Posts Tagged ‘AAA Travel’

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, January 5, 2015) The national average price of gas has fallen for a record 102 days to $2.20 per gallon, which is the lowest average since May 9, 2009. Drivers closed out 2014 on a high note with households saving an average of approximately $115 on gasoline in comparison to 2013 due to relatively low prices at the pump. The average price for retail gasoline hit multi-year lows during the last few months of 2014 and is expected to continue to fall as we begin 2015. Consumers are saving nine cents compared to one week ago, 49 cents compared to one month ago and $1.12 per gallon compared to this same date last year.

The national average price has fallen every day since September 25 for a total of $1.15 per gallon. Today’s price is $1.50 (approximately 40 percent) less than the 2014 peak of $3.69 per gallon on April 28. Barring any significant fluctuations in the price of crude oil, the average price at the pump is likely to remain below $3.00 per gallon in 2015, although prices may see seasonal increases this spring as refineries undergo maintenance, or this summer as demand increases during the busy summer driving season.

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Drivers in 43 states are paying an average price that is below $2.50 per gallon and seven states boast averages below $2.00 per gallon. Drivers in 40 states can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2.00 per gallon today. The center of the country continues to pay the lowest prices, led by averages in Missouri ($1.86), Oklahoma ($1.89), Ohio ($1.90), Michigan ($1.90), Indiana ($1.92) Kansas ($1.92) and Texas ($1.98). The average price for retail gasoline in Alaska slipped below $3.00 per gallon today for the first time since June 2009, leaving Hawaii ($3.48) as the only state with an average price above the $3.00 threshold. Motorists in New York ($2.72), Vermont ($2.66) and California ($2.65) are still paying the highest averages in the continental U.S. and round out the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.

The average price at the pump is down in every state and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Minnesota (-15 cents), Idaho (-15 cents) and Michigan (-14 cents) are posting the largest savings over this period, and are joined by 17 other states where motorists are saving a dime or more at the pump. Consumers in 47 seven states and Washington, D.C. are experiencing weekly savings of at least a nickel per gallon to refuel their vehicles. With the exception of California (-8 cents), the average price for retail gasoline has fallen by a dime or more in every state and Washington, D.C. over the last two-weeks. The largest savings over this stretch are in Michigan (-31 cents), Idaho (-30 cents), Ohio (-30 cents) and Utah (-29 cents).

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Since this time last month, the price at the pump has fallen in every state and Washington, D.C. by more than 30 cents per gallon. Motorists in 21 states are saving 50 cents or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles, with the same bi-weekly savings leaders — Michigan (-81 cents), Idaho (- 79 cents) and Ohio (-74 cents) — not surprisingly posting the largest savings over this same span.

The most extreme discounts in the price at the pump are reflected in yearly comparisons. Averages are down by $1.00 or more in 39 states, with the largest declines in Michigan (-$1.41), Indiana (-$1.41), Ohio (-$1.41) and Illinois (-$1.28). Consumers in almost every state and Washington, D.C. are saving at least 75 cents per gallon; Hawaii (-48 cents) and Alaska (-65 cents), the nation’s most expensive gasoline markets, are the two exceptions.

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The price of crude is continuing its downward slide due to excess supply and weak demand, and is on the precipice of falling below $50 per barrel today for the first time since April 2009. Global oil prices are expected to remain relatively low for the first half of 2015, which could put additional pressure on high-cost production countries like the United States. Rebel forces continue to disrupt supply from OPEC member country Libya, yet the level of global oversupply appears capable of easing concerns that might otherwise send prices higher due to production concerns.

Sustained low prices for crude have the potential to impact domestic production, with both upstream and downstream companies reportedly beginning to reassess their plans moving forward. Although it is too early to tell what, if any, impact low crude prices will have on domestic production, it is worth noting that companies will increasingly face the choice of either continuing expansion plans or cutting capital expenditures in a market that offers significantly lower profit margins.

The global price of crude has lost more than half of its value since mid-2014. At the close of formal trading on Friday, WTI fell by 58 cents per barrel and settled at $52.69. This marks the lowest settlement since April 30, 2009.

