Posts Tagged ‘AAA Travel’

Tamra JohnsonThe national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased for 12 of the past 14 days, reaching today’s price of $2.26 per gallon. Today’s average price is 3 cents more than one week ago, 8 cents more than one month ago and 6 cents less than one year ago.

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Over the weekend, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina saw the arrival of Hurricane Matthew and residents in those areas expressed significant concerns about the availability of gasoline leading up to and following the storm. Ports and fuel terminals in all three states were closed ahead of the storm. Fortunately, there were no refineries threatened by the path of the storm and by Friday afternoon many ports in southern Florida were already cleared by the Coast Guard and open to receive vessels.

Many coastal ports are expected to reopen on Monday, allowing waterborne deliveries of gasoline to continue. Barring any delays due to flooding and power outages, tanker trucks should be able to access terminals and quickly resupply stations across the impacted areas.

Quick Stats

  • The West Coast continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states where drivers are paying $2.50 or more on average: Hawaii ($2.84), California ($2.79) Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.64), Oregon ($2.52) and Nevada ($2.50).
  • The states with the largest increases this week are Indiana (+11 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), Missouri (+8 cents), West Virginia (+8 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), Illinois (+6 cents) and Florida (+6 cents).

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West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also among the only motorists who have seen prices remain steady over the past week. Alaska ($2.63), Washington ($2.71), California ($2.79), Nevada ($2.50) and Oregon ($2.52) all land on the list of smallest weekly changes. The West Coast transition to winter specification gasoline will take place in about two weeks. Supply in the region is already being impacted as many refiners begin maintenance for the switch, including some very large-scale turnaround work at Chevron’s Richmond, Calif., refinery.

Rockies

Prices in the Rocky Mountains remain relatively stable compared to other markets. This is primarily due to limited disruptions to regional production in the past months and their geographic location in the center of the country, which helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Barring any unforeseen production issues, drivers should see prices continue to move lower as we move into the winter driving season.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region saw significant increases over the past week. Regional prices remain impacted by two factors – seasonal refinery work at key plants like BP’s 430,000-b/d Whiting refinery and replenishment of inventory lost last month, when product had to be moved from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to assist states in the Southeast impacted by problems on the Colonial Pipeline. While prices in recent weeks have been a mixed bag of increases and decreases, regional prices over the past week have moved universally higher, with five Midwestern states making the list of top increases: Indiana (+11 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), Missouri (+8 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), Illinois (+6 cents).

The Central United States has some of the cheapest prices in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Four states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Arkansas ($2.05), Missouri ($2.07), Oklahoma ($2.07) and Tennessee ($2.14).

Top10 Largest Increases 10-10-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While still largely cheaper than one month ago, prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have moved higher over the past week which can likely be attributed to Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the Southeast region. Increases have been most evident in the Mid-Atlantic, where two states and D.C. made the list of top-15 largest weekly increases: District of Columbia (+5 cents), New Jersey (+4 cents), and Pennsylvania (+4 cents).

South and Southeast

Hurricane Matthew caused prices to jump in some parts of the region, with Florida (+6 cents) and North Carolina (+4 cents) both landing on the list of top-15 weekly increases. The Hurricane caused supply issues at many gas stations last week as evacuation notices resulted in closed ports and terminals. Without access to local terminals, many gas stations could not handle the high demand of drivers preparing for the hurricane. Despite the issues, gasoline supplies in the Southeast region remain plentiful. Hurricane Matthew was expected to have much more impact on demand and less on supply. On Friday afternoon, ports in Miami, Key West and Port Canaveral were already reopened to vessel traffic. Barring any delays due to flooding and power outages, tanker trucks should be able to access terminals and resupply stations across the impacted areas.

Refiners in the Gulf Coast are preparing to meet fall demand but reports from OPIS indicate that refineries in Big Spring and Pasadena, Texas had maintenance issues last week which impacted supplies and caused increases in some states.

Oil Market Dynamics

Attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will alter production in order to influence prices higher. OPEC members are scheduled to have a number of meetings before the end of November in order to identify the details of an output agreement, which has supported the bearish sentiment for crude oil over the past week. Traders will keep a close eye on OPEC negotiations moving forward and will be on the lookout for an oil production framework. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 63 cents to settle at $49.81 per barrel.

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

Tamra JohnsonPump prices have climbed higher as compared to the previous week, even though many states have switched over to winter blend gasoline and there remain abundant crude oil supplies. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline moved higher each of the past seven days reaching today’s average of $2.22 per gallon. Today’s average price is two cents more than one week ago and 1 cent more than one month ago. Despite the slight rise in pump prices, drivers continue to experience year-over-year savings with today’s average price about 7 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

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The national average has been relatively flat since September 3, and drivers in 21 states are paying less at the pump week-over-week. While national prices have been steady, pump prices in some regions have moved dramatically over this same period, largely due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline and refinery maintenance. As recently as last week, gas prices jumped in the Midwest as a result of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance at BP’s Whiting refinery impacting supply in the region. Drivers may continue to see pump prices wobble higher or lower in the next few weeks as the market reacts to the OPEC production agreement, continued refinery maintenance and a possible hurricane along the East Coast.

