Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

Gas Prices May Drop in Time for Summer

April 1st, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile

 

(WASHINGTON, April 1, 2015)

Gas Prices Remain Relatively Stable and Cheap for Most Drivers

  • Gas prices remained relatively stable in March with the national average up only about two cents per gallon during the month. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.41 per gallon, which is about $1.15 per gallon less than a year ago.
  • “This spring has been relatively pain free at the pumps for most drivers with a few exceptions,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Gas prices in most places are still relatively cheap and we have not seen the national average jump at the same dramatic rates that have been so common during the spring in recent years.”
  • Average U.S. gas prices are up 37 cents per gallon since falling to near a six-year low of $2.03 per gallon on Jan. 26, 2015. It is common for gas prices to rise 50 cents per gallon or more in late winter and early spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline production.
  • The average price of gas in March was $2.43 per gallon, which was the cheapest average for the month since 2009.
  • The cost of crude oil has remained volatile despite relative stability in gas prices. West Texas Intermediate oil prices closed as high as $51.53 per barrel in early March, but also closed at a six-year low of $43.46 per barrel on March 17 before rising again later in the month. Crude oil prices make up more than half of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
  • A refinery explosion and other production problems led to a significant spike in gas prices in states west of the Rockies in late February and early March, as California’s average reached a high of $3.44 per gallon on March 6. It can be difficult for local production to meet demand when California’s refineries experience problems because there are no pipelines that connect the state to the major refining regions east of the Rockies. Average prices in California have since dropped about 26 cents per gallon.
  • Drivers in the Midwest also faced a brief spike in gas prices in March as several large refineries in the region experienced temporary problems. For example, gas prices in Illinois jumped more than 33 cents per gallon, but have since begun to decline as refineries return to normal operations.

AAA Sees Possibility of Lower Gas Prices by the Summer

  • Lower gas prices may be on the way for U.S. consumers by this summer if refinery maintenance ends smoothly and if crude oil remains relatively cheap. It is even possible that gas prices will return to near $2 per gallon in some areas, as long as there are no unexpected problems in the meantime. AAA does not expect the national average to rise above $3 per gallon this year.
  • “There is a real hope that gas prices could drop significantly in time for the busy summer driving season,” continued Ash. “The overall outlook looks good for drivers, and with any luck we will avoid the types of problems that often lead to higher gas prices at this time of year.”
  • Many refineries have completed seasonal maintenance, though unexpected problems could still occur. Many refineries and wholesalers will switch to more expensive summer-blend gasoline by May 1 to meet EPA clean air regulations.
  • The cost of crude oil is likely to be the most important factor influencing gas prices over the next few months. Many experts believe that crude oil prices may drop further due to abundant supplies, but international conflict, declining production or other issues could result in higher prices.
  • There is a glut of petroleum around the world that has helped to keep prices at the lowest levels since 2009. Domestic oil production remains about 14 percent higher than a year ago. U.S. commercial crude oil supplies are about 24 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline supplies are about six percent higher than a year ago. In addition, a nuclear deal with Iran may allow that country to export more crude oil, which would further increase global oil supplies.
  • There remains a possibility that oil prices could rise despite abundant supplies. Most recently, the market has been concerned that the conflict in Yemen could lead to violence in major oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Households Saving more than $100 a Month on Gasoline

  • Many drivers are saving $15-$30 on every trip to the gas station due to lower prices. AAA estimates that households are saving more than $425 million per day on gasoline compared to a year ago, which works out to average savings of more than $100 per household a month.
  • About 93 percent of U.S. gas stations are selling gas that is priced between $2 and $3 per gallon. About 1 in 3 stations are still selling gas for less than $2.25 per gallon. A year ago, nearly every station in the country was selling gas for more than $3 per gallon.
  • The most common price in the country today is $2.299 per gallon, which compares to $3.599 per gallon a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: California ($3.19), Hawaii ($3.15), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80), and Washington ($2.75). The five states with the lowest average prices today include: South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14), New Jersey ($2.16), Mississippi ($2.16) and Alabama ($2.17).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

Michael Green Contact TileWASHINGTON, D.C, (March 30, 2015) – AAA’s CEO Bob Darbelnet has issued the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation’s introduction of the GROW America Act today, a bill to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements over six years.

