Posts Tagged ‘AAA Travel’

Gas Prices Rise for Second Straight Week

February 9th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, February 9, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased every day for two weeks for a total of 14 cents per gallon. Gas prices had previously dropped for a record 123 consecutive days before beginning to rise again on January 27.  Today’s price of $2.18 per gallon is 12 cents more than one week ago and three cents more than one month ago. While prices have moved higher recently, the national average remains significantly less expensive than one year ago when consumers were paying $1.11 more per gallon on average to refuel their vehicles.

February typically marks the start of seasonal refinery maintenance in preparation for the busy summer driving season. Refineries usually schedule maintenance during the first several months of the year when demand is relatively low, which can lead to decreased production and supplies.

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There is additional market uncertainty this week because approximately 5,200 members of the United Steelworkers union have walked off their jobs at refineries and chemical plants responsible for processing more than 10 percent of U.S. petroleum products. While this is the first nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries since 1980, the work stoppage is not expected to have a significant impact on production in the short-term because refineries continue to operate. While news of the strike has reportedly led to higher wholesale gasoline prices, abundant petroleum supplies may provide both refiners and unions with a chance to reach an agreement before there is a larger impact on consumers.

Five states are registering averages below $2 per gallon, representing 20 fewer than one week ago. Thirty-nine states are posting averages below $2.25 per gallon, and for the second week in a row motorists in Idaho ($1.89) are paying the least per gallon for retail gasoline. The Rocky Mountain states of Utah ($1.90) and Montana ($1.93) round out the nation’s least expensive markets. Hawaii ($3.05) is the only state posting an average above $3 per gallon, and is joined by California ($2.63), Alaska ($2.60), New York ($2.42) and Washington, D.C. ($2.41) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets.

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On the whole, consumers are paying a bit more to refuel their vehicles compared to one week ago. Week-over-week prices are higher in 48 states and Washington, D.C. Over this same period consumers in 32 states are paying a dime or more per gallon, with the largest increases experienced by drivers in Ohio (+19 cents), California (+18 cents), Minnesota (+17 cents) and Kansas (+16 cents). Hawaii (-6 cents) and Alaska (-4 cents) were the only two states to see price declines.

Two-week price comparisons also reflect increases in the average price for retail gasoline in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in 30 states are paying a dime or more per gallon at the pump over this span, led by the Midwestern states of Ohio (+35 cents), Illinois (+28 cents) and Michigan (+27 cents) where the price has increased by a more than a quarter per gallon over this period. The price at the pump has fallen in five states during the same span, with the biggest drops seen in Hawaii (-19 cents) and Alaska (-12 cents).

The majority of U.S. drivers are continuing to enjoy month-over-month savings. However, price comparisons are a bit more balanced than prior weeks with averages down in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Consumers in Hawaii (-38 cents), Alaska (-35 cents) and Vermont (-25 cents) are saving the most per gallon, and 16 states and Washington D.C. are registering discounts of more than a dime per gallon. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in 21 states are paying more at the pump. The price has jumped by a dime or more per gallon in 11 states versus one month ago,  with the largest increases in price seen in Michigan (+26 cents), Ohio (+23 cents) and Indiana (+23 cents).

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Motorists universally continue to experience yearly savings at the pump. With the exception of Nevada (-99 cents) and Hawaii (-98 cents), the price is down by $1 or more per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C. Drivers in three states: Connecticut (-$1.33), Maine (-$1.26) and Rhode Island (-$1.26) are saving more than $1.25 per gallon, which is 10 fewer states than last week’s report.

An oversupplied global market is expected to keep the price of crude relatively low for at least the first half of 2015. Nonetheless, the global market’s overall volatility is at a six-year high and prices have seesawed, often daily, in response to a number of factors that are putting pressure on the balance between supply and demand. High-cost production countries continue to reassess their overall production goals, and Saudi Arabia is currently maneuvering to protect its market share by adjusting prices to various countries, including Asia and the United States.