Quick stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in three states today including: New Jersey ($1.98), Texas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.99).
  • The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Ohio (+14), Kentucky (+10), Indiana (+9), Louisiana (+5), Michigan (+5), Texas (+4), Illinois (+4), Iowa (+4), Arkansas (+4) Mississippi (+3).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-10-3-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast continues to lead the nation, with the top six most expensive states located in the region: Hawaii ($2.81), California ($2.79), Washington ($2.71), Alaska ($2.63), Oregon ($2.52) and Nevada ($2.50). Recent reports from OPIS show gasoline supplies are slightly down from last week and production could continue to fall over the next few weeks as refineries move into their planned fall maintenance season.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain states are relatively steady, moving by only +/- 3 cents on the week. Wyoming (-6 cents) is the only state posting a savings of a nickel or more on the month. Gas prices in the region are below the $2.50 per gallon benchmark, and some states are also seeing significant year-over-year savings with two making the list of top ten biggest yearly discounts: Utah (-38 cents), Wyoming (-35 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. Drivers saw significant increases over the past week with four states in the region landing on the top ten list of biggest weekly increases: Ohio (+14 cents), Indiana (+9 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Illinois (+4 cents). The jump in price can likely be attributed to issues at BP’s Whiting refinery located in northwest Indiana. According to recent reports from OPIS, the refinery is still undergoing planned turnaround and unplanned maintenance related to problems with its largest crude distillation unit. The refinery is capable of producing 430,000 barrels of refined product per day, and the maintenance problems have created a noticeable impact on supply in the region.

Prices in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country with three states in the region featured in the top 10 lowest: Missouri ($1.99), Oklahoma ($2.05) and Kansas ($2.06).

Top10 Largest Weekly Increases 10-3-16-01

South and Southeast

Drivers are getting some relief from last month’s price spikes that resulted from problems on the Colonial Pipeline. Georgia (-4 cents) tops the list of largest weekly decreases with North Carolina (-3 cents), Tennessee (-3 cents) and South Carolina (-3 cents) also making the top 10. According to recent reports from OPIS, Colonial Pipeline has identified the location of the gasoline leak on Line 1 and is in the process of removing the impacted segment of the line. Once removed, the segment will be sent to an independent laboratory for analysis.

On September 21, Colonial Pipeline restarted full operations on Line 1 with the help of a 500-foot bypass. Gasoline deliveries are slowly reaching Southeast terminals and OPIS reports that it may take between one to two weeks for supply in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions to return to normal. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Northeast prices have remained steady with most states in the region landing on the list of top 15 smallest monthly changes. Price averages in the region have moved a penny or less over the past month.

Pump prices in most Mid-Atlantic states are starting to recover from unseasonal increases resulting from problems on the Colonial Pipeline last month with Delaware (-4 cents) and Maryland (-2 cents) both being featured on the top 10 list of biggest weekly discounts.

Oil Market Dynamics

Crude oil futures traded higher Monday morning following OPEC’s announcement that it had agreed to limit its oil production. OPEC has provided few details of the agreement or how it will implement the production freeze, but members will be meeting again on November 30. Traders will continue to watch for additional announcements from OPEC and will keep an eye on discussions surrounding the upcoming meeting. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 41 cents to settle at $48.24 per barrel.

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

 

 

 

Tamra JohnsonThe national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable over the past week, settling at today’s price of $2.21 per gallon. Drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and 8 cents less per gallon year-over-year. Although today’s average remains flat compared to one week ago, pump prices have been pressured higher in some regions due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline.

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Drivers in a number of states (25) are paying less at the pump week-over-week, although some volatility remains in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions where gasoline prices continued to see upward momentum as a result of the Colonial Pipeline disruption. Line 1 operations were restored on Wednesday of last week after more than a week of downtime following the discovery of a leak. While delivery of fuel resumed, it may take a week before affected states see any relief at the pumps.

Quick stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in five states today including Texas ($1.95), Arkansas ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.99), Louisiana ($1.99), and New Jersey ($1.99).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($2.81), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.62), Alaska ($2.62), Oregon ($2.53), Nevada ($2.50), Idaho ($2.43), D.C. ($2.38), Montana ($2.37) and Georgia ($2.35).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-26-16-01

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained relatively stable compared to other markets. There has been limited disruption to production in recent months and geographic location helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Drivers in four states are enjoying small weekly discounts: Wyoming (-3 cents), Idaho (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), North Dakota (-1 cent). Some parts of the region are also seeing significant year-over-year savings with three states making the list of top ten biggest yearly discounts: Utah (-41 cents), Wyoming (-38 cents), Idaho (-26 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. The fluctuating prices can likely be attributed to the transport of gasoline to the southeast due to issues on the Colonial Pipeline. OPIS reports that during the pipeline disruption, large quantities of Midwest product was transported to Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina in order to mitigate supply outages. As Line 1 begins pushing supply to impacted areas, many states that saw increases early in the month are beginning to see significant weekly discounts: Ohio (-10 cents), Indiana (-8 cents) and Michigan (-7 cents).

Prices for drivers in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Two states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Missouri ($2.01) and Oklahoma ($2.03).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in most of the Northeast have remained relatively steady over the past week, a large contrast to the spikes seen in much of the Mid-Atlantic region as a result of problems on the Colonial Pipeline: Virginia (+9 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Delaware (+4 cents). States in the region suffering from tighter supplies and rising prices should begin to see some relief in the coming weeks. The completion of a bypass on Line 1 of the pipeline last Wednesday has allowed product to begin moving to impacted states, although OPIS reports that many marketers are warning that supply will still be touch-and-go through the remainder of the month.

South and Southeast

Issues on the Colonial Pipeline pressured prices higher in much of the Southeast with the most impacted states topping the nation’s list of largest weekly increases: Alabama (+8 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents), North Carolina (+5 cents), Georgia (+3 cents). The pipeline issues have also caused Georgia to make an unusual showing on the list of most expensive markets in the country, with an average price of $2.35. Recent reports from OPIS state that the worst is over for parts of the southeast impacted by the initial shutdown of Colonial Pipeline on September 9, and supply distribution should move to normal levels throughout the week.

Despite issues with the Colonial Pipeline in the Southeast, drivers in much of the Gulf Coast continue to enjoy some of the lowest prices at the pump: Texas ($1.95), Arkansas ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.99), Louisiana ($1.99), Alabama ($2.09).

