Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

U.S. Average Gas Prices Under $2 for 25 Days and Counting

January 25th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington, January 25, 2016) Gas prices have spent 25 consecutive days below $2 per gallon and could head lower still as reduced seasonal demand and falling crude oil costs combine to send pump prices to the lowest mark in six years. Today’s average price of $1.83 per gallon is the cheapest price since January 2009, and retail averages have fallen for 69 of the past 80 days for a total savings of 40 cents per gallon over this span. Crude oil supply continues to outpace demand, which has helped push gas prices down by seven cents on the week, 18 cents on the month and 21 cents on the year.

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A historic blizzard hit the Northeast over the weekend. The Mid-Atlantic was the hardest region hit, and a number of states in the area received more than two feet of snow. Severe weather can make it difficult for refiners to produce gasoline and can create hurdles for getting the product to market. However, storms also keep drivers off of roads, which can limit demand. Early reports indicate that PBF Energy shut down its Delaware City refinery, citing power failure due to the blizzard conditions. Averages in the region could possibly move higher in the coming days if refinery and distribution problems persist.

Motorists in just 11states and Washington, D.C. are paying an average above $2 per gallon. California ($2.67) continues to lead the market, however the resolution of refinery issues in the state has narrowed the difference between the Golden State and second-place Hawaii ($2.63). Regional neighbors Alaska ($2.44), Nevada ($2.34) and Washington ($2.24) round out the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Consumers in Oklahoma ($1.53) and Missouri ($1.54) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump, followed by the Midwestern states of Indiana ($1.55), Ohio ($1.56) and Michigan ($1.59).

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Weekly price comparisons reflect that consumers nationwide are enjoying savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down in the majority of states (29) by a nickel or more per gallon, and prices in four states located in the Midwest: Michigan (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents) are down double-digits. With refinery utilization rates reportedly running at upwards of 98 percent and gasoline inventories also building, drivers in the region are likely to continue to benefit from noticeable savings at the pump. Nevertheless, gas prices in the region are often unpredictable and changes in the market can happen quickly.

Consumers in nearly every state (49) are benefitting from more than a nickel per gallon in savings month-over-month. Retail averages are down double-digits in 46 states and Washington, D.C., and prices are down a quarter or more per gallon in a total of five states. Similar to week-over-week comparisons, the largest discounts are in the Midwest: Ohio (-36 cents), Indiana (-36 cents), Michigan (-33 cents) and Illinois (-29 cents). Alaska is the only state to buck this trend, and prices are up by a nickel per gallon on the month.

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Pump prices remain discounted year-over-year in the majority of states (45), though the magnitude of yearly savings continues to narrow because retail averages had already fallen dramatically in January 2015. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump and prices are discounted by more than 50 cents per gallon in two states: Hawaii (-63 cents) and Indiana (-52 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are higher on the year in California (+21 cents), Idaho (+17 cents), Nevada (+13 cents), Utah (+7 cents) and Washington (+7 cents).

Global oversupply and the anticipation that additional oil will soon enter the market with the lifting of sanctions on Iran, contributed to both benchmarks—Brent and West Texas Intermediate—trading last week at lows unseen since 2003. Market fundamentals remain unchanged and a “lower-for-longer” sentiment is beginning to prevail amongst speculators. Talks are now shifting to whether the market has reached its bottom and if, or when, the necessary adjustments in supply will occur in order to help bring the crude oil market more into balance.

To the surprise of many and despite this bearish sentiment, both benchmarks closed out the week with a two-day rally.  This shift is likely the result of trading volatility and is not attributed to any correction in the imbalance between supply and demand. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up nearly 9.5 percent, with a gain of $2.66 to settle at $32.19 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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(January 19, 2016) – Tumbling crude oil prices around the world have helped send the national retail average price for gasoline to its lowest mark since February 2009. Retail averages have fallen for 63 of the past 74 days, for a total savings of 34 cents per gallon, reaching today’s price of $1.88 per gallon. Gas prices are down seven cents per gallon on the week, which is the fastest pace gas prices have dropped since the middle of November. Motorists typically enjoy falling gasoline prices in early winter due to decreased demand for gasoline and that also is helping to push prices downwards. Despite recent declines, the national average price of gas is only 18 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago since prices also were very low in early 2015.