This past week WTI traded between the high $40s and low $50s, reflecting the global market’s volatility. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.21 to settle at $51.69 per barrel.

 

February Begins with Rising Gas Prices

February 2nd, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile

(WASHINGTON, February 2, 2015)

Gas Prices Increasing After Dropping to Lowest Levels Since 2009

  • U.S. average gas prices have increased seven days in a row for a total of two cents per gallon. Gas prices had declined a record 123 consecutive days to $2.03 per gallon before increasing last week for the first time since September 25.
  • “Many drivers are noticing an uptick in gas prices for the first time in months,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is typical to see gas prices increase this time of year due to refinery issues, yet hopefully the consumer impact will be less problematic given how low prices are today.”
  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2.06 per gallon, which is about $1.22 per gallon less than a year ago. AAA estimates that Americans are spending about $365 million less per day on gasoline compared to this time last year.
  • The national average price of gas reached a current 2015 low on January 26 of $2.03 per gallon, which was the lowest average since March 27, 2009.
  • Gas prices have dropped about $1.64 per gallon since reaching a national average of $3.70 per gallon on April 28, 2014.
  • The average price of gas in January was $2.11 per gallon, which was the cheapest monthly average since April 2009. Gas prices in December 2014 averaged a much higher $2.51 per gallon, while the average was $3.30 per gallon in January 2014.
  • Gas prices have increased due to a combination of refinery issues and more stable crude oil costs. Refinery maintenance season is beginning and there also have been a number of refinery upsets, which can limit production. In addition, crude oil prices have stabilized, which has prevented any further declines in the price of gasoline.
  • Average gas prices had dropped to nearly $2 per gallon due to the steep decline in the cost of crude oil during the previous six month. Domestic crude oil prices (WTI) have fallen by more than half since June due to abundant supplies. U.S. oil production has increased by more than 70 percent since 2008, and this increase in production has helped to outstrip global demand, especially as economic concerns mount in both Asia and Europe.
  • Gas prices generally are at or near seasonal lows in January due to relatively weak demand. Many Americans cut back on driving and travel during the cold winter months, which can allow gasoline supplies to build.

Consumers Likely to See Gas Prices Continue Rising in February

  • AAA expects gas prices to increase this month due to refinery maintenance and decreased production. It is not uncommon for gas prices to increase 30-50 cents per gallon between early February and the middle of spring. Gas prices in February have increased during the previous five years by an average of 22 cents per gallon.
  • “It is a good bet that most drivers will pay more for gasoline in March than today,” continued Ash. “Yet even if gas prices increase as expected, drivers should continue paying at least a dollar less on gasoline than what they spent in recent years during the spring.”
  • Gas prices should remain less expensive than in recent years due to lower crude oil costs. AAA does not expect the national average price of gas to rise above $3 per gallon in 2015.
  • It is possible that gas prices could rise more slowly or even drop if there are further significant declines in the cost of crude oil. At this point, the crude oil market remains very volatile and it is possible that crude oil supplies could build further during refinery maintenance season. A significant reduction in crude oil prices could limit any prices increases due to refinery maintenance.
  • Many refineries conduct maintenance and upgrades in the spring to prepare equipment for the busy summer driving season. This maintenance can reduce gasoline production at a time when both driving and gasoline demand rises as the weather improves.

More than Half of U.S. Stations Selling Gas for Less than $2 per Gallon

  • Gas prices remain relatively cheap across the country with more than half (52 percent) of U.S. stations selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today. The most common price in the country is $1.999 per gallon. More than 6 in 10 stations were selling gas for less than $2 per gallon a week ago.
  • Drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in every state within the continental United States. No stations in Alaska or Hawaii have reached that mark.
  • The five states with the lowest average prices today include: Idaho ($1.85), Texas ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.87), South Carolina ($1.87) and Utah ($1.87). The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($3.11), Alaska ($2.64), California ($2.45), New York ($2.39) and Vermont ($2.30).
  • Twenty-five states have an average gas price below $2 per gallon, though this number has decreased from 28 states last week.