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_9-26-16-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the country, with every state in the region landing on the top ten list of most expensive markets: Hawaii ($2.81), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.63), Oregon ($2.54), Nevada ($2.50). Although high, prices at the pump have remained consistent over the past week despite a power outage at the PBF refinery in Torrance, California which interrupted regular operations. Reports from OPIS on Friday afternoon say that PBF spent the week heating up and restarting process units at the refinery, and it is projected all units would be up at the start of this week.

Oil Market Dynamics

Crude oil prices rallied Monday morning due to speculation about output reduction talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Attention is now focused on members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) next meeting, scheduled for September 26-28, where the cartel may agree to a production freeze or continue its current course of action and refrain from cutting production to maintain market share. These countries will meet informally while also attending the International Energy Forum in Algeria. The upcoming talks are the organization’s second attempt to negotiate a production freeze, after a failed meeting in April. OPEC last agreed to reduce supply in 2008 and traders will continue to watch how discussions progress this week. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.84 to settle at $44.48 per barrel.

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

 

Tamra JohnsonToday’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.21 per gallon, which is 3 cents more than last week and 8 cents more expensive than last month.  Today’s price represents a year over year discount of 9 cents from 2015.

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Regional pump prices fluctuated dramatically this week due to pipeline repairs and localized supply disruptions.  In early September, a leak on Line 1 of the Colonial Pipeline occurred in Alabama and pressured prices in Southeast states sharply higher, including week-over-week increases of 7 cents or more in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Line 1 of the pipeline runs from Houston, Texas to Greensboro, North Carolina and can carry 1.2 million barrels of gasoline per day. As a result of the leak and downtime for the repair, Colonial Pipeline announced over the weekend that it would construct a temporary pipeline to bypass the section of the line that is damaged. According to Colonial, the bypass would allow the pipeline to resume gasoline deliveries to impacted areas by the end of the week.

Until the pipeline bypass is completed, distribution issues will continue to put additional upward pressure on prices in the Southeast and possibly the Mid-Atlantic region. States that may continue to see tighter supply and higher gas prices include Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The Colonial Pipeline has said it anticipates reopening the line later this week with the bypass in use, but it remains unclear how quickly they will be able to repair Line 1.

Quick stats

  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in six states today including: Mississippi ($1.96), Texas (1.96), Missouri ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.98), Arkansas ($1.99) and Louisiana ($1.99).
  • The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Georgia (+21 cents), South Carolina (+13 cents), Tennessee (+13 cents), North Carolina (+11 Cents), Ohio (+11 Cents), Indiana (+10 cents), Alabama (+7 cents), Delaware (+7 cents), Kentucky (+7 cents) and Hawaii (+6 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-19-16

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country, including the top six most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.82), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.72), Alaska ($2.62), Oregon ($2.53), Nevada ($2.50). Despite having some of the most expensive prices, some drivers in the region are also enjoying some yearly savings with three states in the region making the list of top ten biggest yearly decreases: Alaska (-55 cents), Nevada (-52 cents), California (-33 cents). The West Coast region had not been impacted by problems on the Colonial Pipeline and the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) predicts that prices in the Pacific Northwest and California may see some decreases over the next few weeks.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region are among the most stable prices in the nation. The states continue to be insulated from any refinery and pipeline issues and over the past month average prices have moved by a penny or less in three states: Idaho, New Mexico and Idaho. Drivers in the region are also enjoying large yearly discounts with Utah (-43 cents), Wyoming (-40 cents), Colorado (-39 cents), New Mexico (-29 cents), Idaho (-29 cents) and Arizona (-29 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country.

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in these regions are enjoying some weekly price discounts due to sufficient supplies and limited disruption to production. These regions include five states registering some of the largest declines in the nation over the past week: Missouri (-6 cents), Illinois (-4 cents), Minnesota (-3 cents), Kansas (-2 cents) and Iowa (-2 cents). Midwestern declines are also featured in the top month-over-month comparisons, with four out of the five states posting a decline in this region: Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. On top of these weekly and monthly savings, drivers in two Central states continue to pay some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with Missouri ($1.97) and Oklahoma ($2.03) both featured in the top 10 cheapest state averages.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across most of the region have remained relatively stable with seven states featured on the list for smallest weekly changes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York. The most expensive averages in the region are Washington, D.C. ($2.36), Pennsylvania ($2.33), New York ($2.32) and Connecticut ($2.29). Some states in this region will be impacted by the problems on the Colonial Pipeline. OPIS reports that there will be less gasoline and diesel moving to Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and New Jersey as a result of the leak. Colonial Pipeline has executed its alternative plan to construct a bypass line around the leak site to allow Line 1 gasoline distribution to return to service as rapidly and safely as possible. Colonial stated on Sunday that it is aiming to complete its bypass construction for Line 1 this week and restart full operation using the bypass for gasoline delivery from Houston to Greensboro, but there is a possibility construction may take longer than projected.

Top10 Largest Weekly Increases 9-19-16

South and Southeast

Gas prices in the South and Southeast continue to top the list for lowest prices, with six out of ten of the nation’s cheapest retail markets located in this region: Texas ($1.96), Mississippi ($1.96), Arkansas ($2.01), Louisiana ($1.99), Alabama ($2.01), South Carolina ($2.04). Some states in these regions have also seen significant weekly price increases due to a problem with the Colonial Pipeline, the major artery that brings gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas and Louisiana refineries to a number of Gulf Coast and southeastern states. Reports from OPIS say the repair of a spill on the pipeline will limit the movement of gasoline from Texas and Louisiana refineries to multiple states in the South and Southeast regions including Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Some of these states have already seen significant price movement over the past week with Georgia (+21 cents), Tennessee (+13 cents), South Carolina (+13 cents) and North Carolina (+11 cents) topping the national list of largest weekly increases.