Michael Green Contact Tile

(WASHINGTON, December 31, 2014)

Americans Saved $14 Billion on Gasoline this Year Compared to 2013

  • AAA estimates that Americans saved about $14 billion on gasoline this year compared to 2013, based on monthly prices and consumption. U.S. households in 2014 saved an average of about $115 on gasoline compared to the previous year. The majority of these savings came during the last few months of 2014. Consumers saved an even larger $22 billion on gasoline compared to 2012.
  • “U.S. drivers ended the year on a high-note with gas prices plummeting over the last few months,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. ”Cheaper gas prices have helped to improve the economy by boosting both consumer confidence and disposable income.”
  • The annual average price of gasoline in 2014 was $3.34 per gallon, which was about 15 cents less than last year’s annual average of $3.49 per gallon. In other recent years, gas prices have averaged $3.60 (2012), $3.51 (2011) and $2.78 (2010).
  • The highest daily national average of the year was $3.70 per gallon on April 28, while the lowest was $2.26 per gallon on December 31.
  • The cheapest gas prices were in South Carolina for the third year in a row, which had an annual average of $3.10 per gallon. The next lowest annual averages included: Missouri ($3.11), Mississippi ($3.12), Tennessee ($3.13) and Arkansas ($3.14).
  • Hawaii had the most expensive gas prices in 2014 with an annual average of $4.16 per gallon. The next highest annual averages included: Alaska ($3.84), California ($3.75), Connecticut ($3.65) and New York ($3.65).

Gas Prices Have Dropped a Record-Breaking 97 Days in a Row

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2.26 per gallon, which is the lowest average since May 12, 2009. The national average price of gas has dropped for 97 consecutive days, which is the longest streak on record. Average gas prices have dropped every day since September 25 for a total of $1.09 per gallon.
  • The average price of gas has dropped below $2.00 per gallon in four states for the first time since 2009: Missouri ($1.897), Oklahoma ($1.959), Ohio ($1.988) and Indiana ($1.999). Seven additional states have average prices within a dime of that mark.
  • U.S. average gas prices have declined $1.44 per gallon (39 percent) since reaching a high of $3.70 per gallon on April 28.
    • The national average price of gas in December was $2.51 per gallon, which was the lowest monthly average since May 2009. The average in December 2013 was $3.26 per gallon. Consumers this month spent about $215 million per day less on gasoline compared to December 2013.
    • Today’s national average price of gas is $1.06 per gallon less than a year ago. Many drivers are saving $15-$30 every time they go to the gas station compared to a year ago.
  • The five states with the lowest average prices today include: Missouri ($1.897), Oklahoma ($1.959), Ohio ($1.988), Indiana ($1.999) and Michigan ($2.000). The five states with the highest prices today include: Hawaii ($3.518), Alaska ($3.061), New York ($2.785) Vermont ($2.703) and Connecticut ($2.672).

Gas Prices Likely to Remain Relatively Cheap throughout 2015

  • The national average price of gas may remain less than $3.00 per gallon in 2015. However, there are significant uncertainties regarding what may happen with crude oil costs next year, which makes it difficult to predict future gas prices.
  • “Next year promises to provide much bigger savings to consumers as long as crude oil remains relatively cheap,” continued Ash. “It would not be surprising for U.S. consumers to save $50-$75 billion on gasoline in 2015 if prices remain low.”
  • The national average price of gas may drop another 10 cents per gallon during the next two weeks as retail prices catch up with the steep declines in the cost of crude oil. Gasoline could drop even further if the cost of crude oil continues to fall.
  • There is significant uncertainty over the potential cost of crude oil in 2015. The market believes there is a global glut of crude oil and petroleum products due to rising North American production and lower than forecast demand overseas. In addition, Saudi Arabia has reportedly encouraged lower oil prices in order to better compete with U.S. shale oil production.
  • Abundant supplies could result in crude oil prices dropping even further during the first quarter of 2015. Nevertheless, lower prices could disrupt U.S. oil production by reducing profits, or it could increase instability in other oil producing countries. In addition, it is possible that the global economy could grow more strongly than expected, which would increase petroleum demand. These factors make it difficult to forecast both crude oil and gasoline prices for 2015.
  • If oil prices stabilize, then seasonal supply and demand factors for gasoline may yet again dominate. For example, gas prices may begin to increase within a month or so as refinery maintenance season begins. Gas prices typically rise about 30-50 cents per gallon during the spring refinery maintenance season due to decreased production and tighter supplies. During this period, it is possible that some states, particularly in the Northeast and West Coast, could see average prices rise back above $3.00 per gallon. Similarly, gas prices may rise in the summer due to strong demand as Americans take long road trips.