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.

After 123-Day Slide, Gas Prices Turn Higher

February 2nd, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, February 2, 2015) After falling a record 123 consecutive days, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline inched upward on Tuesday, Jan. 27 by fractions of a penny. Today’s price of $2.06 per gallon represents a total increase of two cents per gallon since once week ago, but remains 16 cents less than one month ago and $1.22 less than one year ago.

Gas prices have begun to increase due to a series of refinery issues in the Midwest and because crude oil prices are trading at more stable levels following a multi-month selloff.

Similar to years past, the national average is expected to rise in the coming months due to the seasonal demand increase and refinery maintenance. However, global oil prices continue to register multi-year lows with supply outpacing demand, and barring any events that cause the global price to increase substantially, AAA expects that the U.S. average will remain below $3 per gallon throughout 2015.

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Increasing prices are reflected across the country with 25 states registering averages below $2 per gallon, which is down three states from last week’s report. Idaho ($1.85) is joined by Texas ($1.87) and Oklahoma ($1.87) as the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline. Hawaii ($3.11) remains the only state posting an average above $3 per gallon, followed by Alaska ($2.64), California ($2.45), Washington, D.C. ($2.39) and New York ($2.39) as the top five most expensive markets.

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Weekly price comparisons are a bit more balanced than prior weeks, largely due to prices beginning to rise in a number of states. Motorists in 27 states and Washington, D.C. are saving at the pump. Hawaii (-13 cents) is the only state posting a double-digit savings week-over-week, and the price is down by a nickel or more in a total of three states including Alaska (-8 cents) and Vermont (-5 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in 23 states are paying a bit more to refuel their vehicles over the past week. The largest price increases are in the Midwestern states of Ohio (+15 cents), Michigan (+14 cents) and Illinois (+13 cents), where refinery issues are keeping upward pressure on the price at the pump. A total of 10 states have seen the price creep a nickel higher or more since one week ago.

The majority of consumers in the U.S. are still enjoying month-over-month savings, with the exception of Indiana (+23 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+12 cents) and Illinois (+1 cent) where the price has moved higher. The average price has dropped in 46 states and Washington, D.C., over this same period and motorists in Wyoming (-43 cents), Utah (-40 cents) and Hawaii (-38 cents) are saving the most per gallon. Thirty-nine states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than a dime and 21 states are posting monthly savings of a quarter or more per gallon.

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Year-over-year calculations continue to reflect the most dramatic savings in the price of retail gasoline. With the exception of Hawaii (-91 cents), drivers every state and Washington, D.C. are saving at least $1 per gallon at the pump. Connecticut (-$1.38), Maine (-$1.37), Rhode Island (-$1.35) and Arizona     (-$1.33) are registering the largest savings over this period, joined by 10 additional states where the price at the pump is discounted by $1.25 or more per gallon.

Global oil prices are expected to remain relatively low during the first half of 2015, largely due to OPEC’s paradigm-shifting decision not to support higher oil prices by cutting production. Saudi Arabia, a key player in the decision and OPEC’s largest producer, is well positioned to weather the current volatility due to low production costs and a significant amount of savings accumulated during years of relatively high crude prices.

The ripple effects of sharply lower prices for crude are beginning to surface in both high-cost production countries as well as in producer nations that depend on oil revenue to balance budgets and provide social services to citizens. Production companies around the globe are challenged with the decision of either cutting investments or continuing to supply the market at dramatically lower profit margins. Reports have begun that some of these higher cost production projects are already opting to scale back investments and near-term spending, which could put some upward pressure on the global market for crude oil.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up $3.71 to settle at $48.24 per barrel, which was the highest settlement in about two weeks.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, January 26, 2015) The national average continues to march toward $2.00 per gallon and has fallen for a record 123 consecutive days, for a total savings of $1.31 per gallon. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.03 per gallon. Motorists are paying three cents less than one week ago, 27 cents less than one month ago and saving $1.25 per gallon in comparison to this same date last year. While the streak of daily declines in the national averages continues, the rate of decline has slowed in recent days. After dropping for an average of more than a penny a day for the first 16 days of 2015, the average drop over the past ten days has been just half a penny. This slowing decline has been largely reflective of a number of Midwestern states where prices have moved higher over the past week due to a series of refinery issues in the region.