Global Market Dynamics

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed last week trading lower following the release of the International Energy Agency’s crude oil report which forecast abundant supplies with diminishing demand. Meanwhile, the Colonial Pipeline announced Sunday evening that it was currently working to repair the leak on Line 1 and construct a bypass pipeline to reduce disruption of gasoline deliveries. Colonial said they are aiming to have the Line 1 bypass up and running this week, but many of those watching the market are skeptical of their ability to restart the line that quickly. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the Colonial Pipeline repairs, discussions surrounding the possibility of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and the OPEC member meeting later this month. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down .88 cents to settle at $43.03 per barrel, the lowest settlement since Aug. 11.

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

Tamra JohnsonGas prices have fallen for eleven of the past 12 days, reaching today’s average of $2.18 per gallon. Drivers are saving two cents per gallon compared to one week ago, but are paying five cents per gallon more on the month. Overall gas prices remain lower than last year due to the relatively low price of crude oil with drivers saving an average of 18 cents per gallon compared to a year ago.

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The national average price for unleaded gasoline is expected to keep moving lower as we head into fall barring any unexpected disruptions in supply or spikes in the price of crude oil. Pump prices typically decline during this time of year due to lower driving demand after the busy summer driving season has concluded and the changeover from summer-blend to a cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline, which takes place in many parts of the country starting on September 15.

The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasoline involves the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of the fuel. RVP is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline (higher RVP), the easier it evaporates.

Winter-blend fuel has a higher RVP because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. If the RVP is too low on a frigid day, the vehicle will be hard to start and once started, will run rough.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), drivers will continue to benefit from an oversupplied market and AAA predicts that consumers could experience national average prices below $2.00 at the pump if the price of crude oil remains relatively low and refineries are able to conduct planned seasonal maintenance without issue.

Quick stats

  • Gas prices in seven states are below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.91), Alabama ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.98), Texas ($1.98), Tennessee ($1.99) and Virginia (1.99).
  • The biggest weekly decreases in price are seen in Indiana (-11 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Nebraska (-6 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-12-16-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain some of the highest in the nation, with six out of ten of the nation’s most expensive retail markets located in this region: Hawaii ($2.75), California ($2.73), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.58), Oregon ($2.50) and Nevada ($2.48).

Strong demand in the region is currently pressing on limited supplies. The drop in supplies can likely be attributed to issues at two California refineries earlier this month. The region also currently has the highest wholesale price for gasoline, which translates to higher prices for drivers. While prices remain on the high-end, some drivers in the region are still benefitting from significant year-over-year discounts. Only two states nationwide are posting yearly discounts of more than 50 cents per gallon and both are located within this region: Alaska (-73 cents) and Nevada (-60 cents).

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies are also enjoying large yearly discounts with Colorado (-46 cents), Utah (-45 cents), Wyoming (-43 cents), New Mexico (-37 cents), Arizona (-36 cents) and Idaho (-35 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country. Prices in the region have generally been the most stable across the nation since it is geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices. Regional prices may see a slight drop this week as seasonal effects like decreased demand and the switchover to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline take effect.

Great Lakes and Central States

Prices are starting to move lower following the close to the summer driving season, with six states in these regions making the top 10 list for biggest weekly discounts: Indiana (-11 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Nebraska (-6 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents). The decrease is a relief for drivers in the regions who have dealt with significant volatility throughout the summer.

Crude oil supply appears to be building in the region which has helped to stabilize the price at the pump. Barring any unexpected disruptions in supply, drivers should see prices continue to drop with the switchover to winter-blend gasoline.

Top10 Most Dramatic Weekly Changes_9-12-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have remained relatively flat, however the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline late Friday evening may impact prices moving into this week. The pipeline is a major artery in the movement of gasoline from Pasadena, Texas all the way up the Eastern Seaboard and disruptions can have a significant impact on supply. Two of the lines on the pipeline were shut down Friday following reports of potential system integrity issues. According to the Oil Price Information Service, Colonial Pipeline restarted delivery on Line 2 from Houston to Greensboro on Saturday, but gasoline delivery on Line 1 is not expected to restart until later this week due to a potential gas leak. This will impact northern states over the next 48 hours. There is, however, ample supply in the region and the higher-than-usual inventories should provide a buffer to the temporary gasoline delivery stoppage. Despite the down lines, two states in the region are among the six cheapest in the country: New Jersey ($1.98) and Virginia ($1.99).

South and Southeast

Markets in the South and Southeast continue to post some of the lowest prices for retail gasoline in the nation, with seven out of ten least expensive retail markets: South Carolina ($1.91), Alabama ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.97), Texas ($1.98), Tennessee ($1.99), Arkansas ($2.01) and Louisiana ($2.01). Ample supply is a contributing factor to the comparatively lower prices in the region. Reports from OPIS say that the Southeast region has also been impacted by the Colonial Pipeline shut down. Southern deliveries are down, which will likely cause some sporadic supply outages, especially in areas supplied by its stub lines in the Southeast. Like the Northeast, the higher-than-usual inventories in the area should provide a buffer to the temporary gasoline delivery stoppage for the next few days, and as a result southern states should not be greatly impacted by the pipeline issues. Approximately 50 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast, which generally helps to balance supply and keep prices in the region relatively low.

Oil Market Dynamics

Oil prices briefly spiked last week due to the release of an EIA report that stated U.S. crude inventories fell 14.5 million barrels, but quickly retreated when inventory numbers were attributed to import disruption due to tropical storm Hermine. WTI opened this week trading lower, following news that the U.S. oil rig count increased for the tenth consecutive week and the sustained strength of the U.S. dollar. Traders will continue to keep an eye on discussions surrounding the upcoming OPEC meetings and the possibility of member and non-member countries agreeing to a production freeze. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.74 to settle at $45.88 per barrel.