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, mgreen@national.aaa.com

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 29, 2014) Average gas prices in two states – Missouri ($1.93) and Oklahoma ($1.98) – have dropped below $2.00 per gallon for the first time since 2009. The national average has fallen 95 days in a row for a total of $1.06, and prices have plummeted $1.38 (nearly 40 percent) since the start of June. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.29 per gallon, and motorists are saving 11 cents per gallon compared to one week ago, 49 cents compared to one month ago and $1.02 per gallon compared to this same date last year. AAA estimates that drivers are saving more than $500 million per day each day compared to the highs in both the spring and summer.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

The average price at the pump is below $2.50 per gallon in more than two-thirds of all states (38). Drivers in the Midwest continue to pay the lowest averages in the nation, while the most expensive prices in the continental United States are in the Northeast continue to pay the highest averages in the continental U.S., led by New York ($2.81), Vermont ($2.74) and Connecticut ($2.69). Hawaii ($3.53) and Alaska ($3.09) remain the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline and are also the only two states with averages above $3.00 per gallon.

Consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are experiencing weekly savings of a nickel or more per gallon. The price at the pump is down by a dime or more in 25 states, and drivers in Michigan (-17 cents), Nebraska (-16 cents) and Ohio (-16 cents) are saving the most per gallon week-over-week.  Over the past two-weeks, the average price at the pump has tumbled 15 cents or more in every state and Washington, D.C. Half of the states have seen retail gas prices drop by a quarter or more over this same period, led by dramatic drops in the Midwest: Michigan (-41 cents), Indiana (-39 cents) and Ohio (-38 cents).

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The average price is 30 cents lower in every state compared to one month ago, and 19 states are posting savings of 50 cents or more per gallon. Drivers in four states are experiencing month-over-month declines of at least 75 cents: Michigan (-84 cents), Indiana (-77 cents), Ohio (-76 cents) and Idaho (-75 cents).

Yearly comparisons continue to reflect the most extreme savings in the average price of retail gasoline. Consumers in Indiana (-$1.39), Ohio (-$1.38) and Michigan (-$1.37) lead the way with the largest declines and are joined by 15 other states where the price is discounted by a dollar or more per gallon. Average prices are down by more than 50 cents per gallon in virtually every state and Washington, D.C. with the sole exception of Hawaii (-40 cents), the nation’s most expensive retail gasoline market.

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The global oil market remains in a state of perceived oversupply due to record production from the United States combined with lower than expected global demand. Despite falling crude prices, Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest exporter of petroleum, has reiterated the cartel’s intention to maintain current production levels and allow the market to self-correct. This move could put pressure on production with higher cost production areas, such as the United States, facing a market where low prices make production unprofitable. The ripple effects of prolonged low oil prices could also pose a challenge to countries whose economic stability is dependent on revenue from oil production. As has been the case in recent years in Egypt, Libya and Iran, this sort of geopolitical unrest can impact global supply and pressure oil prices higher on the threat of a disruption.

The impact of instability in oil producing nations was on display today, as crude prices posted gains to begin the morning following the escalation of violence in the Libyan port of Misurata. A fire caused by Libyan rebels is reported to have destroyed approximately two days of output from this OPEC-member country, and an additional six-million barrels stored at the port are also in jeopardy. This follows recent reports that Libyan production of crude oil has dropped by half over the last month due to fighting. Market watchers will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that production is not further impacted and violence does not spread to neighboring countries.

On Friday, at the close of formal trading, WTI closed down $1.11 per barrel at $54.73 per barrel on the NXMEX.

 

JulieHall

Busy year-end holidays will be marked by more travelers than ever on record

ORLANDO, Fla., (December 16, 2014) – AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. (AAA data dates back to 2001.) The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.

Highlights from 2014/2015 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast:

  • Holiday travel is expected to total 98.6 million, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million who traveled last year.
  • Travel volume for the year-end holidays will reach the highest peak recorded by AAA (since 2001).
  • Nearly 91 percent of all travelers (89.5 million) will celebrate the holidays with a road trip, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2013.
  • Air travel is forecast to grow one percent from 2013, with 5.7 million travelers taking to the skies.
  • Low gas prices continue to help boost disposable income this holiday season, with today’s national average price of gas at $2.53 per gallon, 70 cents less than a year ago.