The Northeast is bracing for a major winter storm that could dump up to three feet of snow on parts of the region. While a snowfall such as this might pressure gasoline prices immediately higher on distribution concerns, the longer term impact is expected to be downward pressure on pump prices from lower demand, as drivers stay off the roads. However, increased demand for diesel fuel, which is also used to heat homes and power generators during electricity outages, would be expected to pressure diesel prices higher during the duration of the storm’s impact.

The falling prices at the pump are a product of global oil prices tumbling to multi-year lows. While gas prices are likely to increase this spring due to seasonal demand and maintenance, barring any major increase in the global price of crude, AAA expects the national average to remain below $3 per gallon during 2015.

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Hawaii ($3.24) remains the only state posting an average price for retail gasoline above $3 per gallon, and is joined by Alaska ($2.72) as the only two states with averages above $2.50 per gallon. California ($2.45), New York ($2.43) and Washington, D.C. ($2.41) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets. Twenty-eight states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, with the lowest prices in Missouri ($1.78), Oklahoma ($1.81), Kansas ($1.83), Texas ($1.84) and New Mexico ($1.85).

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As outlined above, the trend of falling weekly averages is beginning to ease. While 40 states and Washington, D.C. are registering savings over the past seven days, drivers in ten states are paying a bit more at the pump over the same period. Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. are posting savings of a nickel or more, and two states Ohio (-10 cents) and  Alaska (-10 cents) are reflecting double-digit savings. The largest increases over this span are the Midwestern states of Indiana (+10 cents) and Michigan (+5 cents).

Virtually all drivers in the U.S. are continuing to experience savings at the pump compared to one month ago. The only state bucking this trend is Indiana, where the price has inched upward by fractions of a penny versus one month ago due to regional production issues.  With the exception of Kentucky (-5 cents), averages are down in every other state and Washington, D.C. by more than one dime per gallon month-over-month. Wyoming (-51 cents), Utah (-51 cents), Rhode Island (-43 cents) and Connecticut (-43 cents) are posting the largest discounts over this period, and an additional 35 states and Washington, D.C. are posting discounts of a quarter or more per gallon.

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Yearly comparisons continue to reflect the most dramatic discounts, largely due to multi-month declines in the price of retail gasoline. Alaska (-92 cents) and Hawaii (-77 cents), the nation’s most expensive retail markets, are the only two states not posting yearly discounts of at least $1 per gallon.  A total of 24 states are registering savings of $1.25 or more per gallon year-over-year, with the sharpest declines in Ohio (-$1.39), Illinois (-$1.37) and Connecticut (-$1.37).

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah caused the global oil markets to slightly rally this past week on rumors that OPEC’s largest producer could possibly reassess its production levels and potentially decrease the current glut in global oil supply. King Abdullah’s successor, Crown Prince Salman, calmed the market by deciding to keep the current oil minister in his position and signaling no plans to change the country’s current production plans. By sustaining its current production levels, the resiliency of high-cost production countries like the U.S. and Canada will continue to be tested as the market is left to self-regulate at price levels that have not been seen in more than half a decade.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 72 cents, settling at $45.59 per barrel – its lowest price in six years.

National Average Eyes $2 per Gallon

January 20th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, January 20, 2015) U.S. motorists are paying the lowest average gas prices since April 2009, and the national average is likely to slide below $2 per gallon before the end of the month. The average price at the pump has dropped a record 117 consecutive days, for a total a savings of $1.29 per gallon during this stretch. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.05 per gallon. Today’s price is six cents less than one week ago, 36 cents less than one month ago and $1.23 less than one year ago.