“As states begin springtime road construction projects, AAA is pleased that Secretary Foxx and President Obama have put forward a blueprint for improving the nation’s roads and bridges. This transportation and infrastructure proposal promises to keep America globally competitive in a rapidly changing world.

“The goals of the GROW AMERICA Act are commendable.  For example, additional funding for NHTSA and its vehicle recall program should enhance driver safety. Improving performance incentives to maintain the quality of the nation’s roads and bridges should also help to restore driver confidence that highways are managed wisely and efficiently.

“Despite these improvements, we are disappointed the bill fails to identify a long-term and viable funding source to address the Highway Trust Fund shortfall.  Repatriation of corporate overseas profits might provide an infusion of money for construction and repairs, but it’s a temporary solution that does not solve our funding crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that increasing the federal gas tax is the most effective and sustainable way to pay for roads and bridges in the near term, provided the additional funds are invested in improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Retail Gas Price Rally Fades

March 30th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015)  Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.42 per gallon. Consumers are paying two cents more than one month ago but fractions of a penny less than one week ago and $1.13 less than the same date last year. The national average has now fallen for 17 of the past 23 days.

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The status of regional refineries continues to be a driving factor for gas prices in many parts of the country. However, while several weeks ago it was refineries going offline and driving prices higher in the midwest and west coast, today it is those facilities resuming production that has driven prices lower in the same regions. For more than a month California has been the nation’s most expensive state for gasoline. Today’s price in the Golden State is $3.20 followed by Hawaii ($3.14), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80) and Washington ($2.75). South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14) and New Jersey ($2.16) are the least expensive markets in the country for retail gasoline.

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Consumers in 34 states and Washington, D.C., are paying less at the pump than one week ago, with the largest price drops in Michigan (-11 cents), California (-6 cents) and Oregon (-4 cents). Over the same period the price has moved higher in 16 states. The most dramatic increase was in Florida, where prices rose more than 10 cents during this span. While weekly declines have been experienced in many states, gas prices are still higher over the past month in most of the country. The price at the pump has increased in 32 states and Washington, D.C., with consumers in nine states paying premiums of a dime or more per gallon compared to a month ago. The largest monthly increases have occurred in Utah (+46 cents), Idaho (+44 cents) and Illinois (+22 cents).

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While prices over the past month are higher for many drivers, year-over-year price comparisons continue to highlight universal savings. Sharply lower oil prices have resulted in substantially less expensive gas prices in every state, including a price at the pump that is discounted by $1 or more per gallon in 43 states and Washington, D.C.

After briefly rising back above $50 per barrel last week, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped back below that threshold to end last week. Crude prices have fallen to multi-year lows due largely to ample global production. The possibility of increased exports from Iran should a nuclear deal be reached this week would further increase production and has for now offset any “risk premium” stemming from regional stability due to violence in Yemen. A possible deal between the West and Iran could bring an estimated 500,000 barrels per day of additional oil to the global market, which would add more supply to an already well-supplied market and exert further downward pressure on crude prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down $2.56 at $48.87 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact TileUnprecedented Look into the Causes of Teen Crashes by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 25, 2015) – The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.

Additional Resources

Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.

“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”

The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
  • Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes
  • Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
  • Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes

“It is troubling that passengers and cell phones were the most common forms of distraction given that these factors can increase crash risks for teen drivers,” said AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet. “The situation is made worse by the fact that young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel and cannot draw upon their previous experience to manage unsafe conditions.”

Researchers found that drivers manipulating their cell phone (includes calling, texting or other uses), had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also measured reaction times in rear-end crashes and found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half of the time before the impact, meaning  they crashed without braking or steering.

“This study shows how important it is for states to review their graduated driver licensing and distracted driving laws to ensure they provide as much protection as possible for teens,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving.”

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by restricting their exposure to risky situations. Thirty-three states have laws that prevent cell phone use for teens and 18 states have passenger restrictions meeting AAA’s recommendations.

Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving. AAA recommends that parents teach teens about the dangers of cell phone use and restrict passengers during the learning-to-drive process.  Before parents begin practice driving with teens, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction. AAA offers a comprehensive driver education program, where teens can learn specifically how using a cell phone affects driving abilities and increases their crash risk. For more information, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.​

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.