Additional Resources

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will join with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President and Chief Operating Officer. “While the economy continues to improve at an uneven pace, it seems more Americans are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence, rather than looking back at the recession. This is helping to drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have seen for the year-end holidays.”

“Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2009,” continued Doney. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”

The calendar is having a positive effect on the number of travelers expected this year. This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.

With more than 90 percent of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA urges everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in eight of all licensed drivers who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

The survey also reveals 91 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 42 percent reporting that drunk drivers are a bigger problem today versus three years ago.  “Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving, especially during the holiday season, an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes,” said Doney.

AAA works year-round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

Today’s national average price of gasoline is at the lowest level in five years and 70 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 82 days in a row, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel.

Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year.

Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers

Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.

AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season

Between December 23 and January 4, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at AAA.com.

AAA offers 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 collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.

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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Year-End Travel Forecast can be found here.

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. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

 

Pump Prices Likely Below $2.50 by Christmas

December 15th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 15, 2014) Holiday cheer has come early for the motoring public, with the average for retail gasoline at its lowest level in more than five years. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.55 per gallon. The average price at the pump is more than a dime (-12 cents) less than one week ago and more than a quarter (-36 cents) less than a month ago. The national average is down 69 cents from this same date last year and has now dropped on 81 consecutive days for a total of 80 cents during this stretch. Motorists are paying $1.15 less than the peak 2014 price, which was $3.70 on April 8. AAA estimates drivers are saving more than $400 million dollars each day compared to the high prices paid earlier this year.

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The average price at the pump has fallen nearly 25 percent since the start of the year, and if the global price of crude continues to register new multiyear lows, these lower prices are likely to persist. Barring any unexpected spikes in global prices, or declines in domestic production, the price at the pump should remain relatively low approaching the New Year and into 2015.

Every state in the continental United States is posting an average price below the $3.00 per gallon benchmark. Hawaii ($3.70) and Alaska ($3.39), as is often the case, are the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline and of the lower 48 states drivers in the northeast are paying the most per gallon:  New York ($2.98), Connecticut ($2.90) and Washington, D.C. ($2.90). The nation’s least expensive markets are the Midwestern states of Missouri ($2.25) and Oklahoma ($2.29), closely followed by the Gulf Coast states of Texas ($2.33) and Mississippi ($2.33).

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The impact of falling global oil prices for consumers is abundantly clear in the retail gasoline market with prices lower nationwide on the week, month and year. The price at the pump is down by a nickel or more week-over-week in every state and Washington, D.C. Forty-one states are registering savings of a dime or more, and the most dramatic savings are in Idaho (-22 cents), Michigan (-20 cents), Ohio (-19 cents) and Indiana (-19 cents). Drivers in Michigan (-56 cents), Idaho (-54 cents) Indiana (-51 cents) and South Dakota (-50 cents) are saving the most on a month-over-month basis. The price in every state has dropped by twenty cents or more during this span.

Yearly comparisons continue to reflect even more extreme discounts at the pump, largely due to the price of crude setting new multi-year lows.  With the exception of Hawaii (-22 cents) and Alaska (-29 cents), the price at the pump is down in every state and Washington, D.C. by more than 35 cents versus this same date last year. Forty-two states are posting a discount of 50 cents or more per gallon year-over-year and drivers in 20 states are saving 70 cents or more. The largest savings are in Florida (-80 cents), Maine (-79 cents) and Kentucky (-79 cents).

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Concerns of sluggish global oil demand combined with abundant supply continue to leave global oil markets searching for a bottom. Just two months ago market watchers were divided on the likelihood that the prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) would fall below $80 per barrel. Last week, for the first time since 2009, the price of WTI dropped below $60. WTI is now approximately 40 percent cheaper than the start of the year and nearly 50 percent below the high in June ($107.26). The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continues to maintain production levels, and the cartel’s three biggest members are reportedly ramping up exports to Asia in an effort to sustain market share in that region. Reductions in global oil prices have ultimately meant a welcome savings at the pump for motorists; however sustained low prices could impact U.S. production, which is more expensive than its global counterparts. Market watchers are also beginning to consider the potential for geopolitical instability in countries that are heavily dependent on oil exports to balance their budgets, including Venezuela and Nigeria. WTI was down $2.14 to settle at $57.81 per barrel on Friday at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.