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

 

Gas Prices Drop to Close Out Labor Day Weekend

September 6th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Tamra JohnsonThe national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped six consecutive days after rising for 16 straight days to close out August. Today’s national average is $2.20 per gallon. Gas prices started turning lower heading into the Labor Day weekend, which marks the unofficial end to the summer driving season. Today’s national average is two cents less than a week ago and 18 cents less than a year ago but 8 cents more than one month ago. The year-on-year discount persists but has closed more than 30 cents in just 20 days.

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Prices rose in the second half of August due to increasing crude oil prices and uncertainty regarding Hurricane Hermine’s impact on Gulf Coast refineries. When it became clear that the storm would not impact production, prices dropped quickly during the second half of last week and through the weekend. While the possibility of future storms over the remaining months of hurricane season could send prices temporarily higher, the seasonal effects of lower demand – with the busy summer driving season in the rear view – combined with the changeover to cheaper-to-produce winter blend gasoline likely mean prices will move lower over the next several months.

Quick stats:

  • Gas prices in four states are below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.94), Alabama ($1.97), Mississippi ($1.98) and New Jersey ($1.99).
  • The biggest weekly price decreases are reflected in Michigan (-11 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents), Ohio (-4 cents), Alaska (-3 cents), Iowa (-3 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents) and South Dakota (-3 cents).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-9-6-16-01

West Coast

The region continues to be the priciest in the nation, with the seven most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.75), California ($2.67), Washington ($2.64), Alaska ($2.53), Oregon ($2.46), Idaho ($2.46) and Nevada ($2.45). The region currently has the highest wholesale price for gasoline, which translates to higher prices for drivers. While prices remain on the high-end, they are relatively steady and have so far not reacted to refinery issues that arose late last week at Chevron’s Richmond, California refinery and Tesero’s Martinez, California location. Both refineries are reporting unscheduled maintenance that could impact supply in the region and send prices higher until the issues are resolved.

Rockies

Drivers across the Mountain time zone are enjoying hefty yearly discounts with seven states in the top ten in the nation: Utah (-53 cents), Colorado (-50 cents), Wyoming (-47 cents), Arizona (-41 cents), Idaho (-39 cents), New Mexico (-39 cents), and Montana (-35 cents). Refiners in the region have access to some of the cheapest crude oil on the market and as a result prices in the region are often geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices. Given the price insulation and already lofty discounts, prices in this area may have less room to fall than coastal and Great Lakes areas as the busy summer driving season comes to a close.

Great Lakes and Central States

Price swings have been common in and around the Great Lakes states this week with six of the top ten weekly price movers landing in the area. The top national decreases in the country are: Michigan (-11 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Minnesota (-4 cents) and Ohio (-4 cents). Prices rose last month following issues at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, but with production reported to have returned to normal, prices in the region have moved lower. Despite the fluctuating prices across the region, two Central region states still rank among the lowest in the nation: Missouri ($2.02) and Tennessee ($2.02).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Prices across much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively flat even as prices nationally have started to fall. Despite the minimal movement, two states in the region are among the six cheapest in the country: New Jersey ($1.99) and Virginia ($2.01). Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region should continue to drop this month due to a decrease in demand and the switch over to cheaper winter-blend fuel on September 15.

South and Southeast

Early projections about the impact Hurricane Hermine might have on production and distribution over the busy holiday travel weekend triggered price movement in the Gulf Coast and Southeastern regions last week. Hermine eventually passed with minimal impact on the area and prices have dropped as a result. These regions continue to post some of the lowest pump prices in the nation, including all three of the cheapest states and six of the top ten. Only four states in the country are paying below $2 per gallon and three are located in this region: South Carolina ($1.94), Alabama ($1.97) and Mississippi ($1.98).

Top 10 Most Dramatic Weekly Price Decreases_9-6-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

After jumping more than 20 percent during the first half of August, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has dropped 10 percent over the past several weeks. The forces driving the market continue to be the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other global currencies and the potential for OPEC and non-OPEC members to agree to a freeze in oil production when countries meet in Algiers later this month. Monday evening brought reports that Saudi Arabia and Russia met during the G20 summit and signed an oil cooperation agreement signaling an effort to work together in the world oil market. The possibility of an agreement briefly caused oil prices to rally, but when it was clear that the two countries did not make a firm commitment to halt production, prices again started to slide. Traders will continue to monitor these factors in the coming weeks for guidance on what direction oil markets will move this fall. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.28 to settle at $44.44 per barrel.

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

Tamra JohnsonAfter dropping for two months, including a streak of 53 of 54 days, pump prices are again on the rise heading into Labor Day weekend. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased for 14 consecutive days. Today’s average price of $2.22 per gallon marks an increase of six cents per gallon compared to one week ago and eight cents per gallon compared to one month ago. Despite the increase, drivers are paying 27 cents less than they did at this same time last year and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004.

According to a AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices. OPIS projects that Americans will purchase about 400-million gallons of gasoline each day over Labor Day weekend, at an aggregate cost of about $880-million per day. While the national year-over-year discount remains, it has closed substantially from more than fifty cents just ten days ago.

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A number of factors have been driving prices higher for motorists including: higher crude oil prices, refinery issues in the Gulf Coast, and the threat of a tropical weather system moving into the Gulf of Mexico. The rising crude oil prices can be attributed, in part, to talks of an agreement to limit production amongst OPEC countries and news from the U.S. Federal Reserve that the U.S. may raise interest rates in the next couple of months.