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The price of crude oil has dropped more than 70 percent compared to the June 2014 high ($107.26 per barrel), and expectations that both global and domestic supply will continue to outpace demand are helping drivers to save at the pumps. The rout in oil prices continued over the past week and crude oil settled below the $30 per barrel benchmark for the first time since 2003. AAA previously estimated the annual average price of gas in 2016 will be $2.25-$2.45 per gallon, although the sharp decline in oil costs since the year began has the potential to lead to even lower gas prices if global oversupply and economic concerns persist.

A total of 38 states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, and drivers in Oklahoma ($1.59), Missouri ($1.62) and Alabama ($1.65) are paying the nation’s lowest prices. Gas prices are below the $1.75 benchmark in 17 states, which is seven states more than a week ago. Retail averages in California ($2.75) continue to be the most expensive in the nation and are relatively high due to lingering refinery issues impacting supply in the region. The Golden State is followed by regional neighbors: Hawaii ($2.63), Alaska ($2.48), Nevada ($2.41) and Washington ($2.32).

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Gas prices are down week-over-week in every state, with the largest drop during this span in the Midwest. Prices in this region are known to be volatile, and swings in production and distribution are generally reflected in the price at the pump. With refineries running smoothly and supply outpacing demand, motorists in Indiana (-16 cents), Ohio (-16 cents), Michigan (-15 cents) and Kentucky (-12 cents) are saving the most on the week. Consumers in more than half of states (32) are saving at least a nickel per gallon over this same period.

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With the exception of Alaska (+9 cents) and California (+4 cents), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, consumers nationwide are benefitting from monthly savings in the price of gasoline. Of the states posting discounts, pump prices are down by a nickel or more per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C. month-over-month, and averages in 39 states and Washington, D.C. are down by a dime or more per gallon over this same period. The largest monthly savings are being enjoyed by motorists in: Montana (-20 cents), Oklahoma (-20 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Missouri (-16 cents) and Illinois (-16 cents).

Retail averages had tumbled dramatically as of January of last year, and as a result the comparative savings at the pump are narrowing. However, the majority of drivers continue to experience yearly savings. Prices are down in 45 states and Washington, D.C. on the year and motorists in a total of 39 states and Washington, D.C. are benefitting from double-digit savings. Hawaii (-69 cents) is the only state posting a year-over-year savings of more than 50 cents per gallon. Drivers in five states are paying more than one year ago: California (+25 cents), Idaho (+20 cents), Nevada (+16 cents), Washington (+7 cents) and Utah (+5 cents).

Although oil prices did tick higher briefly mid-week, they were sent back lower  by last week’s end reportedly due to the assessment that Iranian oil will reenter the market is being viewed as more of a reality. Lower-for-longer prices are also beginning to lead to speculation about what has been described as “collateral damage,” which is essentially the impact of lower oil prices on other assets and markets. Reports are surfacing about future prices and estimates of anticipated losses in production from non-OPEC countries. Many expect the oil market to begin to rebalance in 2016, but a number of questions remain. Specifically, a central focus will be the impact of Iranian oil returning to market, and if any changes in global oil demand will be significant enough to help offset some of the current glut in supply.

WTI closed out last week down $1.78 and at $29.42 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed yesterday in observance of the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(January 11, 2016) Gas prices continue to drop to multi-year lows, with today’s average price of $1.97 per gallon representing the cheapest average price at the pump since March 23, 2009. Gas prices have fallen for 55 of the past 66 days for a total savings of 26 cents per gallon and should remain relatively low because there is more than enough oil and gasoline around the world to meet demand.  Drivers are saving three cents per gallon on the week, five cents per gallon on the month and 17 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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California continues to weather ongoing refinery issues and remains the most expensive state for gasoline. The Golden State ranks third in the nation in refining capacity and refineries in the state typically operate at higher-than-average levels to meet demand. Disruptions in production generally lead to noticeable spikes in the price at the pump, which are often exacerbated due to the market’s relative isolation and specific fuel requirements. Consumers in the region will likely experience price swings in the near term due to both planned and unplanned maintenance, and this could increase the national average price of gas even as prices drop in other parts of the country.