The average price at the pump is directly connected to the global price of crude oil, with crude costs accounting for more than half of the price of gasoline. Like pump prices, crude oil prices have also posted multi-year lows due to global supply outpacing demand, which has kept downward pressure on the price of crude and ultimately meant hefty discounts in retail gasoline for U.S. drivers.  AAA expects the national average to remain below $3 per gallon in 2015, barring any major fluctuations in the global price of crude.

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Drivers in 25 states are paying averages below $2 per gallon; up from 18 one week ago. For the second week in a row the midcontinent region features the nation’s least expensive states for retail gasoline, led by:  Missouri ($1.76), Oklahoma ($1.80) and Kansas ($1.81). Hawaii ($3.31) remains the only state with an average above $3 per gallon, and is joined by Alaska ($2.82) and New York ($2.50) as the nation’s only states posting averages above $2.50 per gallon.

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Retail averages across the country continued to march lower over the past seven days, with consumers in Wyoming (-13 cents), Connecticut (-12 cents) and Washington (-12 cents) experiencing the largest weekly savings. Averages are down in 48 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week, with 38 states and Washington, D.C. registering savings of a nickel or more per gallon. The only states to buck this trend are the Midwestern states of Ohio (+2 cents) and Minnesota (+2 cents) where prices have risen slightly versus this time last week. Two-week comparisons follow the same trend, with only drivers in Ohio (+8 cents) paying more during this span. Motorists in Wyoming (-28 cents), Utah (-26 cents) and Connecticut (-24 cents) are seeing the largest discounts over this period, joined by 11 additional states where the price is reduced by 20 cents or more in comparison to two weeks ago. Drivers in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are saving at least a dime per gallon at the pump over this same span.

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Monthly and yearly comparisons continue to reflect that U.S. motorists are universally experiencing savings at the pump. The largest month-over-month discounts are seen in the Mountain States of Utah (-60 cents), Wyoming (-56 cents) and Idaho (-54 cents), and a total of 47 states and Washington, D.C. are posting discounts of one quarter or more. Multi-month declines in the price of retail gasoline continue to dramatically impact yearly price comparisons. Drivers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than $1 per gallon, while only the nation’s most expensive markets Hawaii (-69 cents) and Alaska (-83 cents) are outside of this trend. The steepest declines are in Illinois (-$1.37), Michigan (-$1.36) and Maine (-$1.34), which are joined by 15 other states registering savings of at least $1.25 per gallon versus one year ago.

While increased seasonal demand and maintenance at refineries may result in a typical 30-50-cent increase in pump prices this spring, a major global price recovery is unlikely to be the horizon, absent any major market disruptions or geopolitical events. These sustained lower prices would be a result of projected shifts in the balance between global oil supply and demand. This shift has been keyed by increased crude oil production in the United States and Canada and was accelerated by OPEC’s decision this fall to sustain production levels despite declines in the price of crude by electing to allow the market to self-regulate. By not continuing its traditional role as a market stabilizer and adjusting production to sustain higher prices, OPEC has put pressure on high-cost, oil-production countries like the United States and Canada. Both countries are reportedly starting to respond by easing domestic production forecasts and trimming operations and administrative costs. Crude prices are less than half of what they were six months ago, and sustained low prices will also continue to test the resiliency of countries that rely on oil revenue to fund government services.

The spread between Brent Crude and WTI continues to narrow, and stood at $1.48 a barrel at the close of formal trading on Friday. Less than one year ago WTI was trading at discount of $10 per barrel and the last time Brent fell below WTI was in 2010. WTI closed up $2.44 a barrel at $48.69 at the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

JulieHallUltra-luxury establishments redefine personalized service with new technology and custom experiences

ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 16, 2015) – AAA has unveiled 121 hotels and 63 restaurants that have earned the AAA/CAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for the 2015 Five Diamond Award lists. This exclusive group represents just 0.3 percent of the more than 58,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants.