While Midwest prices have often been the most volatile in the nation in recent years, prices in Southern and East Coast states over the last week have headlined the list of biggest movers. This has been largely tied to refinery issues in the Gulf Coast including flooding at the Baton Rogue Exxon Mobil and Covent facilities and a refinery outage in Baytown, Texas, which have pressured prices higher in areas supplied by these facilities. Meanwhile, the first major tropical depression moved through the Straits of Florida, the area between Cuba and the Florida Keys, Sunday evening. While the storm’s direction and strength are still uncertain, many meteorologists are tracking the storm’s path into the Gulf of Mexico with a northern bend into Florida later in the week. The storm’s projected move away from the concentration of refineries and petroleum infrastructure in the Gulf Coast is easing worries about available supply.

 

Quick stats:

Gas prices in three states are below $2.00 per gallon, six fewer than one week ago: South Carolina ($1.95), Alabama ($1.98) and Mississippi ($1.996).

States around the country have seen volatility in gas prices including drivers in the Great Lakes region, the Rockies, central and southern states. The biggest weekly increases in price are seen in Florida (+13 cents), Tennessee (+9 cents), Georgia (+9 cents), Missouri (+8 cents), Kansas (+8 cents), North Carolina (+8 cents), South Carolina (+8 cents), Colorado (+8 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Illinois (+7 cents).

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West Coast

Prices on the West Coast remain the most expensive in the nation, including the top five most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.74), California ($2.68), Washington ($2.61), Alaska ($2.55), Oregon ($2.46). While prices in the region have followed the national average trending higher, they have been some of the smallest increases in the country. Drivers in the area are also enjoying the largest yearly discounts compared to the same date last year, but issues at a refinery in Carson, California on Friday have the potential to impact supply in the region heading into the Labor Day weekend.

Rockies

Drivers in the Rockies are also enjoying yearly discounts with Colorado (-58 cents), Wyoming (-53 cents), Utah (-51 cents), Arizona (-50 cents) and New Mexico (-46 cents) all in the top ten largest discounts in the country. Prices in the region are often geographically insulated from pump price movement tied to global crude oil prices and have generally been among the more stable in the nation over the past month. Regional prices may drop this fall as seasonal effects like decreased demand and the switchover to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline take effect.

 

Great Lakes and Central States

Volatility remains the norm in the Great Lakes and the top five monthly price increases in the nation are all in this area, tied in large part to a refinery issue at the largest refinery in the region, the 430,000 barrel per day BP facility in Whiting, Indiana. These top monthly increases are Michigan (+22 cents), Illinois (+19 cents), Minnesota (+19 cents), Missouri (+17 cents) and Oklahoma (+17 cents). While prices jumped as a result of the issue at the Whiting refinery, reports are that the issue has been resolved and that the refinery is back to normal production as of last week. While lower than their Great Lakes neighbors, no state in the Central region currently boasts an average that is less than $2.00 per gallon. As of one month ago, four Central states were below the $2 threshold: Kentucky ($1.99), Oklahoma ($1.95), Missouri ($1.93) and Tennessee ($1.90).

 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have been relatively flat over the past month, even as prices nationally have been on the rise. Barring any unexpected impact to production or distribution, prices in the region may continue to drop as the summer driving season ends, decreasing demand and the switch to cheaper winter-blend fuel being allowed in mid-September.

 

South and Southeast

States in the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions are seeing some of the biggest increases in the nation over the past week as market watchers tracked a slow-moving tropical wave with some concern that it could materialize into a storm with potential to impact production at refineries on the Gulf of Mexico and demand by drivers in the region. The current forecast predicts the storm surge will potentially reach the Florida coast north of Tampa on Thursday. The Gulf Coast is home to the largest concentration of refineries in the nation and storms that hit these facilities can disrupt operations and send prices higher for states east of the Rockies.

Top10-Most-Dramatic-Weekly-Price-Increases_8-29-16-01-004

Oil Market Dynamics

West Texas Intermediate oil prices briefly fell below $40 per barrel in July, but have turned higher in August. Prices retreated slightly last week from their recent high of $48.52 set on August 19, but remain more than 10% higher than one month ago. Market watchers will continue to monitor possible interest rate increases by the U.S. Federal Reserve and any signs that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may consider an agreement that would limit production in an effort to influence prices higher. Members of OPEC are due to meet informally in Algeria on Sept. 26-28 on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum. There are few expectations of any real meaningful agreement and the market may not see any changes impacting the cost of crude oil until the meeting has commenced. At Friday’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up 31 cents to settle at $47.64 per barrel.

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

Tamra Johnson

Following a streak where the national retail average price of gasoline dropped on 54 of 55 days, pump prices have now increased on 12 of the past 17 days and each of the past six. The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.16 per gallon, which is four cents more than one week ago, but is two cents less than a month ago, 46 cents less than the same date last year, and the lowest price for this date since 2004.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-22-16-01

Pump prices have been driven by crude oil prices surging more than 20 percent this month and refinery issues impacting production in some regions. Higher crude oil prices have come as the U.S. dollar has weakened and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is reportedly considering production cuts to bolster prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is priced in U.S. dollars. As the U.S. dollar weakens, crude oil becomes relatively less expensive for those holding foreign currencies, which increases demand and puts upward pressure on oil prices. This upward momentum has been further supported by reports that OPEC members will again consider an agreement that would limit production in the face of the global glut of crude oil supplies that has more than halved prices in recent years.

Also influencing gasoline prices have been refinery issues that have exacerbated price increases in areas supplied by these facilities. This includes a number of refineries in the Gulf Coast that are undergoing unplanned maintenance as a result of flooding in Louisiana and refinery fire in Texas. Drivers in the Midwest and Central U.S. continue to see the most dramatic recent price movement as the impact of outages – including the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. – has pushed prices higher. The facility is reported to be slowly coming back online, which could allow regional prices to drop back down.