As a result of these supply challenges, California ($2.86) remains the most expensive market for gas ahead of second-place Hawaii ($2.67). Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.49), Alaska ($2.47) and Washington ($2.42) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. On the other end of the spectrum, Missouri ($1.66) and Oklahoma ($1.70) are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline. Motorists in 36 states are paying an average of less than $2 per gallon at the pump, and retail averages in 10 states are at or below the $1.75 per gallon benchmark.

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The vast majority of drivers are experiencing weekly savings at the pump. Discounts in the price of gas are less dramatic than in previous reports, and Oregon (-6 cents) is the only state where averages are down by more than a nickel per gallon week-over-week. Alaska is the only state where consumers are paying more to refuel their vehicles in comparison to one week ago, and retail averages moved higher by fractions of a penny over this same period.

Motorists in 45 states and Washington, D.C. are paying less to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Drivers in Montana (-22 cents), North Dakota (-16 cents), Missouri (-15 cents) and South Dakota (-14 cents) are benefiting from the largest monthly savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down by a dime or more per gallon in a total of 13 states, and drivers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. are benefiting from monthly discounts of a nickel or more per gallon. Consumers in five states are paying more at the pump versus one month ago, though California (+20 cents) and Alaska (+6 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than a nickel.

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Yearly savings are growing smaller because gas prices also were relatively low in January 2015, though the drivers in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are still saving because the cost of crude oil is lower today than a year ago. Hawaii (-75 cents) is the only state where prices are lower by  more than 50 cents per gallon versus this same date last year, and motorists in a total of 20 states and Washington, D.C. are savings a quarter or more per gallon at the pump. Consumers in four states: California (+25 cents), Idaho (+14 cents) Nevada (+14 cents) and Washington (+5 cents) are paying more for gas than a year ago.

Both oil benchmarks have posted losses for every day of trading in 2016, and as a result, closed out the week at lows unseen in more than a decade. Expectations that prices will continue to hover at multi-year lows are beginning to surface and market watchers are paying close attention to both China and the Middle East. Growth in China’s economy was once seen as a factor that could offset some of the market’s imbalance, though there is more uncertainty now that concerns over its economy continue to grow. Additionally, unlike historical trends where geopolitical instability in the Middle East has led to reductions in supply, the severing of diplomatic ties between Iran and other nations may lead to even more oil production within the region.

WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 11 cents, settling at $33.16 per barrel. This represents a loss of approximately 10 percent on the week and was the benchmark’s lowest settlement since February 9, 2004.

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.

Average U.S. Gas Prices Begin 2016 Under $2 per Gallon

January 4th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington – January 4, 2016) Gas prices rang in the New Year by reaching the lowest average price ($1.997) for the holiday since 2009.  Today’s average price of $1.99 per gallon is the cheapest average since March 25, 2009, and the national average has moved lower for 50 of the past 59 days, largely due to an abundance of crude oil. Pump prices are discounted by fractions of a penny on the week, by five cents per gallon on the month, and are down by 22 cents on the year.

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In 2015, consumers paid an annual average of $2.40 per gallon, which was the lowest annual average since 2009. Market fundamentals are positioned to continue to support consumer savings in 2016, though retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring. These price increases are expected to be seasonal, and barring any unanticipated events that dramatically impact global or domestic supply, the national average price is expected to remain below $3 per gallon in 2016.

A heavier-than-expected refinery maintenance season this fall, combined with unexpected refinery outages, has helped maintain California’s ($2.87) position as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. Drivers in the Golden State are paying an average price that is 19 cents per gallon more than second-place Hawaii ($2.68), which is typically the market’s leader. Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.46) round out the top five most expensive markets. Motorists in 34 states are paying averages below $2 per gallon. Missouri ($1.70), Oklahoma ($1.73), Arkansas ($1.74), South Carolina ($1.74) and Kansas ($1.75) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline.