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AAA inspectors collectively visit approximately 1,200 hotels and restaurants each week, allowing them to identify emerging trends in the industry. “At the ultra-luxury level we’re seeing an increasing number of hotels offering guests the choice of high-end service by white glove or touch screen — in person or electronically,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “They’re complementing personal delivery with technology options such as in-room iPads and TV menus for ordering and scheduling services, apps for accessing newspapers and local reservations, mobile check-in and text alerts when their room is ready. Some Five Diamond hotels even place a TV within the bathroom mirror to complete guests’ high-tech stay.”

Of note among the new additions to the 2015 list is the Orlando area’s only Five Diamond hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, marked by numerous upscale service options. Each room is equipped with an iPad that serves as the radio, resort map, event guide and newspaper, as well as a Bose Bluetooth speaker system and high-tech keypads that control lighting, air temperature and even guests’ request for privacy. For additional custom luxury, guests can create their own fragrance at the spa’s Aroma Design Bar. At the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, the guest room drapes, bedside lighting and air-conditioning system are all electronically controlled by the guest. In-room iPads are available to order room service, call housekeeping or contact the 24-hour concierge.

The best high-end restaurants are fast becoming international destinations by providing a unique dining experience in which the selection and enjoyment of exceptional food is also an educational event. Typically, Five Diamond restaurants are ahead of trends in farm-to-table and super-local food sourcing.  Directed by artistic whims, the chef creates solid, lifelong relationships with farmers, purveyors and producers who can deliver the finest ingredients, whether it’s coffee, olive oil or artisan cheeses.

At the Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Washington, Va., for example, AAA’s longest tenured Five Diamond restaurant, Chef Patrick O’Connell uses as many local ingredients and foods as possible, along with bounty from his own garden, applying masterful techniques to create captivating results. At Eleven Madison Park in New York City, diners are invited to build their dinner around specific ingredients instead of predetermined recipes. But it’s the service experience that shines brightest as guests are pampered in a manner that is intimate yet relaxed. With personalized service or surprising insight, each staff member adds a special touch to the guest’s dining experience, creating a powerful, memorable event.

New Five Diamond Hotels (8):

Four Seasons Hotel Denver – Denver, Colo.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Grand Luxxe – Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
One&Only Palmilla – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico
Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa – Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Shangri-La Hotel – Toronto, Ontario
The Langham, Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

New Five Diamond Restaurants (6):

Le Chique – Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio
Palme d’Or – Coral Gables, Fla.
Passion by Martin Berasategui – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Saison – San Francisco, Calif.
Twist – Las Vegas, Nev.

“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment and a point of great pride for these top hotels and restaurants,” said Petrone. “Five Diamond establishments stand apart by redefining personalized service, using creativity to enhance guest comfort and providing memorable experiences.” Candidates for the rating undergo multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts. Inspectors meticulously evaluate guest services and physical attributes, closely examining the level of competence, refinement and hospitality, from reservations to checkout for hotels and from seating to presentation for restaurants.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete Five Diamond hotel and restaurant lists, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

About AAA Inspections

For 79 years AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property inspections. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA trip planning products: the AAA Mobile® app for tablets and smartphones, the desktop and mobile versions of the TripTik® Travel Planner  online mapping and routing tool, searchable Travel Guides on AAA.com and AAA TourBook® guides available to members at AAA/CAA offices.

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.

 

Images provided for media download and use with the above release.
Additional photos available upon request.

 

Hotel Images

Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa – Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

 

Four Seasons Hotel Denver – Denver, Colo.

 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

 

The Langham, Chicago – Chicago, Ill.

 

Shangri-La Hotel – Toronto, Ontario

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

 

One&Only Palmilla – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

 

Grand Luxxe – Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

 

Restaurant Images

Saison – San Francisco, Calif.

 

Palme d’Or – Coral Gables, Fla.

 

Twist – Las Vegas, Nev.

