Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

As the national gas price average drops just two cents on the week to $2.47, states east of the Mississippi are paying as much as eight cents less at the start of this week. While gas prices are more expensive than a year ago, the past five weeks of sustained weekly declines indicate that demand may be leveling out alongside refineries and pipelines returning to pre-hurricane operations.

“Gas stations are steadily dropping pump prices for the majority of motorists, especially regional markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South and Southeast,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Drivers will see stabilized or decreasing prices at the pump throughout this month due to high refinery production rates and seasonal demand.”

In September, Hurricane Harvey drove gas prices to the highest price of the year – $2.67. That was a 32-cent increase inside of 12 days. Now nearly seven weeks post hurricane, gas prices have shown steady decline dropping a total of 20 cents since September 11, 2017. 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.04), Alaska ($3.00), Washington ($2.93), Oregon ($2.77), Nevada ($2.73), Connecticut ($2.72), Idaho ($2.71), Washington, D.C. ($2.70) and New York ($2.67).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+13 cents), Michigan (+12 cents), Indiana (+10 cents), South Carolina (-7 cents), Georgia (-7 cents), Tennessee (-7 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Texas (-7 cents), North Carolina (-6 cents) and Alabama (-6 cents).

 

South and Southeast

South Carolina (-7 cents), Georgia (-7 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Texas (-7 cents) and Alabama (-6 cents) all land on this week’s states with the largest changes. The state with the cheapest average gas price in the region is Arkansas ($2.21) and the most expensive average in the region is Florida ($2.47).

As prices steadily decline for motorists in the South and Southeast, they will notice today’s gas prices are double-digits below prices compared to one month ago in Georgia (-29 cents), South Carolina (-28 cents), Florida (-25 cents), Alabama (-25 cents), Texas (-22 cents), Mississippi (-21 cents), Arkansas (-18 cents), Louisiana (-14 cents) and Oklahoma (-10 cents).

While the South and Southeast tout the largest inventory of any region in the country, levels are both 5 million bbl below pre-Harvey rates and levels this time last year. As inventories continue to build, motorists can expect gas prices to drop alongside the build.   

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

For a second week, Tennessee (-7 cents) and North Carolina (-6 cents) saw the largest drop in gas prices of all states in the region. The most expensive gas price averages in the region can be found in Connecticut ($2.72), the District of Columbia ($2.70), New York ($2.67) and Pennsylvania ($2.67), which were also the four most expensive regional states one month ago. However, the differentiator is that gas prices in these four states are 13 to 21cents cheaper on the month. Overall, gas prices in the region are following the national trend downward and are expected to continue that path throughout the fall.

With a 1.27 million bbl increase in gasoline inventories, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw the largest build of any region, though imports account for roughly 715,000 bbl of the build. Total inventories sit ahead of levels this time last year, albeit just by 278,000 bbl, according to the EIA

Great Lakes and Central

Defying the national trend, five states in the Great Lakes and Central region are paying more at the pump than a week ago: Ohio (+13 cents), Michigan (+12 cents), Indiana (+10 cents), Illinois (+4 cents) and Kentucky (+3 cents). This increase is flip-flopped from last week, when Ohio, Michigan and Indiana saw almost equal declines. All other states in the region are paying less at the pump, with Nebraska (-5 cents) seeing the largest decline on the week. Gas prices in the region have been volatile throughout the year due to varying factors: demand, hurricane impact, inventory levels, etc.

The Great Lakes and Central region was the only in the country to see gasoline inventories drop on the week. At 49.7 million bbl, inventories register at the lowest level since December 2016. This is the third straight week of inventory declines, according to the EIA. However, regional gasoline production is on the rise, having increased steadily for four weeks indicating that production is not outpacing regional demand.

West Coast

Gas prices in the region continue to remain among the most expensive in the country, with Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.04), Alaska ($3.00), Washington ($2.93), Oregon ($2.77) and Nevada ($2.73) leading the way. However, on the week, all prices in the region are less expensive except in Alaska where prices increased one cent, and Hawaii saw no change.

Gasoline inventory levels reached a 4-month high, according to EIA’s latest report, growing to 29.3 million bbl. The increase is a surprise given planned maintenance at various refineries and healthy exports in the region that were expected to keep inventory growth low. Additionally, despite dropping from last week, the refinery utilization rate of crude remains high at 88.3 percent in the region. The utilization rate is likely to climb back up, as more refineries return to typical production rates when scheduled maintenance is completed.

Rockies

Gas prices continue to decline in the Rockies, but just by one to two cents. Prices across the region as of today are as follows: Idaho ($2.71), Montana ($2.60), Utah ($2.58), Wyoming ($2.50) and Colorado ($2.45).

Gasoline inventory levels in the region are at their highest since the end of June. High tourism throughout the summer months historically drives inventory levels low. They then build with the onset of fall. Data from the EIA report the week’s 648,000 bbl build pushes levels over 7 million bbl, which is a surplus, albeit it small, compared this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 85 cents to settle at $51.45. Moving into Monday and the rest of the week, oil prices may continue their upward trend. EIA’s latest report showed a 2.7 million bbl decline in crude oil stocks, which correlates with seeing an increase in gasoline stocks around the country. On the U.S. crude oil production side, the EIA report noted that there was an 87,000 b/d decline in production rates in the lower 48 states. That news followed Baker Hughes, Inc. reporting that the U.S. dropped 5 oil rigs last week, landing at a total of 743. When combined, both data points (crude production and oil rigs) may point toward reduced U.S. crude production and its potentially reduced contribution to global supply, which may help bolster the price per barrel of oil as the fall continues.

The International Energy Agency’s October Oil Market Report forecasted that three of the four quarters in 2018 will see the oil market in balance, assuming unchanged OPEC production and normal weather conditions. Based on the report, the global crude market is projected to see an inventory build of 800,000 b/d during the first quarter of 2018. Moreover, growth in oil demand is expected to match the increase in production next year from nonmember countries of OPEC, such as the U.S., and could cap oil prices throughout 2018. As a result, market observers will closely watch the upcoming OPEC meeting, scheduled for November 30 in Vienna. OPEC and non-OPEC members who have agreed to cut production through March 2018 will meet to discuss the status of the agreement and may decide to take additional measures to deepen the agreement’s market impact.

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.

Gas Prices on Steady One-Month Decline

October 9th, 2017 by AAA

Motorists are paying on average six cents less for a gallon of gasoline on the week with all states seeing prices at the pump either drop or hold steady. Today’s national gas price average is $2.49, which is 18 cents cheaper than a month ago. With the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measuring gasoline demand at 9.2 million b/d, down 281,000 b/d from the week prior, retail gas prices are showing steady promise of returning to pre-hurricane rates.

“Gas prices have fallen steadily for the past four weeks and now we are seeing gasoline demand drop alongside prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The latest demand figures show the lowest since the week Hurricane Harvey hit and can likely be the beginning of a downward demand trend indicating even cheaper gas prices to come this fall.”