The full research report and b-roll video of teen driver crashes is available on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Iowa to conduct this study.

Lytx™, Inc., a global leader in video-based driver safety technology using in-vehicle event recorders, provided the collision videos. The Lytx DriveCam program collects video, audio and accelerometer data when a driver triggers an in-vehicle device by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force. Each video is 12-seconds long and provides information from before and after the trigger. The videos are used in the DriveCam Program for coaching drivers to improve behavior and reduce collisions.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Crude Oil Prices Reach a Six-Year Low

March 23rd, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015) The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached a six-year low this past week, keeping downward pressure on the national price of gasoline. This downward pressure has, at least temporarily, offset potential price gains from robust demand, regional refinery maintenance and the seasonal transition to more expensive summer-blend gasoline. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.42 per gallon. Consumers are paying fractions of a penny less than one week ago, 14 cents more than one month ago and continue to save more than $1 dollar per gallon ($1.10) in comparison to this same date last year. The national average has now fallen for 13 of the past 16 days.

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Despite steady gasoline production following a number of regional refinery issues, drivers on the West Coast continue to pay some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline. Warmer temperatures in the region are credited with driving increased demand, and with ExxonMobil’s Los Angeles-area refinery and Tesoro’s Martinez refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area both running at reduced rates, supply has been unable to keep pace with growing demand. For the fourth consecutive week California ($3.27) remains the nation’s most expensive state for gasoline, followed by Hawaii ($3.15), Alaska ($2.92), Nevada ($2.82) and Oregon ($2.79). South Carolina ($2.11), Tennessee ($2.15) and Alabama ($2.16) are the least expensive markets in the country for retail gasoline.

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Consumers in 38 states are experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump, with the largest price drops seen in California (-10 cents), Minnesota (-8 cents) and Maine (-7 cents). The movements in price were relatively small in the majority of these states (- 3 cents or less), with the average price falling by a nickel or more in only six states.  On the other end of the spectrum, the price has moved higher in 12 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in six states are paying  an extra nickel or more per gallon, with the biggest jumps in price seen in the Midwestern states of Illinois (+27 cents), Michigan (+24 cents) and Indiana (+17 cents). Dramatic price swings are unfortunately nothing new for Midwest drivers who have seen frequent price volatility in recent years. This most recent increase has been keyed by issues at two major regional refineries: BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. and ExxonMobil’s refinery in Joliet, Ill.

The majority of drivers are paying more at the pump compared to one month ago. With the exception of Tennessee (+2 cents), pump prices have moved higher in 48 states and Washington, D.C. by a nickel or more per gallon month-over-month. Consumers in 30 states are paying premiums of a dime or more per gallon, versus one month ago , with the largest increases occurring in Utah (+50 cents), Idaho (+50 cents) and California (+37 cents). Delaware (-2 cents) and Georgia (-1 cent) are the only two states to buck this trend by posting monthly savings in the price at the pump.

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Year-over-year price comparisons continue to reflect an overall savings for motorists. The price at the pump is discounted in every state and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (41) and Washington, D.C. posting savings of $1 or more per gallon. Retail prices are down by more than $1.25 in three states: Colorado (-$1.38), Indiana (-$1.29) and Connecticut (-$1.27).

Global crude prices continued to tumble with reports of growing supply and the strengthening U.S. dollar. The likelihood of a possible nuclear deal between the West and Iran also has the potential to bring more oil to the global market. Additionally, comments by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister yesterday indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not cut oil production to increase global oil prices, instead electing to let the market self-correct.

The domestic oil market in the U.S is facing similar oversupply dynamics and concerns that rising U.S. production could outpace storage capacity is contributing to lower prices. WTI fell to its lowest level since the 2009 Great Recession this past week, although prices did recover some of those losses to end the week. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.76 at $45.72 per barrel.

 

Gas Prices Drop for Nine Straight Days

March 16th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015) After rising for 40 days in a row, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has now fallen for nine straight days to today’s average of $2.42 per gallon. Today’s national average is three cents less than one week ago, but 18 cents more than one month ago. Compared to this same date last year, consumers are saving an average of $1.09 per gallon at the pump.