JulieHallImproving Economy Brings 1.9 Million More Travelers, Consumers Pay Lowest Thanksgiving Gas Prices in Five Years

Additional Resources

ORLANDO, Fla., (November 20, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 46.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007 and a 4.2 percent increase over 2013. Almost 90 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip and likely will enjoy the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 26 through Sunday, November 30.

Highlights from 2014 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast:

  • Thanksgiving holiday travel volume is expected to reach the highest level since 2007, with 46.3 million Americans taking a trip.
  • The 2014 forecast is 4.2 percent higher than the 44.4 million Americans who traveled last year and the greatest growth rate for any holiday since Independence Day 2012.
  • Road trippers likely will pay the lowest Thanksgiving price for fuel in five years. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.85 per gallon, which is 43 cents lower than the average price for Thanksgiving a year ago ($3.28 per gallon).
  • More than 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 percent increase from 39.6 million last year.
  • Air travel for Thanksgiving is expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies.
  • Travelers will encounter moderately higher prices with airfares one percent higher, mid-range hotels up eight percent and car rentals costing 10 percent more.
  • The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles roundtrip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.

“This year, more Americans will give thanks for the opportunity to travel to friends and family than any year since 2007,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President and Chief Operating Officer. “Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel.”

“Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans likely to pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2009. Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving,” continued Doney.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

The national price of gasoline has fallen below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, a welcome gift for travelers as they head into the busy holiday travel season. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers likely will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. More than 89 percent (41.3 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 4.3 percent increase from 2013.

Travel expenses rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase eight percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $154 per night compared to $142 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $114 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $55, 10 percent higher than last year. Airfares will only increase one percent, with an average discounted round-trip rate of $189 across 40 top domestic routes.

Most of travelers’ budgets go toward transportation, food and shopping

Travelers are expected to spend an average of $573 over the course of their holiday travels. Despite lower average gas prices, travelers are allocating 31 percent of their budgets to fuel transportation. Food and beverage and shopping will account for 22 percent and 20 percent of holiday travel budgets, respectively.

Travelers’ spending plans mirror their intended activities this Thanksgiving, with 70 percent of travelers reporting they will enjoy dining during their vacation and 59 percent will go shopping. Eighty-nine percent of travelers plan to spend time with friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA offers 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 collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.

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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast can be found here.

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. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Heather HunterSmiles, safety and scenery mark top contenders for publication cover fame

ORLANDO, Fla., (Aug. 26, 2014) Are you one of the many Americans who take your pets on vacation?  Whether your favorite fur ball prefers hiking, boating or some other pursuit, capture the fun and enter your best shot by November 30 for a chance to show off your pet in a big way.

For the seventh consecutive year, the AAA PetBook Photo Contest is sponsored by Best Western, which has more than 1,600 pet-friendly hotels worldwide. Photos are judged on the ability to convey the joys of traveling safely with pets, along with artistic qualities. “Pets who are naturally happy when on-the-go can make excellent photo subjects at scenic destinations,” said PetBook Product Manager Sara Demko. “The challenge is to combine all of the contest attributes — joy, safety and travel — in one clear, well-lit image.”

“When snapping photos or choosing one to enter, contest participants can improve their results by running through a quick checklist,” added Demko. “First, be sure to photograph pets from the front to show their facial features and emotions. Ensure they’re wearing appropriate harnesses or safety vests for the situation. Picture them in a vacation setting, and look for an angle that separates your pet’s coloring from the background. And make sure the lighting and resolution are strong enough to show details.” Tips, contest rules and entry forms are provided at AAA.com/PetBook, along with plenty of examples in the contest photo gallery.

First- and second-place contest winners grace the back cover and spine of Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook®, and more than 40 finalists are pictured inside the book. Winner and finalist photos are also showcased on the AAA.com/PetBook photo gallery — a virtual brag book for proud pet parents. Additional prizes include cash, pet treats, copies of the book and, for the first-place winner, a $150 Best Western Travel Card.