Over the weekend, Hurricane Nate made landfall over the Gulf Coast and is now a tropical depression. Ahead of the storm, many Gulf Coast oil platforms and rigs were shut down and employees evacuated. In addition, two refineries, accounting for six percent of total Gulf Coast refining capacity, shut down. Early reports speculate that refineries did not sustain damage and operations could start up today, Monday.

Overall, motorists will see minimal to no impact to gas prices in the region hit by the storm.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly decreases: Georgia (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), South Carolina (-9 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Alabama (-8 cents), Tennessee (-8 cents), North Carolina (-8 cents), Mississippi (-8 cents) and Florida (-8 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest year-over-year changes: New Jersey (+49 cents), Connecticut (+43 cents), Massachusetts (+42 cents), Rhode Island (+39 cents), New Hampshire (+35 cents), New York (+35 cents), Alaska (+34 cents), Utah (+34 cents), Pennsylvania (+33 cents) and Texas (+33 cents).

South and Southeast

Hurricane Nate has had little impact on South and Southeast regional gas prices. In fact, only four other states in the country are selling gas cheaper than Louisiana. In the region, gas prices are on average six cents cheaper than last Monday, with Oklahoma ($2.23), Arkansas ($2.26), Louisiana ($2.29) and Mississippi ($2.30) carrying the cheapest gas in the region. Meanwhile, five states in the region land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest decreases: Georgia (-10 cents), South Carolina (-9 cents), Alabama (-8 cents), Mississippi (-8 cents) and Florida (-8 cents).

For the first time since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the region’s gasoline inventories increased, adding 1.9 million bbl on the week for a total inventory of 76 million bbl. This positive build indicates supply levels are getting closer to normal. However, year-over-year, the region sits at a 7.8 million bbl supply deficit, according to the EIA. Despite the shortfall, gas prices are expected to continue to decline toward more traditional fall pump prices throughout the month. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

All states are paying less for a gallon of gasoline compared to a week ago. With an eight-cent decrease, Tennessee and North Carolina saw the largest drops of all states in the region while Rhode Island (-3 cents) and Connecticut (-3 cents) saw the smallest change in price.  

Many motorists are seeing double digit decreases in pump prices compared to one month ago, with gas prices continuing to drop: Delaware (-40 cents), Maryland (-31 cents), New Jersey (-27 cents) and Maine (-27 cents).

For a second straight week, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region increased gasoline inventory. However, despite a 1.1 million bbl build, regional inventories are 3 million bbl below this time last year, according to the latest EIA data.

Great Lakes and Central

At 10 cents less than last week, Michigan ($2.40) is the region’s one state to see the largest and only double-digit drop in gas prices on the week. All states are paying less on the week. Following closely behind Michigan are Indiana (-9 cents) and Ohio (-9 cents). With a two-cent decrease, North Dakota saw the region’s smallest decline.

The region’s pump price drop comes alongside a large 1.5 million bbl drop in the Great Lakes and Central states overall gasoline inventory. According to the EIA, this was the largest inventory drop of all regions in the country. At 50 million bbl, total levels are on par with inventory last year at this time.

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation this week with all states in the region appearing in the top ten most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.06), Alaska ($2.99), Washington ($2.95), Oregon ($2.80) and Nevada ($2.74). However, drivers in these states have seen some of most consistent prices week over week. Recent reports from the EIA show West Coast gasoline supplies are about 1 million bbl above the year ago level and refinery utilization is at 93 percent. Above average gasoline inventory and elevated refinery rates have contributed to steady prices in the region.

Rockies

States in the Rockies are seeing some of the smallest declines in the country: Idaho (-2 cents), Colorado (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent). At $2.73, Idaho is ranked as the eighth most expensive state for gas in the country, with Montana ($2.60) at 14th and Utah ($2.60) at 15th.

 

Oil market dynamics

Last week’s EIA report showed that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 6 million bbl since the end of September with almost 2 million bbl in exports and refinery utilization down half a percentage point to 88.1 percent of total capacity. Decreasing fall demand combined with ample supply and slowed U.S. production has kept downward pressure on crude oil prices. While market watchers are keeping an eye on U.S. crude oil exports, attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will extend their reduced production agreement beyond their March 2018 deadline in order to drive crude oil prices higher. Over the weekend OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said Saudi Arabia and Russia are leading discussions among cartel members about the future of their agreement and whether or not an extension is necessary to maintain market rebalancing efforts. OPEC members are scheduled to meet again in Vienna on November 30, to assess the market and discuss plans moving forward. Since late last year, efforts by OPEC to rebalance the market have had positive impacts on prices helping to buoy crude oil above the 2016 low of $26.21. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil teetered around the $50-dollar mark and just below all week, settling $1.50 lower at $49.29 per barrel at the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

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.

At $2.55, the national gas price average is just two cents cheaper on the week and the most expensive pump price seen at start of October since 2015, when motorists where paying $2.29 for a gallon of unleaded.

“When fall arrives, motorists expect gas prices to be cheaper than they were in the summer. That’s just not the case this year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Back-to-back hurricanes packed a punch to Gulf Coast refineries’ gasoline production and inventory levels. As they play catch-up, gas prices are going to be higher than we’d like to see.”

Today, Gulf Coast refineries are building toward resuming normal operations, but it could take some longer than others to return to pre-hurricane production rates. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Gulf Coast utilization rates are up nearly 12 percent to 85 percent of capacity since last week. As utilization rates increase and operations improve, gas prices will drop.

“While the market continues to be volatile, post-hurricanes, AAA expects gas prices to slowly, but steadily drop by up to ten cents in the coming month,” added Casselano.

Across the country, the majority of states saw prices at the pump drop as much as eight cents on the week – with Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states benefiting the most. While five Great Lakes and Central States are paying up to 11 cents more for gas. Today, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 56 percent of gas stations in the country.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Delaware (-8 cents), Illinois (+7 cents), New Jersey (-6 cents), Maryland (-6 cents), Georgia (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents) and Maine (-6 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.10), Alaska ($2.99),Washington ($2.99),Oregon ($2.83), Connecticut ($2.78), Nevada ($2.77), Washington, D.C. ($2.77), Pennsylvania ($2.76) and Idaho ($2.76).

South and Southeast

Gas prices continue to get cheaper by the week by as much as six cents in many states, including: Georgia (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Alabama (-5 cents) and Tennessee (-5 cents). Four states land on this week’s top ten least expensive markets in the country: Oklahoma ($2.62), Arkansas ($2.32), Louisiana ($2.34) and Mississippi ($2.38).