Gas prices may continue to drop in the near future due to a steep decline in the cost of crude oil. Crude oil prices declined by more than 10 percent last week due to abundant supplies, a stronger U.S. dollar, and the possibility of even more oil entering the market soon. Every $10 per barrel decline in the cost of crude oil can send gas prices down by nearly 25 cents per gallon.

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The national average tends to moves higher this time of year because refineries conduct planned maintenance, which can limit fuel production. Refineries are also beginning to transition to summer-blend fuel in advance of the May 1 deadline. As part of this process, refineries draw down current inventories of winter-blend fuel, which can further constrain supplies. However, gas prices should remain relatively cheap because crude oil costs are much lower than recent years and U.S. inventories have risen for nine straight weeks, which should keep downward pressure on retail gasoline markets.

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The West Coast is still recovering from localized refinery issues and remains the nation’s most expensive region for retail gasoline. Motorists in California ($3.37) continue to pay the highest pump prices in the nation, and the retail price is likely to remain relatively high due to lingering limited supply. California is followed by Hawaii ($3.14), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.87) and Oregon ($2.86) as the nation’s the top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in South Carolina ($2.14), Indiana ($2.19) and Tennessee ($2.19) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

Weekly price comparisons in most states reflect relatively stable prices, with the average price moving by +/- 2 cents in 36 states. However, a handful of states have seen prices move more dramatically. Prices in Idaho (+15 cents) and Utah (+14 cents) have moved sharply higher, largely due to regional refinery issues, while one-week price drops in Ohio (-12 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents) headline the 42 states where prices have fallen.

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Month-over-month comparisons continue to show that the majority of drivers (45 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying more at the pump. The average price for retail gasoline has climbed by more than a dime per gallon in 42 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in four states have seen prices increase by 50 cents or more over this same period: California (+60 cents), Oregon (+52 cents), Washington (+51 cents) and Idaho (+51 cents). A handful of Midwest states are bucking this trend, as prices are down in Indiana (-12 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Michigan (-4 cents) and Illinois (-2 cents) versus one month ago.

Despite fluctuations in the retail gasoline market, consumers are still experiencing significant savings year-over-year. The average price is discounted in every state and Washington, D.C. compared to this same date last year. Drivers in seven states are saving $1.25 or more per gallon, led by Indiana (-$1.50), Michigan (-$1.47) and Ohio (-$1.45).

The global oil market remains oversupplied, and relatively high U.S. production levels continue to support bearish market sentiment. This trend is likely to continue as warmer weather in the Bakken region of the United States allows for increased output after production levels in the region slipped in January.

The possibility of geopolitical events in major production regions is likely keep the market relatively volatile in the near term. Speculation is beginning about the agenda for OPEC’s first scheduled meeting of the year, and whether the cartel will intervene to cut oil production in order to pressure prices higher in the global market. Without signals of a decision being made in advance of this meeting, the market will be left to self-regulate in search of bottom.

The divergence between Brent and West Texas Intermediate, the two most cited oil benchmarks, remains approximately $10 per barrel, just shy of February’s 14-month high of $13 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI fell $2.21 and settled at $44.84 per barrel.

JulieHallSun destinations are travelers’ top getaways following harsh winter

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 12, 2015) – As snow continues in many parts of the country, travelers are ready to escape to warmer weather and sunny destinations, according to AAA. Warm destinations offering fun-filled activities for families will experience the largest influx of travelers this spring season, followed by ever-popular vacation destinations Washington, D.C., New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

 

AAA Travel’s top spring travel destinations, based on AAA.com hotel bookings, are:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Los Angeles, Calif. (Anaheim)
  3. San Diego, Calif.
  4. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  5. Miami, Fla.
  6. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. New York, N.Y.
  9. Seattle, Wash.
  10. San Francisco, Calif.

“It’s clear that travelers are seeking warm weather destinations this spring as they look to escape the cold after a particularly harsh winter,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing. “In addition to great domestic destination getaways, cruises, tours and vacation packages to international destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean are also popular vacations this spring.”