While pump prices in the vast majority of states (42) have moved higher over the past week, domestic gasoline supplies remain high and oil prices remain relatively lower compared to recent years, meaning pump prices are likely to remain cheap through the rest of the summer and into the fall. Prices could even dip back below $2.00 per gallon once the summer driving season is complete and as many regions are allowed to transition to selling cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline. However, a major market-moving event, like a hurricane or further increasing crude oil costs, could still offset this decline and temporarily drive pump prices higher.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in nine states are below $2.00 per gallon, three fewer than one week ago: South Carolina ($1.87), Alabama ($1.90), Mississippi ($1.93), Virginia ($1.95), Tennessee ($1.95), New Jersey ($1.96), Arkansas ($1.99), Texas ($1.99), and Louisiana ($1.997).
  • West Coast drivers are still paying the highest prices for gasoline despite featuring five of the six states with week-over-week savings. This region includes the seven highest state averages and the four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.69), California ($2.66), Washington ($2.58), and Alaska ($2.55).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-22-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also among the only motorists who have seen state prices drop over the past week and many of these states feature prominently in the ranking of the largest year-over-year discounts, including three of the top four savings in the nation: Alaska (-89 cents), California (-84 cents), and Nevada (-77 cents). While weekly discounts exist in parts of the region, prices in California have moved higher due to an issue at the Valero refinery in Wilmington, Calif. that produces an estimated 87,000 barrels per day when running at capacity. Should this facility be delayed in returning to production, it could reverse the recent declines in other parts of the region.

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained relatively stable compared to other markets due primarily to the fact that there have been few regional disruptions to production in recent months and their geographic location. Being located in the center of the country helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Barring unforeseen production issues, lower prices could be around the corner for drivers in the area with the nearing end to the summer driving season and the transition to winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. The changeover to winter-blend gasoline, which has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure and is cheaper to produce, is allowed to take place in many parts of the country on September 15.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. This is a product of tightening supplies compared to other regions and refinery issues that have limited production at some facilities. While prices in recent weeks have been a mixed bag of increases and decreases, regional prices over the past week have moved universally higher, with Midwestern states filling the top-five increases during this span: Indiana (+10 cents), Kentucky (+10 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), and Ohio (+8 cents). This volatility has been pressured by operations at the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest facility), which has been slow to come back on line following production problems.

Prices for drivers in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Three states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Tennessee ($1.95), Missouri ($2.01), and Oklahoma ($2.07).

Top10 Largest Increases 8-22-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While still largely cheaper than one month ago, prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have moved higher over the past week due to rising crude oil prices. This has been most evident in the Mid-Atlantic, where three states feature prominently in the top-ten weekly increases in the nation: Delaware (+9 cents), Maryland (+7 cents), and Pennsylvania (+7 cents).

South and Southeast

Drivers across the South and Southeast still make up the bulk of those paying pump prices below $2 per gallon. Despite several recent production issues in the region, seven states still place in the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The U.S. Gulf Coast is the largest refining region in the nation, so even with some recently reported problems, the area is less susceptible to price spikes from limited disruptions.

Oil Market Dynamics

As outlined above, a key contributing factor to the higher retail gas prices has been the increase in crude oil prices in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is still priced much lower than recent years, prices have increased more than 20 percent in August and are trading at the highest level since July 1. This increase has been attributed to a weaker U.S. dollar and reports that OPEC will reconsider production limits by cartel members at its next meeting in Algeria in late September. An agreement on a similar proposal failed at their last meeting, however Ecuador and Venezuela are expected to again call for measures to cut production. If OPEC members agree to limit production, rising crude oil prices could offset or even reverse any expected drop in U.S. pump prices resulting from tapering demand and cheaper seasonal blends. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was up 30 cents to settle at $48.52 per barrel.

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

Americans Are On Board for River Cruising

August 18th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Julie HallAAA survey, bookings reveal strong traveler interest in river cruising, including among millennials

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2016) – While only a small portion of the population has boarded a ship to cruise along rivers in the United States, Europe or Asia, consumer interest in river cruising is growing exponentially. According to a new AAA survey, 14 percent of Americans have enjoyed a river cruise, but approximately four in 10 would consider river cruising for an upcoming vacation. Following this trend, AAA’s river cruise bookings have increased more than 16 percent in just the last year.

Additional Resources

Despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials respond more strongly to several key attributes of river cruising than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. The younger generation is less likely to have taken a river cruise vacation (11 percent), but they are more likely to consider one for an upcoming vacation (42 percent internationally; 45 percent domestically) than either Generation X or Baby Boomers.

“River cruising offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the heart of multiple destinations in comfort and luxury,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “It also provides an intimate view into the culture and history of some of the world’s top destinations. Millennials tend to place great value on experiential travel opportunities and are looking to river cruising as an increasingly viable option for their future vacations.”

Overall, one in four Americans say they are very likely or likely to take a river cruise vacation in the U.S. or internationally in the next five years. River cruising tends to encourage repeat visitation with nearly half (48 percent) of past river cruisers reporting that they are likely or very likely to take a river cruise vacation again in the next five years.

Fifty-four percent of adults in the U.S. feel the all-inclusive experience focused on the journey, not just the destination, is the top benefit of river cruising. Other attributes that are similarly appealing include the ability to visit unique destinations not accessible by larger cruise ships (cited by 50 percent of survey respondents), the opportunity for an authentic travel experience (48 percent) and the convenience of docking right in the heart of a city or town (48 percent).

Travelers considering a river cruise vacation should consult with a travel agent to explore the various options and special offers that are available. For example, AAA members who book a 2017 Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sailing with a AAA credit card in August or September can receive additional savings. Members can also enjoy added amenities on select river cruise departures as part of AAA Vacations, a collection of unique, engaging travel experiences designed specifically for AAA members.

To evaluate consumer river cruise travel intentions and perceptions, AAA contracted with a national research company to perform a telephone survey of 1,012 adults living in the continental United States. Survey results are an accurate representation of the total continental U.S. population with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey was conducted June 23-26, 2016.

