement from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which is scheduled to end on June 30. The countries in the agreement will meet on May 25 in Vienna, Austria to discuss whether to end or extend the supply reduction.

On Monday morning, US petroleum futures were down, reflecting continued concern about growth in U.S. production. However, there is reason to believe that continued low price per barrel is reducing global investment in oil exploration, which could lead to tighter supplies moving forward. Last week, the International Energy Agency released information that revealed global oil discoveries fell to a record low in 2016, as companies continued to cut spending and conventional oil projects were at their lowest level in 70 years. Deepwater offshore exploration, which accounts for almost a third of crude oil production and is a crucial component of future global supplies, has been particularly hard hit by the industry’s slowdown. In 2016, only 13 percent of all drilling of conventional resources was offshore, compared with more than 40 on average between 2000 and 2015. This reduction could lead to higher prices per barrel, assuming demand continues to grow and the market experiences further constrained crude stocks.

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 survey reveals an estimated 22 million Americans will take a culinary vacation this year

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 26, 2017) – Food and dining are becoming a more central part of many travelers’ vacation experiences. In fact, AAA’s latest travel survey found that an estimated 22 million Americans expect to take a culinary-focused vacation in the next 12 months. Seventy-five percent of Americans feel that food and dining are an important part of their travel experiences and four in five say they have engaged in such unique activities as touring wineries and distilleries, eating with local families and engaging in hands-on experiences such as cooking classes led by local chefs while traveling.

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2

“There is no better way to learn about a destination and immerse yourself in the local culture than by experiencing its unique food and dining customs,” said Bryan Shilling, AAA managing director of Travel Products and Services. “When planning a culinary vacation, seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can help customize a trip that matches the individual traveler’s dining preferences.”

The younger generation is particularly interested in culinary travel, with 88 percent of millennials having participated in food-related experiences while vacationing, outpacing members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, 43 percent of AAA travel agents report a recent increase in the number of members planning culinary-focused vacations, with most planning foodie trips to Italy, France and Spain. Ironically, however, travel agents also say that one of the top mistakes travelers make when preparing for an international trip is not planning their meals and activities in advance.

“Travelers spent an average of $63 per person, per day on food and dining purchases during their last vacation,” continued Shilling. “Meals can quickly become a significant portion of a family’s vacation budget. That’s why planning ahead is key to enjoying a memorable culinary vacation.”

Travelers can find thousands of AAA Diamond Rated restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean through the AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner tool on AAA.com and in the AAA Mobile app. All restaurants must meet and uphold rigorous minimum standards to pass an anonymous inspection and be approved by AAA. A rating of One to Five Diamonds is then assigned to describe the complexity of the restaurant’s service, décor and food. The Diamond Ratings help diners find restaurants that offer the kind of experience they prefer, whether they want affordable, family-friendly establishments or to indulge in luxurious menu offerings and first-class service. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

AAA’s report presents the findings of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,013 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted March 9-12, 2017. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.8 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults. Additionally, AAA/CAA travel executives responded to an online survey conducted Feb. 10-24, 2017. Each travel executive was asked to respond on behalf of all travel agents at their club, and responses were weighted by the number of full-time travel agents at that club. The club travel executive survey represents the input of 2,110 AAA/CAA travel agents.

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.

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