Theme parks continue to be a popular vacation option, as evidenced by Orlando and Los Angeles holding top spots on this year’s list. Universal Orlando Resort is an increasingly popular destination with new attractions including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the new family-friendly Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

AAA Vacations, a collection of cruises, guided tours and independent vacations, offers unique, engaging travel experiences that range from exploring the Galapagos to touring America’s national parks, and are available at more than 1,000 AAA Travel offices. Each itinerary is designed with the AAA member in mind and includes built-in value along with exclusive member benefits such as 24/7 Member Care and Best Price Guarantee.

With all the options available to travelers today, vacation planning can be a daunting task. To maximize a spring break vacation, AAA recommends travelers seek the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience. For more information and to begin planning a vacation, visit AAA.com/Travel.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 9, 2015) The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline fell yesterday for the first time since increasing for 40 consecutive days, which was the longest streak of daily price increases since 2011. During this period, average gas prices increased by 43 cents per gallon, but have fallen by a half cent since Saturday. While today’s price of $2.45 per gallon is three cents more than one week ago and 28 cents more than one month ago, pump prices continue to reflect a substantial yearly discount. Compared to the same date last year motorists are saving an average of $1.04 per gallon.

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Retail gas prices typically trend higher this time of year as suppliers undergo maintenance and plan to reduce winter grade fuel in preparation for the changeover to summer-grade gasoline, which is more costly to produce. West Coast markets have seen particularly dramatic run-ups over the last several weeks due to a number of supply issues. An explosion last month at ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, Calif. has kept that facility running at severely reduced rates.  Production at Tesoro’s refinery in Martinez, Calif. also remains limited as it aims to restart after recent planned maintenance.

The result for motorists is a statewide average in California ($3.43) that is the highest in the nation and 30 cents more expensive than second-place Hawaii. Environmental regulations require the state to sell specialized blends of gasoline, which limits the state’s ability to substitute fuel from neighboring markets to overcome supply shortages. It also can be difficult for the West Coast to meet demand when there are refinery disruptions because there are no pipelines to major refining regions east of the Rockies. The West Coast is the most expensive region for retail gasoline with Alaska ($2.90), Oregon ($2.88) and Nevada ($2.88) rounding out the nation’s top five most expensive markets. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.16), Wyoming ($2.16) and Montana ($2.20) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

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The majority of drivers nationwide are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. Prices have moved higher in 45 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week, led by the Rocky Mountain states of Idaho (+21 cents) and Utah (+21 cents). Motorist in 30 states are paying a nickel or more per gallon and the price at the pump has moved higher in six states by a dime or more per gallon in comparison to one week ago. Over this same period, the price at the pump has fallen in five Mid-continent states: Michigan (-13 cents), Indiana (-11 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Illinois (-5 cents) and Kentucky (-2 cents). Two-week price comparisons reflect a similar trend with prices rising in 47 states. The most dramatic increases in retail averages over this two-week period have been on the West Coast. California (+48 cents), Oregon (+43 cents) and Washington (+40 cents) are joined by five additional states where drivers are paying more than a quarter per gallon versus 14 days ago.

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Monthly comparisons show rising prices in every state and Washington, D.C. Twenty-seven states are paying an average of a quarter or more per gallon and the price has moved higher by a dime or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period. Consumers on the West Coast have again experienced the most extreme jumps in price with California (+84 cents), Oregon (+66 cents), Washington (+63 cents) and Nevada (+57 cents) boasting month-over-month increases of more than 50 cents per gallon.

Year-over-year savings continue to erode as production challenges in California and seasonal refinery maintenance across the country pressure prices higher in many markets. The average price for retail gasoline remains cheaper in every state and Washington, D.C., however, the number of states posting a yearly savings of $1 or more (38 states) continues to diminish. California (-47 cents) is the only state where savings are less than 50 cents per gallon, and drivers in five states are saving more than $1.25 per gallon: Michigan (-$1.41), Indiana (-$1.36), Colorado (-$1.35), Illinois (-$1.32) and Ohio (-$1.27).