For everyone who travels with pets throughout the U.S. and Canada, The AAA PetBook is a must-have resource. The annually updated guide provides detailed listings — including pet policies, amenities and fees —for more than 13,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels, plus more than 800 pet-friendly campgrounds. Listings also include nearly 700 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated restaurants that welcome pets in outside dining areas. For recreation planning, the book lists national public lands and attractions that allow pets and 300 dog parks in popular travel destinations. Tips for first-time and seasoned pet travelers address packing suggestions, pet etiquette, border crossing and emergency vet clinics.

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is available at many AAA and CAA offices at discounted member prices and select bookstores with a cover price of $18.95. The current edition is also available in digital formats for popular tablets and e-readers through online booksellers at a suggested digital price of $9.99.

About AAA

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.

About Best Western International, Inc.

Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 68 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 20 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. In 2013, Best Western earned our highest level of brand recognition, including our fifth AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year award, second Compuware Best of the Web Gold award, fourth No. 1 ranking in Brand Keys Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index for midscale hotels and seventh TTG Asia Best Mid-range Hotel Brand. Forty-one percent of Best Western hotels worldwide won TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for customer satisfaction.

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit bestwestern.com.

Heather HunterLabor market improvements and positive consumer expectations drive 1.3 percent increase in holiday travelers

ORLANDO, Fla., (August 21, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013. Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1.

Highlights from 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.
  • Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Additional Resources

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” continued Doney.  “Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Most U.S. consumers are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. The current price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219, up from $214 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including cities, like the award-winning Las Vegas title, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android offers GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s 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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

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.

Yolanda Cade(HEATHROW, May 21, 2014) Today’s proposed fee-disclosure requirements from the U.S. Department of Transportation will lead to a better-informed traveling public and should enable travelers to better plan and budget for vacation travel.  AAA supports the proposed steps to increase fare transparency, which is essential regardless of where a customer chooses to purchase a ticket. Currently, fees for additional services are often difficult to determine when searching for airfares and as a result, many consumers are unable to understand the true cost of travel before purchasing a ticket.  As one of the largest leisure travel agencies in the United States, AAA supports the requirements. With the Memorial Day weekend approaching AAA is projecting that 2.6 million leisure travelers will take to the skies to kick off summer with a getaway. Those travelers provide a good reminder about the popularity of air travel and the importance of good information for consumers.

Heather HunterAAA projects more than 36 million Americans to travel for the holiday

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 16, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 36.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year.  Kicking off the summer driving season, more than eight in ten travelers will be driving to their destinations.  The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

Additional Resources

Highlights from 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Memorial Day holiday travel volume is expected to reach a new post-recession high with 36.1  million Americans taking a trip
  • The 2014 forecast is 2.6 percent higher than the ten-year historical average and the second highest travel volume since 2000
  • Eighty-eight percent of travelers (31.8 million) to travel by automobile, an increase from 31.4 million last year
  • Holiday air travel expected to increase from 2.4 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers
  • Travel by other modes of transportation including cruise, trains and buses will see the largest increase, up 6.5 percent (total 1.7 million travelers)
  • Travelers will encounter slightly higher prices with airfares six percent higher, mid-range hotels up two percent and car rentals costing one percent more

“As we enter into the summer travel season with warmer temperatures and tulips in bloom, thoughts of historic cold are still fresh in the minds of Americans in many parts of the country,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Chief Operating Officer. “The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”

In addition to seasonal rising temperatures, improvements in several key economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year. “As the economy continues to improve at a slow and steady pace consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and the employment outlook are trending up which is welcomed news for the travel industry,” continued Doney.

The unforgiving winter was a hindrance to economic growth at the beginning of the year but economic factors influenced by weather, such as car and home sales, appear to be resolving themselves now.  Indicative of the unusually harsh winter, AAA experienced an increase of nearly 12 percent in battery related calls this winter.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

AAA expects that most drivers will pay lower gas prices by Memorial Day weekend due to rising supplies. AAA expects holiday gas prices to be relatively similar or even slightly less than last year’s national Memorial Day average of $3.63 per gallon, though unexpected developments such as refinery problems or international events could result in higher costs. With many plans already made and budgets set, it is unlikely that gas prices will have a significant effect on travel plans compared to a year ago.

Travel expenses rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase just two percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $169 per night compared to $166 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen three percent with an average cost of $124 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $44, only one percent higher than last year. Airfares are experiencing the largest increase. The average round-trip, discounted fares for the top 40 U.S. routes have increased six percent to $227 from $215 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s 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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

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.

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