Despite a two million bbl drop on the week in gasoline inventory, the South and Southeast tout the highest inventory level of any region in the U.S. However, sitting at 74.2 million bbl, the region’s gasoline inventories are at the lowest level for the region since November 2015, according to EIA data. As Gulf Coast refineries come back online and inventory levels build, gas prices will continue to drop, possibly bringing the lowest pump price by year-end.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Four Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states top this week’s 10 states list with the biggest decreases: Delaware (-8 cents), New Jersey (-6 cents), Maryland (-6 cents) and Maine (-6 cents). Despite a five-cent drop in price on the week, Pennsylvania ($2.77) is selling some of the most expensive gas in the country and region alongside Connecticut ($2.78) and Washington, D.C. ($2.77). All three are on this week’s top ten most expensive markets.

After five weeks of straight gasoline inventory drops, the EIA reports a 2.4 million bbl build in the region. The increase brings levels to 55.8 million bbl, which is just 400,000 bbl less than this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

Unlike any other region in the country, five Great Lakes and Central states are paying more for a gallon of gasoline on the week: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Illinois (+7 cents) and Wisconsin (+2 cent). Of note, last week Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois saw gas prices drop almost as much as they increased this week. As stated in previous reports, the region often sees volatile drops and increases from week to week. All other states in the region are paying five to one cents less at the pump compared to one week ago.

Gasoline inventories took a small drop, about 500,000 bbl, on the week. The South and Southeast was the only other region to see levels drop, according to the EIA.

West Coast

Six West Coast states are selling some of the most expensive gasoline in the country: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.10), Alaska ($2.99), Washington ($2.99), Oregon ($2.83) and Nevada ($2.77). While Hawaii and Alaska gas prices saw no change on the week, all other states are paying less for a gallon of gas, by two cents, on average.

According to the EIA, West Coast gasoline inventories have steadily climbed for one month. The last week added 1 million bbl, bringing the total to 28.7 million bbl and above levels this time last year.

Rockies

Gas prices are dropping steadily, but slowly in the region on the week: Wyoming (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), Idaho (-2 cents), Colorado (-1 cent) and Montana (-1 cent). Idaho ($2.76) continues to lead the region with the most expensive gas price, which is 18 cents more expensive than the cheapest state Colorado ($2.49).

With a 300,000 bbl build, gasoline inventories sit at 6.6 million bbl, which is the highest levels seen since mid-July for the region. The Rockies often carry low inventory levels throughout the summer due to significant seasonal tourism.  

Oil market dynamics

At the close of the NYMEX on Friday, WTI was up 11 cents to settle at $51.67/bbl, having fluctuated but made strong gains on the week. When the price per barrel of oil is above the $50 benchmark, which has happened a few times this year, it can be a key factor in driving up oil prices which, not surprisingly, benefits oil producers. Moving into this week, the market may stay above the $50 mark if there are further indications that production is tightening, which will likely lead to reduced global inventories, while demand for products refined from oil is strong. Increased rig counts and more oil production are other key indicators we track for their impact on the market. As the week progresses, other factors, such as less production by OPEC countries, will be reviewed by market watchers and assessed for impact on prices.

On the production front, indicators from last week show that oil production may still be increasing. For example, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., active oil rigs in the U.S. increased by six. This brings the total oil rig number to 750, which is 325 more than this time last year and an increase after seven weeks of decline. According to another indicator, found in last week’s EIA report, total U.S. crude oil production is running roughly 1 million b/d higher than a year ago. An increase in both indicators has signaled to the market that production from the U.S. is not slowing and could mean that global efforts by OPEC to reduce supply have stalled, curtailing additional oil price increases in the market. An increase in U.S. production means that the U.S. could export to countries with growing demand or replenish global and domestic inventories that continue to remain high. Ultimately, this could stall global efforts by OPEC to reduce supply, curtailing additional oil price increases in the market.

On the supply front, total gasoline output is strong. According to last week’s EIA report, output registered at 9.679 million b/d, an increase of 139,000 b/d from last week. For the market, this could be a sign that oil demand is holding strong — especially after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused disruptions to energy delivery systems in the U.S. – and can be an indicator that global inventories will continue declining (because of steady demand). However, overall fall gasoline demand may not be enough to drain high U.S. oil inventories.

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.

One month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, motorists are finally seeing consistent declines in gas prices. At $2.57, today’s national average is five cents less than a week ago, 22 cents more expensive than a month ago and 36 cents more than a year ago.

“Gas prices are getting cheaper by the day,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Pump prices may not be dropping as fast as motorists would like, but with the switchover to winter-blend gasoline, consumer demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries getting closer to normal operations, consumers can expect gas prices to continue to be less expensive through October.”

For a second straight week, the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing the largest drops on the week: Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cent), Kentucky (-11 cents) and Ohio (-10 cents).

The South and Southeast states are still feeling the lingering pain of Hurricane Harvey. Gas prices are at least 30 cents more expensive than a month ago in Georgia (+44 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Alabama (+37 cents), Florida (+36 cents), Mississippi (+32 cents) and Texas (+31 cents).

According to the Department of Energy, Gulf Coast refinery operations were up nearly 10 percent for the week ending September 15. Overall, 10 refineries are operating at reduced rates, while three remain shutdown. In addition, the Colonial Pipeline remains on about a seven-day gasoline delivery delay, but they estimate that by the end of the month the pipeline will be returning to normal deliveries.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest monthly increases are: Georgia (+44 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Tennessee (+37 cents), Alabama (+37 cents), North Carolina (+36 cents), Florida (+36 cents), Rhode Island (+35 cents), Massachusetts (+35 cents), Connecticut (+34 cents) and New Hampshire (+33 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Ohio ($2.27), Missouri ($2.27), Oklahoma ($2.29), Indiana ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.35), Kansas ($2.36), Louisiana ($2.36), Kentucky ($2.40), Michigan ($2.41) and Mississippi ($2.42).

South and Southeast

Gas prices are cheaper on the week in all South and Southeast states with a five-cent drop in Florida ($2.67). With more than 4 million bbl of gasoline delivered in response to Hurricane Irma, the majority of Florida gas stations are operating with sufficient supply, according to OPIS.

Georgia ($2.67), Tennessee ($2.51), South Carolina ($2.47) and Alabama ($2.45) are seeing the largest drops. While Oklahoma ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.35) and Louisiana ($2.36) land on this week’s top 10 states with the cheapest gas prices. Traditionally South Carolina leads the country with the cheapest gas, but lost this claim four weeks ago when Harvey hit.

In the region, gas prices are 30 cents more expensive compared to one month ago. However, continued positive refinery news is expected to drive down gas prices in the coming weeks, easing the higher-than-normal gas prices South and Southeast motorists have been paying since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Four Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states land on this week’s top 10 states with the biggest decreases: Delaware (-12 cents), Maine (-10 cents), Maryland (-9 cents) and New Jersey (-8 cents). All states in the region are paying less for a gallon of gasoline than a week ago with Washington, D.C. and Rhode Island seeing the smallest decrease (-3 cents). Conversely, as compared to one month ago, Rhode Islanders are paying 35 cents more on the gallon, followed by Massachusetts (+35 cent), Connecticut (+34 cents) and New Hampshire (+33 cents).