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Pump prices have been relatively stable on the week, moving by +/-3 cents in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Averages are down in the majority of states (38) over this same period and drivers in North Dakota (-4 cents), Montana (-3 cents) and Delaware (-2 cents) are benefitting from the largest weekly savings in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska (+4 cents) and California (+4 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than fractions of a penny week-over-week.

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Gas prices are discounted in 43 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Retail averages have fallen by more than a nickel per gallon in 34 states and Washington, D.C. over this same time period, and 21 states are posting double-digit discounts.  The largest monthly savings are in Montana (-26 cents), Delaware (-19 cents), North Dakota (-18 cents) and Nebraska (-17 cents). Consumers in seven states are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one month ago. Prices continue to move higher in a less dramatic fashion, and California (+18 cents) is the only state where prices are up double-digits on the month, due to ongoing supply challenges. Michigan (+5 cents) and Alaska (+5 cents) join California as the only three states where prices are up more than a nickel per gallon month-over-month.

Averages typically fall during the winter months, and despite relatively lower pump prices year-over-year, savings are becoming less pronounced compared to recent months. Consumers in the vast majority of states (47) continue to experience yearly savings in the price of gasoline, and prices are down more than 25 cents per gallon in 26 states and Washington, D.C. For the first time since 2014, yearly price comparisons are higher in multiple states—California (+22 cents), Nevada (+6 cents) and Idaho (fractions of a penny).

Both crude oil benchmarks, West Texas Intermediate and Brent, closed out the year posting yearly losses of nearly 30 percent, largely attributed to global supply continuing to outpace demand. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East appear to be influencing global oil prices, and both benchmarks opened the week posting increases related to worries about supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia has reportedly cut diplomatic ties with Iran, following an incident that occurred at the Saudi embassy located in Iran, and market watchers will likely be paying close attention to how this situation continues to develop.

The domestic oil market is also being closely monitored for a number of factors that could impact production. The lower price environment is believed to have been a cause of the U.S. rig count falling by nearly two-thirds versus one year ago, and Congress also recently moved to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Oversupply currently characterizes the domestic oil market, and traders remain focused on domestic production and the global energy landscape.

WTI closed out the year up 44 cents and settled at $37.04 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

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

Julie HallNearly One in Three Americans to Take a Holiday Trip This Year

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 15, 2015) – AAA projects the number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record. Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season, with 100.5 million expected to journey 50 miles or more from home. This represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23, 2015 to Sunday, January 3, 2016.

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“The holidays are a time for joining with friends and family, and the record number of people traveling this holiday should make for a joyous travel season,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year, and more people than ever will choose to spend those savings on travel this year.”

The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by continued improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and low prices, including gas prices that remain well below last year’s levels. This is helping boost Americans’ disposable income, but some consumers continue to remain cautious about their finances as they head into the holiday season.

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for year-end holiday travel

More than 90 percent of travelers (91.3 million people) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.7 percent, with 5.8 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.4 percent, to 3.4 million travelers.

Lowest New Year’s gas prices in seven years expected

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas. Today’s national average is $2.01, 53 cents less than last year. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year’s Day since 2009.

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent lower this holiday season, falling to an average of $174 roundtrip. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings will be four percent higher this year, with travelers spending an average of $150 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen 11 percent with an average nightly cost of $119. Daily car rental rates will average $68, three percent higher than last year’s holiday travel season.

#AAAToTheRescue for nearly 900,000 motorists this holiday season

AAA expects to rescue nearly 900,000 motorists during the 12-day year-end holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

AAA cautions against impaired driving this holiday season

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five licensed drivers (21%) who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

“As we celebrate the holiday season, AAA urges travelers to be cautious about their safety and the safety of everyone sharing the roadways,” said Doney. “Ninety-seven percent of licensed drivers consider it unacceptable to drive when they may have had too much to drink, yet there is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death every 53 minutes.”