 

Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Passion by Martin Berasategui – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

 

Le Chique – Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Gas Prices Keep Tumbling to Begin New Year

January 12th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON – January 12, 2015) U.S. motorists are paying an average price at the pump today ($2.13 per gallon) that is more than forty percent lower than the 2014 peak of $3.70 reached on April 28. The national average continues to test lows not seen since May 2009 and has now dropped a record 109 consecutive days for a total decline of $1.22 per gallon during this span. Today’s price is seven cents less than one week ago, 45 cents less than one month ago and $1.18 less than one year ago. Barring any major increases in the global price of crude oil, AAA expects the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline to remain below $3.00 per gallon in 2015.

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Motorists in 11 more states saw their average price at the pump drop below $2 per gallon over the past week, bringing the total number of states below this threshold to 18. This number could rise to 25 by the end of next week given current trends. The average price at the pump is more than $2.50 per gallon in just five states and Washington, D.C. The nation’s least expensive markets continue to be in the mid-continent, with consumers in Missouri ($1.77), Oklahoma ($1.82) and Kansas $(1.84) paying the country’s lowest averages at the pump. For the second week in a row, Hawaii ($3.42) is the only state with an average above $3.00 per gallon, followed by Alaska ($2.93), New York ($2.62), California ($2.60) and Washington, D.C. ($2.57) as the most expensive markets.

Week-over-week the average price is down in 47 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest savings in Montana (-16 cents), Utah (-16 cents), North Dakota (-15 cents) and Wyoming (-14 cents).  The price is down by a nickel or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C., and 17 states are posting discounts of a dime or more over this same period. While prices in three Midwestern states have increased over the past week, these same states still boast among the largest month-over-month declines in the nation: Indiana (+7 cents week-over-week, -48 cents month-over-month), Ohio (+7 cents week-over-week, -49 cents month-over-month) and Michigan (+4 cents week-over-week, -58 cents month-over-month).

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The average price at the pump is down month-over-month in every state and Washington, D.C. Motorists in Idaho (-71 cents), Utah (-64 cents), Montana (-63 cents) and Wyoming (-62 cents) are enjoying the largest savings during this period, and drivers in a total of 17 states are posting discounts of 50 cents or more. Even consumers in the nation’s most expensive markets are seeing marked savings over this period, with discounts of more than a quarter in Hawaii (-30 cents), California (-30 cents) and Washington, D.C. (-34 cents).

Yearly comparisons continue to show the largest discounts and highlight the magnitude of the unprecedented multi-month decline in the gas prices. The most extreme year-over-year price drops have been in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-$1.45), Ohio (-$1.43), Indiana (-$1.40) and Illinois (-$1.31).  With the exception of the nation’s most expensive market, Hawaii (-59 cent), the price at the pump is down by at least 70 cents per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C. from this date last year. Drivers are saving more than $1.00 per gallon in 43 states and Washington, D.C., and nine states are registering discounts of $1.25 or more over this same period.

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The dramatic slide in retail gas prices has been driven by a similar plummet in global crude oil prices since the end of the summer. This decline in the price of oil has been a product of weak demand combined with abundant supply. While lower gas prices are certainly a welcome relief for consumers, the broad impact of sustained low oil prices are front of mind for many industry stakeholders. In countries like the United States where the cost of oil extraction is more expensive, producers may be forced to reassess their plans to factor in profit margins that are sharply lower or even reversed as markets continue to register multi-year lows. Additionally, countries that rely heavily on oil revenues to fund government services may find themselves in situations where reductions to social programs are necessary, which could lead to civil unrest. Either of these dynamics has the potential to put upward pressure on prices.

The global price of crude has lost more than half its value since mid-2014. OPEC has reiterated that it will not intervene in the market to force prices higher and plans to sustain its current production levels, with the earliest possibility for supply reductions reportedly pushed to their next meeting scheduled for June. Sustained low prices for crude can also potentially influence the way global markets are assessed. Last week, the spread between WTI and Brent narrowed to approximately $1.75 per barrel and market watchers are even speculating whether the price of Brent will fall below WTI. Brent has not been priced below WTI since 2010, and less than a year ago it was trading at a more than $10 premium per barrel.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed up by more than $1.00 at $48.36 per barrel.

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.

Top10 2-Week Declines-12-29-14

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.

 

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