Compared to the prior week’s 5.7 million bbl drop, gasoline inventories took a small decrease of only 1.4 million bbl on the week, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). As demands slow with the onset of fall, gas prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will continue to decrease in the coming weeks.

Great Lakes and Central

For a second straight week, the Midwest and Central states are seeing some of the largest declines in gas prices and some of the cheapest gas in the country.

  • Six states land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest drops: Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cent), Kentucky (-11 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Illinois (-9 cents) and Missouri (-7 cents).
  • Six states land on this week’s top 10 states with the least expensive gas: Ohio ($2.27), Missouri ($2.27), Indiana ($2.29), Kansas ($2.36), Kentucky ($2.40) and Michigan ($2.41).

Compared to one month ago, Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-7 cents) and Ohio (-3 cents) are the only three states in the country paying less at the pump. This year, the Great Lakes and Central states have been very volatile – experiencing large jumps one week followed by large decrease the following week. This trend in mind, it is not surprising to see three states are paying less than pre-Harvey gas prices.

Additionally, gasoline inventories jumped 1.3 million bbl in the Great Lakes and Central states – the largest of any region in the country – which contributes to the drop in gas prices. The only other region to see a build on the week was the West Coast, according to the EIA.

West Coast

Gasoline is $3/gallon or more in California ($3.12), Hawaii ($3.11), Washington ($3.03) and Alaska ($3.00). These states along with Oregon ($2.87) and Nevada ($2.79) land on the top 10 states with the most expensive gas in the country this week. Alaska was the only state to hold gas prices steady on the week, all of the other states saw gas prices drop, on average two cents.

The West Coast was one of only two regions that saw gasoline inventories build on the week. With an addition of 600,000 bbl, total inventories register at 27.7 million bbl – about one million less than a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies are one to three cents cheaper on the week: Colorado (-3 cents), Utah (-1 cent), Wyoming (-1 cent) and Idaho (-1 cent). Montana saw no change. Idaho ($2.77) leads the region with the most expensive gas price and Colorado carries the cheapest ($2.50).

With a 200,000 bbl drop, gasoline inventories sit at 6.3 million bbl, which is about a half a million less than this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 11 cents to settle at $50.66. Moving into Monday, the price per barrel is poised to stay above $50 as the market looks for signs that the global crude glut is continuing to shrink, which is not the first time this year it has made that move. One important indicator of the crude supply decline is that the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. is reducing. According to Baker Hughes, Inc., the number of active rigs dropped by five to total 744 last week, signaling that drilling operations are reducing in the U.S. and could mean that the U.S. market may tighten in the months ahead. The trend has been continuing for the last few weeks. As the impact of Harvey and Irma continues to subside, this week’s EIA report may provide more accurate information on the current state of draws from oil inventories and give the market more signs of less supply available for the production of refined products like gasoline. 

Last week, the price per barrel moved above the $50 per barrel mark after the market watched OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in Vienna. The JMMC is charged with monitoring the agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut global production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The JMMC’s analysis showed that compliance in August was 116 percent of their pledged oil output cuts, which is up from 94 percent in July. According to OPEC, the cartel’s strategy is working and is helping global crude inventories to move closer to their five-year average. This move has led the price per barrel of oil to continue moving upward, as it has since issuance of this report last Monday. OPEC’s next formal meeting will be held on November 30 in Vienna, where parties that are a part of the production reduction agreement may decide to deepen and extend the current agreement beyond March 2018.

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.

 

As South and Southeast states recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, motorists in 45 U.S. states are paying less for a gallon of gas on the week. At $2.62, today’s national gas price average is the cheapest in 14 days and five cents less than last week.

“Gas prices are dropping as the situation with refineries, pipelines and gasoline deliveries is positively progressing,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “It looks like pump prices will continue on this declining trend into the coming weeks as the regions affected by Irma and Harvey resume normal operations.”

Midwest motorists are benefiting the most with a few states – Indiana, Michigan and Ohio – seeing gas prices plummet by the double-digits inside of seven days. Meanwhile, some states in the West Coast and Rockies are seeing gas prices increase.

As gas prices drop for the majority of the country, so does the nation’s gasoline inventory. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report identifies the latest draw of 8.4 million bbl as the highest on record, much of which can be attributed to motorist fueling up in the droves in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

“Next week’s EIA report may bring another record-demand level as a continued result of Irma, but demand is expected to sharply decline across the country by the end of September,” added Casselano.

Florida Gas Supply & Gulf Coast Refineries

Last week, at $2.73, Florida’s saw its highest gas prices since December 2014. The spike came as many gas stations faced outages as power was down and roads impassable. The good news is that in the last seven days, the state’s average has shaved off one cent. In addition, ports are open and receiving steady streams of tanker shipments as state officials continue to work with gasoline trucker and shippers to ensure timely delivery of product to retail stations. Reports indicate that the gas station gasoline outage situation is improving as stations receive deliveries.

Similarly, positive progress is being seen in the Gulf Coast. According to the Department of Energy, a total of six Gulf Coast refineries are operating at reduced rates, which is one more refinery than last week. These six facilities make-up 13 percent of refining capacity in the U.S. Five refineries continue to operate at reduced rates and three remain shut down, which represents a total of 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

It will likely be a few more weeks before the regions affected by Irma and Harvey are back to normal operations. Not a threat to make landfall, Hurricane Jose, a Category 1, is well off the shore of North Carolina. Currently, Hurricane Maria is closing in on the Leeward Islands and is expected to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid-week, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane season ends on November 30.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly decreases: Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-15 cents), Delaware (-12 cents), Ohio (-11 cents), Illinois(-10 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Maryland (-8 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Wisconsin (-7 cents) and New Jersey (-5 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($2.31), Missouri ($2.34), Ohio ($2.37), Arkansas ($2.38), Louisiana($2.39), Kansas ($2.40), Indiana ($2.41), Arizona ($2.43), Mississippi ($2.45) and Minnesota ($2.45).

South and Southeast

All states are selling cheaper gasoline with Oklahoma (-5 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Texas (-4 cents) and Georgia (-4 cents) leading the region with the biggest declines in pump prices on the week. At $2.31, Oklahoma has the lowest price of the 10 states while at $2.71, Florida is the most expensive, which is expected given the tightened gasoline supply caused by both Irma and Harvey.

As recovery in Texas moves forward, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week granted a waiver extension for federal reformulated gasoline requirements in the state. The waiver will allow stocks of “winter blend” gasoline to be used to meet demand. The EPA also waived requirements for Texas Low Emissions Diesel through October 1.