Download the AAA Mobile app before a year-end holiday getaway

Before setting out on a holiday trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 year-end holiday travel forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Mark Since 2009

December 14th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 14, 2015) U.S. drivers are paying the lowest average price for regular unleaded gasoline since 2009, and the national average is one cent away from dropping below $2 per gallon. These lower gas prices have been largely driven by the falling price of crude oil, which begins this week at its lowest mark in more than five years. U.S. average gas prices are 79 per gallon less than the 2015 peak, and the national average has moved lower for 33 of the past 38 days for a total savings of 21 cents per gallon. The average price at the pump is down two cents on the week, 16 cents on the month and 54 cents on the year.

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The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, closed out last week with a Friday settlement of $35.62 per barrel, a price not seen since the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Crude oil has tumbled approximately 60 percent compared to June 2014 as global supply continues to outpace demand. This imbalance is likely to continue into 2016, which should keep a ceiling on oil prices. Barring any disruptions in supply, consumers are expected to continue to benefit from noticeable fuel savings.

Retail averages are below $2 per gallon in 26 states. South Carolina ($1.79), Missouri ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79) are the nation’s least expensive markets, and drivers in these states are saving nearly $1 per gallon compared to the state with the highest average, which is Hawaii ($2.75). California ($2.65), Nevada ($2.49), Washington ($2.42) and Alaska ($2.39) round out the top five most expensive markets for gasoline.

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Gas prices are holding relatively steady and have moved by +/- 3 cents or less in 29 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices fall over this same period, and averages are down a nickel or more per gallon in six states, led by: Delaware (-8 cents), Minnesota (-6 cents) and North Dakota (-6 cents). Averages in seven states have moved higher on the week, led by Michigan (+8 cents).

Averages have fallen nationwide month-over-month, and with the exception of Alaska (-1 cent), consumers are benefitting from monthly savings of more than a nickel per gallon in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are down double-digits in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one month ago, and drivers in eight states are saving a quarter or more per gallon. The largest monthly discounts are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-36 cents), Minnesota (-30 cents) and Michigan (-30 cents).

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Pump prices typically fall during the winter months due to reduced demand for gasoline. Motorists nationwide continue to experience year-over-year savings, though today’s average is the smallest year-over-year savings of 2015. Alaska (-99 cents) and Hawaii (-96 cents) are the only two states where averages are down by more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year. Consumers in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are saving 50 cents or more per gallon versus this same date last year, and  California (-23 cents) is the only state posting a yearly savings of less than a quarter per gallon.

With both Brent and WTI reaching their cheapest levels since the global economic crisis, attention is now focused on the Federal Reserve’s potential action to raise interest rates. A strong U.S. jobs report has contributed to rumors that the Fed may increase its rate for the first time since 2008, which could further impact the global oil market. An increase in interest rates would be expected to result in a stronger U.S. dollar, which in turn makes oil (priced in U.S. dollars) a relatively more expensive investment for those holding other currencies, making it a less attractive investment. This could further exacerbate the market’s current oversupply and keep downward pressure on the global price of crude oil.

The U.S. oil rig count fell by its largest weekly increment in nearly three months (28 rigs), though strong production continues to oversupply the market. Members of Congress are also working on a budget deal that could include an end to the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. An end to the ban would allow unprocessed crude oil produced in the U.S. to enter the global oil market, which could impact both domestic production and global supply.

WTI opened the trading session below $35 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.14 and settled at $35.62 per barrel. This closing price represented a loss of nearly ten percent on the week.

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.

Majority of American Drivers on Naughty List

December 10th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Erin SteppNew AAA survey reveals three out of four American drivers park incorrectly*

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 10, 2015) – This holiday season, as parking lots at shopping malls fill with millions of vehicles, AAA warns drivers to avoid a common parking lot mistake. According to a new survey, more than three quarters (76 percent) of U.S. drivers most frequently park their vehicle by pulling forward into a parking spot, rather than backing in, a riskier practice that driving experts warn leaves pedestrians more vulnerable when a driver later reverses from the spot and into the traffic lane.

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“Recognizing that American parking habits differ from much of the world, automakers are increasingly adding technology to vehicles that is designed to address rear visibility concerns,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, AAA’s testing of these systems reveals significant shortcomings when used in real-world conditions and Americans should rely more on driving skills than technology.”