The global price of crude oil remains volatile due to speculations about possible production cuts due to oversupply and news of rising global demand. Absent any intervention from OPEC, global prices are expected to continue to fluctuate as markets attempt to self-regulate and find balance. U.S. production continues to hit record levels, and according to the EIA’s most recent report, stockpiles have climbed to their highest weekly levels since the energy agency started collecting statistical data on the subject in 1982. Abundant domestic supply has also kept the spread between WTI and Brent crude relatively wide. The gap in price currently stands at about $10 per barrel. Historically, when the global market is balanced, the disparity in benchmark pricing is around plus or minus $2 per barrel; however the spread has varied widely over the past several years.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.15 settling at $49.61 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact Tile

Drivers Face Longest Streak of Rising Gas Prices in Two Years

(WASHINGTON, March 02, 2015)

  • U.S. average gas prices have increased 35 days in a row for a total of 39 cents per gallon, which is the longest consecutive streak of rising prices since February 2013. Gas prices are up primarily due to a combination of rising crude oil costs, refinery maintenance and unplanned production problems.
  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2.43 per gallon. The national average increased about 13 cents per gallon during the past week, which is the largest one-week jump since July 2013. Despite recent increases, the national average remains about $1.03 per gallon less than a year ago.
  • “Paying $2 for gas will seem like a distant memory for most drivers in the coming weeks,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Gasoline remains much cheaper than in recent years, but drivers may not appreciate that fact given the steep increase in price over the past month.”
  • The average price of gas in February was $2.23 per gallon, which was the cheapest February average since 2009. The average in February 2014 was $3.34 per gallon.
  • U.S. average gas prices reached a low of $2.03 per gallon on January 26 after dropping for a record 123 consecutive days. Gas prices have increased every day since reaching that low.
  • Crude oil prices have increased since late January, which has helped push gas prices higher nationwide. The price of globally traded Brent crude has increased by more than $12 per barrel, while domestic WTI is up by more than $4 per barrel. Crude oil is the primary component of gasoline, and every $1 increase in the cost of crude oil can lead to a nearly 2.5 cent per gallon increase in the price of gasoline.
  • Gas prices typically rise this time of year as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit fuel production and supplies at a time when demand begins to rise. Many refineries conduct maintenance in late winter and early spring so that equipment will run smoothly during the busy summer driving season. Last year, average gas prices increased by about 43 cents per gallon from early February to late April.
  • California’s gas prices have increased by about 95 cents to an average of $3.39 per gallon in just 31 days. In the past week alone, average prices in California are up 43 cents per gallon. Gas prices in neighboring states also have begun to increase quickly given the supply issues in California.
  • Drivers in California face higher gas prices due to in part to an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery near Los Angeles, which has limited gasoline production at a time when refinery production already is down because of seasonal maintenance. The refinery typically produces nearly 10 percent of the gasoline sold in the state, and the decline in production has helped lead to lower regional supplies. It can be difficult for local production to meet demand when California’s refineries experience problems because there are no pipelines that connect the state to the major refining regions east of the Rockies.

AAA Expects Gas Prices to March Higher During the Month

  • AAA believes the national average price of gas could rise by 20 cents per gallon or more in March as refinery maintenance season continues. Despite the expected increase, most regions should see prices remain much lower compared to recent years due to cheaper crude oil costs and above-average gasoline supplies.
  • “Gas prices likely will rise higher in March as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance,” continued Ash. “The good news is that most U.S. drivers should still pay less than $3 per gallon to fill up their cars this year.”
  • Domestic stocks of crude oil have climbed to a record 434 million barrels due to abundant production. This crude glut is likely to continue as refineries conduct maintenance and produce less petroleum in the coming weeks, which should help limit any price increases for crude oil.
  • Unexpected refinery problems can happen throughout the year given that refineries operate complex machinery. Unfortunately for drivers, any additional unexpected problems this month could lead to a temporary surge in prices because overall production already is down due to maintenance.
  • Refinery production has so far been largely unaffected by the ongoing labor strike by the United Steelworkers, with the exception of the Tesoro refinery near San Francisco, which has extended its maintenance period due to the strike. The market will closely watch whether the strike expands or begins to impact production.