The Gulf Coast saw one of the largest gasoline inventory drops on the week – 3.7 million bbl, according to EIA data. Massive-buying in Florida and other southeast states ahead of Irma’s lent to the multi-million bbl draw. Overall, refinery utilization was down, which is understandable as refineries in the region are operating at about 61 percent of capacity, as reported by OPIS.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

With a 12-cent state gas price average decrease, Delaware had the largest price drop in the region, followed by Maryland (-8 cents), New Jersey (-5 cents), Virginia (-5 cents) and Maine (-4 cents). All states are selling cheaper gas on the week while Pennsylvania ($2.87), Connecticut ($2.85), the District of Columbia ($2.85) and New York ($2.81) land on this week’s top 10 states with the most expensive gas.

At 5.7 million bbl, the region saw the country’s largest draw in gasoline supplies, according to an EIA report. It can be assumed that a portion of the draw accounts for supply shipments directed to the south in response to tightened supplies caused by Irma and Harvey.

Midwest and Central

The Midwest and Central states are seeing some of the largest declines in gas prices: Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-15 cent), Ohio (-11 cents), Illinois (-10 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Missouri (-7 cents) and Wisconsin (-7 cents). The region is also selling some of the cheapest gas in the country: Missouri ($2.34), Ohio ($2.37), Kansas ($2.40) and Indiana ($2.41). Parts of the region saw gas prices spike alongside Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast. However, with pipelines resuming operations as of late, motorists are seeing gas prices tumble. As we move into fall and gasoline demand drops-off, gas prices could reach the lowest of 2017.

West Coast

Gas prices are volatile and increasing for half of the West Coast states: Alaska (+4 cents), Arizona (+1 cent) and Hawaii (+1 cent). On the week Oregon, Nevada and California’s gas price fell by one cent, while Washington remained stable. Unlike regions east of the Mississippi, the West Coast region saw an increase in gasoline inventory by a moderate 750,000 bbl.

Rockies

Similar to the West Coast, gas prices in the Rockies are unstable. Motorists Colorado (-4 cents), Utah (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent) are paying less at the pump, while Idaho gas prices remained stable on the week and Montana (+4 cents) is paying more than seven days ago.

Oil market dynamics

Last week, the price per barrel of WTI closed at $49.89. U.S. crude prices remained below $50 per barrel as of Monday morning. Since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the U.S., oil prices have not spiked like gasoline prices did despite a quarter of the refining capacity in the country being offline due to Harvey.

As refineries work to reach pre-storm capacity levels, oil inventories may decline in the coming weeks as refineries turn to storage tanks to meet demand needs. Given that the fall driving season tends to be less demand-driven, any declines in inventories are likely to keep pace with demand.

As expected, EIA’s report last week showed a drop in crude input flows to 14.4 million b/d, illustrating that refineries affected by Harvey are taking in less oil as they resume normal operations. Any indication that the U.S. supply appears to be tightening could lead oil prices to rise. Moreover, falling by seven rigs last week, Baker Hughes reports that active oil rigs in the U.S. sit at 749.

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.

Currently, national gas price average levels out

For the first time in more than 15 days, the national gas price average appears to be leveling out despite Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma making landfall in the southeast. Holding steady for five days at $2.67, today’s national gas price average is just three cents more expensive on the week. With a seven cents increase, Florida, Indiana and Georgia were among the top 10 states who saw the largest gas price increases on the week, while some states saw gas prices drop by one to six cents (Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware and Oklahoma). At the end of last week, some Florida and other Southeast states saw consumers flock to gas stations to fill-up on fuel, causing some stations to have gas outages ahead of the storm.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma is weakening and will move near the northwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula this morning, will cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into Southern Georgia this afternoon, and move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday. Parts of Florida can expect eight to 20 inches of rain through Wednesday. Much of Georgia, South Carolina, and western North Carolina can expect three to eight inches of rain accumulation. Southern Tennessee and eastern Alabama can expect up to five inches. 

“Irma was one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in history,” said AAA Spokesperson Jeanette Casselano. “AAA’s thoughts are with all those impacted. The safety of our response teams and members is our number one priority. Our regional teams are on standby to assist members in affected areas as soon as conditions allow.”

Early reports indicate that Irma has left more than four million people without power, while water and debris cover roadways. Florida Power & Light (FPL) has 17,000 personnel from over 30 states on standby to aid restoration efforts.

Once power is restored and roads cleared, gasoline will be able to be delivered to stations in the impacted region, similar to what the Gulf Coast experienced post-Harvey.

“There is not a gasoline shortage in the U.S., but instead localized challenges — power outages, impassable roads, debris — in Florida keeping gasoline supplies from where they are needed most,” continued Casselano. “Total U.S. gasoline stocks sit above the five-year average. Since much of Florida’s gasoline delivery occurs via barge, all eyes will remain on port conditions as the storm passes.”

Currently, all Florida ports are closed while some in North and South Carolina are open with restrictions. To alleviate local supply disruptions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved a Jones Act waiver for areas affected by the storms. The seven-day waiver will allow foreign flag vessels to bring in fuel to help with outages amid the response and recovery efforts.

Hurricane Harvey Impacted Refineries & Pipelines

As Floridians wait out the storm, Americans along the Gulf Coast continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey. According to the Department of Energy, at least five refineries in the Gulf Coast are operating at reduced rates, which accounts for eight percent of U.S. refining capacity. Six refineries are in the process of restarting, accounting for 12 percent of U.S. refining capacity. Five refineries remain shutdown, accounting for six percent of U.S. refining capacity. The restarting process can take several days or weeks, depending on damage. The Colonial Pipeline continues to experience a delivery delay of up to a week to Mid-Atlantic states.

“As refineries slowly come back online, states along the East Coast can expect gas prices to remain volatile as a result of already tight supply levels stemming from Harvey combined with the yet-to-be-known impact of Hurricane Irma,” added Casselano.

Today, 69 percent of gas stations in the U.S. are selling gas at $2.50 or more. Only seven percent list gas at $3 or more.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly increases: Florida (+7 cents), Indiana (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Arizona (+6 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), New Hampshire (+6 cents), Montana (+6 cents), New York (+5 cents), Nevada (+5 cents) and Rhode Island (+5 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($2.36), Louisiana ($2.40), Arkansas ($2.41), Arizona ($2.42), Missouri ($2.42), Kansas ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.47), Ohio ($2.48), Minnesota ($2.50) and New Mexico ($2.51).

 

South and Southeast

Gas prices in the South and Southeast continue to increase, although the jumps are not as dramatic as seen last week: Florida (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Alabama (+5 cents), Tennessee (+4 cents) and South Carolina (+4 cents).