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested rear cross traffic alert systems, designed to alert drivers to traffic passing behind a reversing vehicle, and found significant system limitations exist when parked between larger vehicles, such as SUVs or minivans.  In this common parking lot scenario, the tested systems failed to detect pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and other vehicles at alarming rates:

  • A passing motorcycle was not detected by the systems in 48 percent of tests.
  • The systems failed to detect a bicycle passing behind the vehicle 40 percent of the time.
  • The systems failed to detect a passing vehicle 30 percent of the time.
  • While not all systems are designed to detect pedestrians, the technology failed to detect pedestrians 60 percent of the time.

“AAA’s independent testing showed that rear cross traffic alert systems failed to work effectively in several test vehicles,” cautioned Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “It’s critical that drivers reverse slowly and use this technology as an aid to, not a substitute for, safe driving.”

Previous AAA testing of rear-view camera systems, required on all new vehicles by 2018, revealed significant consumer benefits including increased visibility of the rear blind zone by an average of 46 percent.  However, it’s important to note that no system shows 100 percent of the space behind a vehicle and that rain, snow or slush can impede camera visibility.

“When it comes to parking, the majority of American drivers are on the naughty list this year,” continued Nielsen. “Pulling out of a parking spot, instead of reversing, is an easy way to increase safety and visibility in busy parking lots this holiday season.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

*AAA recommends that drivers reverse into parking spaces whenever possible, except where prohibited by law or parking lot restrictions. When faced with angled parking, drivers should follow the flow of traffic and pull forward into the parking space.

Julie HallAAA Members Can Save up to 30 Percent off Rentals, including Hertz’s Recommended “High-Low” Choices; Hertz has the Right Cars and SUVs for Winter Travel

Estero, Fla. and Orlando, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2015) – As winter settles in, The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ) and longtime-partner AAA have teamed up to provide recommendations for some of the best high- to low-priced cars and SUVs to rent in winter travel destinations across the country. From Miami to Aspen, Hertz offers suggestions for which vehicles within its fleet to rent for whatever winter weather customers may encounter during their travels. And, to help travelers make the most of their adventure, Hertz is offering substantial savings to AAA members. AAA members save up to 30 percent with Hertz, plus an additional $40 off weekly rentals using Promotion Code number (PC #) 306176 through January 31, 2016.

“As our exclusive car rental partner, Hertz offers AAA’s more than 55 million members a wide variety of money-saving discounts and exclusive offers. We are pleased to increase the regular member discount with additional rental savings through the busy holiday travel season,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “Last year, AAA forecast 98.6 million Americans would travel during the year-end holiday season, and selecting the right rental car for that journey is an important step in planning a safe and enjoyable holiday vacation.”

“One of the first things people do before traveling is check the weather of their final destination, which is a major factor in determining the type of vehicle to rent,” said Paul Sheldon, Senior Vice President Operations Planning and Support, North America.  “As one of the largest worldwide car rental companies, Hertz not only provides travelers across the country with a wide range of vehicles from which to choose, but in a wide range of prices, as well. So if heading to Miami this winter, travelers may enjoy a luxury convertible or an affordable compact car, while travelers to Aspen may have their pick of four-wheel-drive vehicles in a variety of price ranges in case of any inclement weather.”

Hertz offers the following high- to low-priced recommendations for travel destinations throughout the country, including key features that make winter travel easier. With more than 1,700 airport locations and approximately 3,695 off-airport locations in the U.S., Hertz offers speed and convenience for AAA members and other travelers.

San Diego, CA (mostly sunny, moderately warm with highs in the upper 60s)

  • Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Part of Hertz’s Green Traveler Collection, this eco-friendly vehicle, rated at 40 mpg city and 44 mpg highway, switches seamlessly between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver efficient power.
  • Mercedes SLK250 – There’s no better way to enjoy the city’s sunny days than with the top down. Take a drive down palm-lined Balboa Park in style in this two-seater convertible, part of Hertz’s Prestige Collection, and enjoy soaking up the sun.