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

Tamra Johnson
After dropping 54 of 55 days, the national average price of gasoline at the pump has held steady over the past week but has declined each of the past four days. The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.12 per gallon, which is the lowest price for this date since 2004. Today’s price is fractions of a penny more than one week ago, but is nine cents less than one month ago and 54 cents less than the same date last year.
2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-15-16-01

As is frequently the case, the Midwest features the most dramatic pump price movement in the nation, including the only five states posting a weekly price change of more than a nickel. This past week’s direction was not uniform as prices in Michigan and Ohio have dropped at the same time prices in Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota have jumped. Motorists in the Midwest are used to these sorts of price swings, as low supply and the resulting sensitivity to production and distribution issues have caused sharp price increases when refineries go offline, followed by rapid decline in prices when those issues are resolved.

The magnitude of price movement has been dampened somewhat this year. Last week’s Department of Energy report showed Midwestern supplies had dropped for the third consecutive week and the impact of an issue at the 430,000 barrel per day BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. is still evident. However, despite the decline resulting in a new 2016 low, gasoline stocks for the Midwest Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD 2) remain nearly ten percent higher than the same time last year. These robust year-over-year supply comparisons are evident nationwide and pave the way for the lowest pump prices for motorists in more than a decade to persist through Labor Day. Barring an unexpectedly dramatic shift over the next several weeks, national gasoline supplies are likely to end August at their highest level on record.

As of yesterday, approximately 41 percent of gas stations nationwide were selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less, a slight decrease from the 43 percent last week but a sharp contrast to the tenth of a percent below this threshold on this date in 2015. Eight percent of stations nationwide are selling gasoline for more than $2.50 per gallon, down slightly from the nine percent of stations one month ago and substantially from the 56 percent one year ago.

With gasoline supplies high and oil prices still relatively low, pump prices are likely to remain cheap through the rest of the summer and into the fall and could even dip back below $2.00 per gallon once the summer driving season is complete. However, a major market-moving event, like a hurricane or increasing crude oil costs, is not out of the question and could still offset this decline and temporarily drive pump prices higher.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in twelve states are now below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.82), Alabama ($1.86), Mississippi ($1.90), Tennessee ($1.90), New Jersey ($1.90), Virginia ($1.91), Arkansas ($1.94), Delaware ($1.97), Texas ($1.97), Louisiana ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.99), and North Carolina ($1.996).
  • Despite year-over-year savings, West Coast drivers continue to pay the most for gasoline, including the seven highest state averages and the only four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.70), California ($2.62), Washington ($2.58), and Alaska ($2.57).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-15-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also enjoying dramatic yearly savings, with three of the top five largest yearly drops observed in this region: California (-98 cents), Alaska (-89 cents), and Nevada (-80 cents). West Coast prices have also been leading the national slide lower over the past month with California (-24 cents) and Arizona (-20 cents) reflecting the two largest drops in the nation.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region have continued to be among the most stable in the nation, due to their insulated status in the center of the country and few disruptions to regional production this spring and summer. Nevertheless, lower prices are likely on the horizon for drivers in the region with the end to the summer driving season and the transition to winter-blend gasoline rapidly approaching. The changeover to winter-blend gasoline, which has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) and is cheaper to produce, can take place in many parts of the country on September 15.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation, with tightening supplies and refinery issues contributing to seesawing prices for motorists. The past week has featured both ends of the spectrum: Michigan (-10 cents) and Ohio (-6 cents) the largest weekly declines and Kentucky (+8 cents), Indiana (+8 cents), and Minnesota (+6 cents) the top gainers. This recent volatility has been underpinned by reported issues at the BP facility in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest refinery) combined with data from the Energy Information Administration showing that regional supplies, while historically robust, are dropping. Despite the recent increases in some parts, Midwestern states still feature prominently in the most dramatic year-over-year declines, with Illinois (-90 cents), Indiana (-86 cents), Ohio (-78 cents), Michigan (-78 cents), and Wisconsin (-73 cents) all among the top ten.

Prices in the Central United States continue to be among the cheapest pump prices in the country, including two of the states where prices are below $2.00 per gallon: Tennessee ($1.90) and Oklahoma ($1.99).

Top10 Most Dramatic Weekly Changes_8-15-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to point lower and the region experienced some of the most dramatic declines over the past month, with seven regions in the top ten: West Virginia (-16 cents), Connecticut (-16 cents), Massachusetts (-15 cents), Rhode Island (-15 cents), the District of Columbia (-14 cents), Pennsylvania (-14 cents), and Vermont (-13 cents). These sagging prices have been the result of plentiful gasoline supplies, which remain approximately 14 million barrels higher than this time last year.

South and Southeast

Drivers across the South and Southeast are paying pump prices below $2 per gallon, and the region features six of the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. The Gulf Coast is home to the bulk of U.S. refining capacity, and while several issues have contributed some upward pressure to prices over the past week, the approaching changeover to the production of less costly winter-blend gasoline is likely to keep prices pointed lower throughout the region.

Oil Market Dynamics

A key contributing factor to the stalling slide in retail gas prices has been the increase in crude oil prices over the past several weeks. While West Texas Intermediate crude oil is still trading substantially lower than recent years, prices have increased in August and are now trading at the highest level in a month. This increase has been attributed to reports that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reconsider production limits by cartel members at its next meeting in an effort to boost oil prices and profits by curbing supply. OPEC’s next meeting is in Algeria in late September, and while agreement on a similar proposal at their last meeting was unsuccessful, member countries Ecuador and Venezuela are expected to again call for measures to cut production. If OPEC members agree to limit production, rising crude oil prices could offset or even reverse expected downward pressure on U.S. pump prices from tapering demand and cheaper seasonal blends. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was up $1.00 to settle at $44.49 per barrel.

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

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