With no refineries in Florida, Hurricane Irma threatens already tightened gasoline supply levels caused by Harvey. As Gulf Coast refineries come back online and increase operating rates, the Colonial Pipeline, which provides gasoline from Houston, TX to Greensboro, N.C, is experiencing delivery delays of up to a week to Mid-Atlantic states. As a result, many South and Southeast states will likely see continued gas price increases stemming from Harvey and now Irma. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in states across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have seen moderate increases, typically in the range of one to three cents, following last week’s double-digit increases. New Hampshire ($2.69) leads the region in increases, with the average price for unleaded gasoline rising six cents since last week. New York ($2.83), Rhode Island ($2.75), Vermont ($2.76) and Maine ($2.74), are close behind as the average price for unleaded gasoline in each state rose by a nickel since last Monday. An outlier, Delaware’s gas price fell one cent to $2.69. According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, regional gasoline supplies dropped to 60.5 million last week. The drop reflects tightening supply due to those refineries still remaining offline after Hurricane Harvey and prices are increasing for the same reason. As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations in the region, prices should start to decrease later in the month. Temporary relief at the pump should also come from extension of the multi-state waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will allow states to sell reformulated gasoline without additives that reduce pollution during the summer.

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes and Central States region is seeing both increases and decreases at the pump. As Indiana (+7 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) pay more for gas on the week, four states are selling cheaper gas: Ohio (-6 cents), Kentucky (-4 cents), Kansas (-3 cents) and Missouri (-3 cents). The volatility stems mostly from Hurricane Harvey’s impact on gasoline supply distribution and a 1 million bbl drop in the region’s gasoline supply. The EIA’s latest report shows Midwest gasoline inventories remain steady at 51 million bbl.

West Coast

Compared to the rest of the country, West Coast states are seeing small price increases on the week: Arizona (+6 cents), Nevada (+5 cents), Alaska (+5 cents), Washington (+4 cents), California (+4 cents), Oregon (+2 cents) and Hawaii (+1 cents). All states, except Arizona, land on this week’s top 10 states with the most expensive gas. According to the EIA, gasoline inventory moderately increased (100,000 bbl) to bring the region’s overall supply levels to 26 million bbl. 

Rockies

All states saw gas prices increase on the week: Montana (+6 cents) and Utah (+4 cents), Wyoming (+2 cents), Colorado (+1 cent) and Idaho (+1 cents). On average, gas is selling for $2.63 in the Rockies.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate settled at $47.48. On Monday morning, prices are still below $50/bbl.

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.

Remnants of Harvey expected to drive gas prices through the month, prospect of Hurricane Irma may impact prices as well

Hurricane Harvey may no longer be raining down on the Gulf Coast, but the storm’s impact continues to drive up gas prices across the country. At $2.65, the national gas price average is 27 cents more expensive on the week. Motorists in 26 states are paying 25 to 44 cents more for a gallon of unleaded compared to seven days ago. In fact, every state in the country has seen gas prices increase except four (Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Utah), where prices remain stable. Overall, gas prices are pennies away from topping the highest price ($2.67, August 15-18, 2015) Americans have paid for a gallon of gas in more than two years.

As Texas dries out from Harvey, all eyes are on Hurricane Irma, now a Category 5 hurricane, which currently is expected to hit the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean Tuesday night into Wednesday. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. According to the National Hurricane Center, there is an increasing chance that the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys may see some impact this coming weekend. However, Irma’s changing storm track could bring an altered forecast in the coming days.

“Our regional AAA teams are preparing for the impact Irma may have on our members. The safety of our response teams and members is our number one priority,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA will continue to monitor Irma’s path and the potential impact the hurricane could have on residents in the area, as well as the refineries, pipelines and supply distribution components.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reporting that eight Gulf Coast refineries are in the process of restarting, which accounts for about 10 percent of Gulf Coast refining capabilities. At its peak, Harvey shuttered 27 percent of U.S. processing capacity. No refineries have returned to normal rates, but at least four are operating at reduced rates. Meanwhile, pipelines forced to take pre-cautionary shut downs caused by Harvey either have resumed operations or are in the process of coming back online. This includes the Colonial Pipeline, which currently has only suspended the Texas operations, while the remainder of the system continues to operate with available supply.

In response to refineries and pipeline shutdowns, last week the DOE authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to negotiate and execute emergency exchange agreements authorizing 5.6 million barrels of crude oil to be released. In addition, DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued waivers to Colonial to accept more product into its pipeline.

With more than 50 inches of rain, Harvey set a record for the greatest amount of single-storm rainfall for the continental U.S.

“News of refineries starting-up is very promising, especially for areas that have felt tightened supply levels over the last 10 days, but we aren’t in the clear yet,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Consumers will continue to feel pain at the pump stemming from Harvey with gas prices potentially increasing an additional five to ten cents in the week ahead. States in the south, southeast and mid-Atlantic are most likely to see the biggest surges as these states receive the bulk of their supplies from the Gulf Coast. They could even see an additional surge if Hurricane Irma hits Florida this weekend. The good news consumers will see relief from the gas price spike towards the end of this month.”

Losses in U.S. supply capability have catapulted retail prices to their highest levels since August 2015, but remain well below initial weeks of September 2011 through 2014, according to OPIS. The last two years have seen inordinately cheap gasoline as the driving season ended (Labor Day weekend) and AAA expects this to be the case come October.

Today, 74 percent of U.S. gas stations are selling gas for $2.75 or less while only seven percent are selling above $3/gallon.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly increases are Delaware (+44 cents), Georgia (+41 cents), Maryland (+41 cents), New Jersey (+40 cents), Tennessee (+39 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), North Carolina (+38 cents), Connecticut (+37 cents), New Hampshire (+37 cents) and Massachusetts (+36 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are Arizona ($2.36), Oklahoma (2.38), Louisiana ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.40), Missouri ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.45), Kansas ($2.49), New Mexico ($2.49), Alabama ($2.49) and Minnesota ($2.50)

South and Southeast

In Houston, refiners are starting to deliver fuel to the market as well as to Dallas and West Texas areas, but it may take some time to resume normal delivery capabilities. While there is no fuel supply shortage, the state is working to overcome distribution problems – including not having enough drivers and equipment to distribute fuel. Additionally, some roads are still inaccessible due to flooding. To help alleviate fuel delivery concerns, truck drivers have been flown in from other states to assist with the distribution.

Gas prices in the South and Southeast have felt the impact of Harvey at the pump, with consumers paying on average 31 cents more on the week. The states with the biggest increases include: Georgia (+41 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Alabama (+36 cents) and Florida (+36 cents). At $2.53/gal, South Carolina, for the first time this year, does not lead the nation with the cheapest gas price.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across the region continue to follow the national trend of having some of the most expensive states in the country, with Pennsylvania ($2.87) and Washington, D.C. ($2.87) leading the way. Week-over-week retail averages increased and consumers are all spending 25 cents or more per gallon in Delaware (+44 cents), Maryland (+41 cents), New Jersey (+40 cents), North Carolina (+38 cents), Connecticut (+37 cents), New Hampshire (+37 cents), Virginia (+36 cents), Rhode Island (+35 cents), Vermont (+34 cents), West Virginia (+33 cents), Maine (+32 cents) and New York (+30 cents). According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, eastern gasoline supplies stood at 62.7 million bbl on the week. Even though gas supplies remain high across the country, prices continue to react to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and distribution issues caused by flooding in the Gulf Coast. As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations in the region, prices should start to decrease later in the month.