Pocono Mountains, PA (cold, with probable snowfall)

  • Ford Escape – This midsize SUV provides ample room for a family or group of friends traveling to this region in northeastern Pennsylvania. A four-wheel-drive vehicle, it can handle potential snow and ice accumulations.
  • Range Rover – With the likelihood of snow this time of year, this Hertz Dream Car is a sturdy, four-wheel-drive vehicle that is necessary when traveling to the mountains.

*Both vehicles come with winter grade unleaded fuel, an ice scraper and a snow brush.

Albuquerque, NM (generally cool, with temperatures ranging from highs of upper 40s to lows in the upper 20s)

  • Ford Focus – This compact car is ideal for couples on a budget. Take advantage of the extra cash by booking time at a ski resort located just outside the city.
  • Chevrolet Tahoe – Roomy enough for the whole family to enjoy the unique traditions of the region’s holiday season.

Miami, FL (warm, dry and sunny, with average temperatures of 75-77 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Chevrolet Malibu – For families on a budget, this full-size car is ideal. Comfortably seat five and head to Zoo Miami or Biscayne National Park for a day of adventure.
  • Porsche Macan – A perfect combination of sport, luxury and utility, driving this Hertz Dream Car is the ultimate vacation experience. Explore downtown Miami while listening to Sirius XM Radio as an added (no charge) bonus.

San Antonio, TX (moderate weather with an average high in the mid 60s)

  • Chevy Cruze – A fuel saver, this vehicle is perfect for the budget conscious traveler, yet comfortable enough to take in the sights of the Alamo city.
  • Cadillac SRX Crossover – The Lone Star State shines during the holiday season, especially along the San Antonio River Walk, where thousands of lights form a twinkling canopy over a riverside path. Get there safely, and in style, in a vehicle that easily seats five while leaving ample room for belongings.

Aspen, CO (chilly, with snowfall heavier than half a foot)

  • Toyota Rav4 – With nothing but snow this time of year, this midsize SUV provides an affordable, all-wheel drive vehicle that is necessary when traveling to the Rocky Mountains.
  • GMC Yukon XL – This spacious SUV is large enough for family, friends and skiing and snowboarding gear all at once.

* Both vehicles come with winter grade unleaded fuel, an ice scraper and a snow brush.

“When you’re traveling in unfamiliar cities or towns, dealing with the uncertainty of weather can be stressful,” said Sheldon. “The newest Hertz NeverLost® GPS and its Companion mobile app include a convenient weather feature so you can determine current conditions at your destination ahead of time.”

Hertz and AAA have a longstanding partnership that dates back nearly 40 years, providing AAA members a special package of savings available when renting from Hertz. Exclusive discounts include free Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership; no charge for additional drivers who are also AAA members and meet standard rental qualifications; free use of one child, infant or booster seat; free unlimited mileage on most rentals; discounts off SiriusXM® Satellite Radio rental; and more.

If interested in learning about all of Hertz’s vehicle offerings, visit www.Hertz.com. AAA members can access exclusive discounts and make reservations at www.AAA.com/Hertz or via the AAA Mobile app.

 

About Hertz Global Holdings 
Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. operates the Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly car rental brands in more than 10,000 corporate and licensee locations throughout approximately 150 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand. Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. is one of the largest worldwide airport general use car rental companies with more than 1,600 airport locations in the U.S. and more than 1,400 airport locations internationally. Product and service initiatives such as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, NeverLost®, Carfirmations, Mobile Wi-Fi and unique vehicles offered through the Adrenaline, Dream, Green and Prestige Collections set Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. apart from the competition.  Additionally, Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. owns the vehicle leasing and fleet management leader Donlen Corporation, operates the Hertz 24/7 hourly car rental business in international markets and sells vehicles through its Rent2Buy program. The Company also owns Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation (“HERC”), one of the largest equipment rental businesses with more than 350 locations worldwide offering a diverse line of equipment and tools for rent and sale. HERC primarily serves the construction, industrial, oil, gas, entertainment and government sectors. For more information about Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., visit: www.hertz.com.