Very Few Stations Selling Gas for Less than $2 per Gallon Today

  • Only about one percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, which is a dramatic reversal from January when more than 6 in 10 stations were selling gas for less than that price.
  • About 18 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today, which is about five times as many as a month ago. Nearly seven percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $3 per gallon, which compares to just a handful of stations a month ago.
  • The most common price in the country today is $2.299 per gallon, yet the most common price in January was 1.899 per gallon.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: California ($3.39), Hawaii ($3.05), Nevada ($2.79), Oregon ($2.78) and Alaska ($2.77). The five states with the lowest average prices today include: Utah ($2.05), Idaho ($2.05), Wyoming ($2.09), Montana ($2.11) and South Carolina ($2.13).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 2, 2015) Significant price jumps in West Coast markets due to refinery outages and operational issues have kept upward pressure on the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline. The national average has moved higher for 35 consecutive days, the longest streak of increases since February 2013, during which the national average has increased 39 cents per gallon. Today’s price of $2.43 per gallon represents an increase of 13 cents in comparison to one week ago. The 13-cent weekly increase is the largest spike since July 2013. Although the price at the pump remains at a significant discount in comparison to this same date last year, consumer savings continue to narrow and are currently at $1.03 per gallon – 22 cents per gallon below the peak savings of $1.25 per gallon on January 26.

2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices

Gas prices historically tend to rise during this time of year as refineries nationwide conduct planned seasonal maintenance that can limit fuel production. However, unexpected refinery outages on the West Coast have exacerbated seasonal production declines, and the price at the pump has jumped significantly higher in impacted markets. Drivers in California have been subject to the most dramatic increases. Average price for retail gasoline in the state climbed by 13 cents over a 24-hour period due to supply shortages and the impact of last week’s explosion at ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, California, and the broader price impact is currently being felt in a number of West Coast markets.

California ($3.39) has unseated Hawaii ($3.05) as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline for the first time since October 2012. Unlike other states, California cannot easily import gasoline from neighboring markets due to environmental regulations that require specialized fuel blends in the state. The neighboring states of Nevada ($2.79), Oregon ($2.78) and Washington ($2.72) have also been impacted by the regional production issues, and are joined by Alaska ($2.77) as the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline. No state is posting an average below the $2 per gallon threshold. Motorists in Utah ($2.05), Idaho ($2.05) and Wyoming ($2.09) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

Top10-Lowest-Average-Gas-Prices-3-2-15

Retail averages have moved higher in every state and Washington, D.C. over the past week. Consumers on the West Coast have seen the sharpest increases in the price at the pump over this period, led by: California (+43 cents), Oregon (+32 cents) and Washington (+27 cents). The price is up by a dime or more per gallon in 20 states, and motorists in 47 states and Washington, D.C. are paying at least a nickel more per gallon to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. This trend also holds true for two-week price comparisons, where 44 states are posting premiums of a dime or more per gallon. The largest two-week increases have also taken place in California (+59 cents), Oregon (+42 cents) and Washington (+38 cents).

Top10-Largest-Weekly-Increase-3-2-15

With the exception of Hawaii (-9 cents), monthly comparisons show American motorists are paying more to refuel their vehicles than one month ago. Month-over-month prices are up by more than a dime per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and 38 states are registering premiums of a quarter or more per gallon. Drivers in California (+95 cents), Oregon (+66 cents), Washington (+59 cents) and Nevada (+58 cents) once again headline increases, with prices moving higher by more than 50 cents per gallon over this period.

Production concerns in California, along with the broader impact of seasonal refinery maintenance, have further eroded the year-over-year savings experienced by many drivers nationwide. Although the price at the pump remains discounted in every state and Washington, D.C., six fewer markets (40) than one week ago are posting yearly savings of $1 or more per gallon. While yearly discounts are narrowing, five states continue to post savings of $1.25 or more: Colorado ($1.35), Michigan ($1.27), Connecticut ($1.26), Idaho ($1.26) and Utah ($1.26).

Volatility remains a central theme in the global oil market, and reports of increased production from Libya and a rise in exports from Iraq will likely keep global prices on the move. U.S. production companies are beginning to scale back plans for exploration and production, and the number of U.S. oil rigs in operation continues to decrease in light of shrinking profit margins and the global market’s continuing oversupply. Nevertheless, production remains high and stocks continue to build. This abundance in domestic production is widening the gap between the domestic benchmark WTI and its global counterpart Brent crude. The gap in price, which is now approximately $13 per barrel, is viewed by analysts as an advantage for U.S. refineries.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.59 settling at $49.76 per barrel.

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