Great Lakes and Central States

Prices across these regions have seen significant movement over the past week. States in the region with the largest weekly increases include: Missouri (+29 cents), Kansas (+25 cents), Ohio (+24 cents), Illinois (+18 cents), Wisconsin (+17 cents), Michigan (+16 cents) and Indiana (+16 cents). A majority of the price increase is due to the gasoline supply distribution disruption out of the Gulf Coast. As pipelines begin to reopen and gasoline deliveries to the Midwest get back on track, motorits will start to see some relief with lower gas prices during the month. The EIA’s latest report shows Midwest gasoline inventories remain steady at 52.2 million bbl last week.

West Coast

Despite being the region with the smallest gas price increases on the week, the West Coast continues to sell the most expensive gas. Gas prices on the West Coast increased as much as 12 cents on the week: California (+12 cents), Arizona (+9 cents), Nevada (+9 cents), Washington (+7 cents), Oregon (+6 cents), Alaska (+4 cents) and Hawaii (+3 cents).

Prices in the Pacific Northwest are relatively calm, in comparison to other parts of the country. In addition, the West Coast does not typically draw gasoline from the Gulf Coast and is not experiencing price spikes as compared to the East Coast.

Rockies

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, gas prices in the Rockies are volatile with an average increase of nine cents on the week. All states saw gas prices increase except Utah where prices are stable. However, the increase ranges from three to 22 cents: Idaho (+3 cents), Montana (+9 cents), Wyoming (+12 cents) and Colorado (+21 cents). Both Idaho ($2.78) and Utah ($2.61) have dropped off the most expensive markets list, falling to 11th and 25th respectively. Similar to the West Coast, the Rockies do not typically draw gasoline from the Gulf Coast and are not experiencing big price spikes as compared to the East Coast, with the exception of Colorado.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate settled at $47.29. On Monday morning, prices are still below $50/bbl.

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.

Harvey Drives Up Gas Prices Nationwide

August 28th, 2017 by Jessica

As Hurricane Harvey blasted Texas, gas prices shot up across the country. At $2.37, today’s national gas price average is four cents more expensive on the week and one of the largest one-week national gas prices surge seen this summer.

About one quarter of oil refining capacity in the Gulf Coast had been taken offline, according to forecasts by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). That equates to about 2.5 million b/d. Harvey also caused eight refineries in Texas to shutdown, including: ExxonMobil Baytown (584,000 b/d), Deer Park (340,000 b/d), Pasadena Refining (115,700 b/d) and Phillips 66 Sweeny (260,000 b/d) in the Houston region, while several others are operating at reduced rates. In Corpus Christi, Flint Hills (304,000 b/d); Valero (300,000 b/d); CITGO (163,500 b/d) and Valero Three Rivers (91,000 b/d) remain offline since initial shutdowns began in advance of Harvey late last week. Over the weekend, Valero reported its refineries in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers sustained “substantial refinery impacts” and the company is evaluating infrastructure needs to determine when the refineries can resume operations. Corpus Christi is connected via pipeline to refineries in San Antonio and Nixon, TX, which can supply Corpus Christi if local refiners are offline for an extended period.

“No doubt, Harvey has impacted operations and access to refineries in the Gulf Coast.  However a clear understanding of overall damage at the refineries is unknown,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Despite the country’s overall oil and gasoline inventories being at or above 5-year highs, until there is clear picture of damage and an idea when refineries can return to full operational status, gas prices will continue to increase.”

On Sunday, Magellan Midstream Partners suspended all inbound and outbound refined products and crude oil transportation services on its pipeline systems in the Houston area. Conversely, the Colonial Pipeline said its Gulf Coast pipeline and terminals are continuing to operate normally. The Colonial Pipeline delivers gasoline from Houston to the Mid-Atlantic.

Harvey is expected to continue to impact the region through the middle of the week with an additional 15 – 25 inches of rain expected over the middle and upper Texas coast through Friday.

To help alleviate the tight and potential shortage of supply, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over the weekend that it will waive environmental standards on gasoline for select counties in Texas.
“As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase,” added Casselano.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly changes are: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Washington (+6 cents), Georgia (+5 cents), South Carolina (+5 cents), Washington, D.C. (+4 cents) and Texas (+4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.11), Alabama ($2.12), Arkansas ($2.12), Mississippi ($2.12), Oklahoma ($2.13), Missouri ($2.14), Virginia ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.16), Tennessee ($2.16) and Texas ($2.17).

South and Southeast

On the heels of Harvey, gas prices in the South and Southeast states are on average three cents more expensive on the week. Florida (+7 cents), Georgia (+5 cents), South Carolina (+5 cents) and Texas (+4 cents) land on this week’s top ten states with the largest change.

In Texas, retail gas station outages have been reported. While the statewide gas price average in Texas increases, prices vary among cities hit hard by the hurricane and tropical storm. In Corpus Christi, where demand was reduced due to the storm, gas prices are one cent cheaper on the week. However, in Houston, which also was hit by Harvey, many motorist filled gas tanks ahead of severe weather, gas prices are four cents more than last Monday.

As Texas continues to deal with Harvey, another storm is heading up the East Coast and will likely turn in to Tropical Storm Irma, which is projected to hit South Carolina late Monday. While it is not expected to be a threat to the region, the potentially heavy rains and strong winds could lead to a spike in prices at the retail and wholesale levels.

West Coast

All states in the region are selling more expensive gas than last week. Washington (+6 cents) landed on this week’s top ten list of the largest increases. At $3.09/gallon, Hawaii is selling the country’s most expensive gas followed closely by California at $2.99.

West Coast gasoline inventories took a 500,000 bbl draw on the week, which is largely attributed to last week’s heavy tourism in the Pacific Northwest tied to the eclipse. The draw brings the inventory levels to 26.1 million bbl, which is the lowest level seen in the region this year.

Rockies

At the lowest level of the year, gasoline inventory in the Rockies sits at 6.2 million bbl as gas prices continue to increase in Montana (+4 cent), Utah (+2 cents), Idaho (+2 cents) and Wyoming (+1 cent). Colorado ($2.33) remained flat on the week. Idaho ($2.74) and Utah ($2.61) sell the most expensive gas in the Rockies and, for another week, hold steady on the top 10 list of states with the most expensive gas.

The Rockies could see ripple effects of Harvey in terms of gas price increases, depending on the severity of damage to Gulf Coast refineries and tight supply shortage.

Great Lakes and Central States

A flip-flop from last week’s trend of cheaper gas prices, the bulk of the region is selling gas that is more expensive this week, except for Missouri (-1 cent). Four Great Lakes and Central states saw the country’s largest increases in gas prices on the week: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Illinois (+6 cents).