About AAA
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

National Average Nears Lowest Price Since 2009

December 7th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON – December 7, 2015) The national average is less than a penny higher than the 2015 low (January 26), and should soon fall below the $2 per gallon mark for the first time since 2009. Pump prices have fallen for 29 of the past 31 days, and today’s average price of $2.03 represents a savings of one cent per gallon on the week and 19 cents on the month. Significant yearly savings persist, and gas prices are discounted by 65 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices-12-7-15

During the winter months demand for gasoline typically declines, and pump prices tend to move lower as a result. Following a busier than usual fall maintenance season at refineries, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that refinery production is outpacing both 2014 and current demand. U.S. crude oil stocks are also within striking distance of an all-time high, and as a result, questions about continued production and storage capacity are beginning to arise. This combination of ample production and increasing gasoline inventories are likely to keep gas prices relatively low, and barring any unforeseen shifts in market fundamentals, averages are likely to continue to decline leading into 2016.

Hawaii ($2.79) leads the nation and is the only state where drivers are paying an average price above $2.75 per gallon. Regional neighbors California ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.44) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. South Carolina ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Oklahoma ($1.83) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline, and consumers in a total of 23 states are paying an average below $2 per gallon.

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices-12-7-15

Pump prices have been relatively steady over the past week, moving by +/-3 cents in the vast majority of states (45) during this span. Averages are down in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one week ago; however, prices declined at smaller increments than in recent weeks. Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-6 cents) are posting the largest savings on the week and are the only two states where drivers are experiencing weekly savings of more than a nickel per gallon. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in nine states are paying more to refuel their vehicles compared to one week ago, led by Ohio (+6 cents).

Top10-Largest-Monthly-Declines-12-7-15

Drivers nationwide are benefiting from monthly savings at the pump, largely due to gasoline production returning to levels not seen since the beginning of the seasonal turnaround. Gas prices have fallen by double-digit increments in 35 states and Washington, D.C. since one month ago, and motorists in 14 states are saving more than a quarter per gallon in the price at the pump over this same period. The largest month-over-month drops in the price of retail gasoline have been in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-53 cents), Wisconsin (-44 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-36 cents).

The relatively low price of crude oil is helping to sustain year-over-year discounts in the price of gasoline nationwide. Retail averages are down more than 50 cents per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in a dozen states are saving at least 75 cents per gallon versus this same date last year. Alaska (-$1.05) and Hawaii (-$1.00), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, are also the only two states where drivers are saving $1 or more per gallon compared to one year ago.

OPEC’s decision at its meeting last week to sustain its current production levels sent ripples through the global oil market and has contributed to lower oil prices. The cartel is not scheduled to reconvene until June 2016, and in the interim the imbalance between supply and demand will likely persist. Market watchers will remain focused on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates on the heels of a strong U.S. jobs report. A higher interest rate typically leads to a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes oil relatively more expensive for those holding foreign currencies. The combination of these factors has the ability to further exacerbate the global oil market’s state of oversupply and keep downward pressure on prices.

The domestic oil market is also reflecting signs of oversupply. Both crude oil and gasoline inventories are approaching record levels even as lower prices impact exploration and production. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic oil and gas extraction sector lost upwards of 2,400 jobs during the month of November. This follows the October report which showed the sector shedding approximately 2,700 jobs.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.11 and settled at $39.97 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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2015) AAA’s President and CEO, Marshall Doney, has released the following statement in response to Congressional passage of a five-year transportation bill today.

“AAA is pleased to see Congress finally pass a multi-year transportation bill to ease congestion, improve safety and modernize our roads and bridges. Drivers have waited years for needed highway improvements, and there is now hope that we are on a path towards easing many of the problems that commuters face every day.

“The legislation is not perfect and long-term funding will remain a problem for Congress to address in the future. Despite those ongoing challenges, the current bill should help state transportation departments to make long-overdue improvements across the country.

“It is encouraging to see Congress come together make the compromises necessary to pass legislation of this magnitude.  Millions of Americans drive every day, and they deserve a highway system that safely moves people and goods as quickly as possible.  The passage of this bill should help make safe and efficient transportation a reality, and AAA is proud to have helped to make this happen.”

Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers, and it is North America’s largest motoring and travel organization with more than 55 million members.

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