The price increases come as gasoline inventory also increases with a 1.3 million bbl build. Sitting at 52.7 million bbl of gasoline inventory and given its proximity to the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes and Central states region could be tapped to help alleviate the tightness of supplies in Texas and surrounding areas caused by Harvey.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are relatively stable throughout the region, with the exception of increases in Washington, D.C. (+4 cents) and North Carolina (+3 cents) and decreases in Delaware (-2 cents) and West Virginia (-1 cent) on the week.

The bulk of the region’s flat prices derives from the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing that gasoline inventories in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast declined by 1.8 million bbl for the week ending August 18. Total stocks on hand now sit at 63 million bbl, more than 6 million bbl lower than year-ago levels and 3.7 million bbl higher than the running five-year average for this week. With stocks below year-ago levels, prices indicate that demand has not increased dramatically during the last weeks of summer and supply is meeting current need. However, stocks could drop and prices may increase in the week ahead depending on Harvey’s impact on the ability of several Gulf Coast refineries’ to return to operational status.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate remained below $50 – settling at $47.87. On Monday morning, prices began to fall as news of refinery closings due to Tropical Storm Harvey began to influence the market. Refinery closings signal that less oil will likely be consumed as catastrophic flooding persists in the region, and assessments of damage to energy infrastructure assets are stalled until conditions improve. All of this uncertainty has made the market jittery.

EIA data released last week showed that crude oil inventories dropped by an additional 3.3 million bbl. The continued decline in crude oil has been largely tied to strong refining operations as gross inputs refineries across the U.S. have topped 17 million b/d every week going back to mid-April. However, this trend could change due to refinery closures and reduced operations due to Harvey. As the emergency situation evolves, refiners in other regions, additional imports and alternative transportation routes may be needed to fill any gaps in meeting demand during the aftermath of the storm – all of which could tighten supply and add extra costs to getting gasoline to the pump.

Moreover, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., active oil rigs are down by four, standing at 759 as of last week. Fewer active rigs — coupled with crude oil output being currently reduced by more than 21 percent in the Gulf of Mexico due to the storm — could be a recipe for oil prices to jump throughout the week. However, any price jumps will be linked with matching demand estimates, which could signal a dramatic decline based on the storm.

It is still too soon for the market to know how badly damaged energy infrastructure is from the storm, but the coming days will offer more insight into how long recovery and restoration may take. Demand shifts based on the storm and countermeasures the market will take to meet a new supply and demand landscape will also be evaluated. 

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 new vehicle will cost nearly $8,500 annually to own and operate

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 23, 2017) – Owning and operating a new vehicle in 2017 will cost a driver an average of $8,469 annually, or $706 each month, according to a new study from AAA. The annual evaluation of driving costs reveals that small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to drive at $6,354 annually, however small SUVs ($7,606), hybrids ($7,687) and electric vehicles ($8,439) all offer lower-than-average driving costs to U.S. drivers. Conversely, of the nine categories included in the evaluation, pickup trucks are the most expensive vehicles to drive at $10,054 annually.

Additional Resources

“Determining the cost of a new vehicle car is more than calculating a monthly payment,” cautioned John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “While sales price is certainly a factor, depreciation, maintenance, repair and fuel costs should be equally important considerations for anyone in the market for a new vehicle.”

In addition to analyzing the ownership costs for sedans, SUVs and minivans, AAA’s Your Driving Costs study added four new vehicle segments in 2017 – small SUVs, pickup trucks, hybrids and electric vehicles.

Vehicle Type Annual Cost*   Vehicle Type Annual Cost*
Small Sedan $6,354   Minivan $9,146
Small SUV $7,606   Large Sedan $9,399
Hybrid $7,687   Medium SUV $9,451
Medium Sedan $8,171   Pickup Truck $10,054
Electric Vehicle $8,439   Average $8,469

*Based on 15,000 miles driven annually

To estimate the overall cost to own and operate a new vehicle, AAA evaluated 45 2017 model-year vehicles across nine categories and focused on mid-range, top-selling vehicles. AAA’s annual driving cost is based on a sales-weighted average of the individual costs for all of the vehicle types. Key findings include:

Depreciation

Depreciation — the declining value of a vehicle over time — is the biggest, and most often overlooked, expense associated with purchasing a new car. New vehicles lose an average of $15,000 in value during the first five years of ownership. In 2017, small sedans ($2,114) and small SUVs ($2,840) have the lowest annual depreciation costs, while minivans ($3,839) and electric vehicles ($5,704) are at the high end of the scale.

Maintenance and repair

To calculate annual maintenance and repair costs, AAA examined factory-recommended maintenance, replacement tires, extended warranty costs and services associated with typical wear-and-tear. New vehicles, on average, will cost a driver $1,186 per year to maintain and repair.

The inevitable costs associated with maintenance and repair should be an important consideration for car shoppers, as a recent AAA survey found that one-third of U.S. drivers could not afford an unexpected repair bill. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer free vehicle inspections, AAA member discounts and a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty for AAA members. Visit AAA.com/AutoRepair to find a nearby facility.

Fuel

Fuel costs vary significantly by vehicle type, ranging from 3.68 cents per mile (electric vehicles) to 13.88 cents per mile (pickup trucks). New vehicle owners, on average, will spend just over 10 cents per mile – about $1,500 annually — to fuel their vehicles.

For gasoline-powered vehicles, AAA recommends selecting a TOP TIER gasoline, as its independent research found it to keep engines 19 times cleaner, improving vehicle performance and fuel economy. AAA cautions drivers that using premium-grade gasoline in a vehicle that does not specifically require it is an unnecessary expense.

Electric Vehicles

New to the Your Driving Costs study in 2017, AAA found that electric vehicles have lower-than-average driving costs at $8,439 per year. Without a gasoline engine to maintain, electric vehicles have the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, at $982 per year. By relying on electricity instead of gasoline, fuel costs are also significantly lower than average, at under four cents per mile. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.

A recent AAA survey revealed that 1-in-6 Americans are likely to choose an electric vehicle, the majority motivated by their lower long-term ownership costs.

“Although electric vehicles can have higher up-front costs, lower fuel and maintenance costs make them a surprisingly affordable choice in the long run,” said Nielsen. “For even lower costs, car shoppers can avoid high depreciation costs by selecting a used electric vehicle.”

With a focus on the future, the AAA Green Car Guide offers ratings of electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas‐powered (CNG), diesel and other high fuel economy vehicles. Visit AAA.com/greencar for more.

AAA’s Your Driving Costs study employs a proprietary methodology to analyze the costs of owning and operating a new vehicle in the United States, using data from a variety of sources, including Vincentric LLC. Additional information and detailed driving costs, including insurance costs, finances charges, registration/license fees, taxes and finance charges can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com or AAA.com/YourDrivingCosts.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices Fluctuate Across the Country

August 21st, 2017 by AAA

Prices Decrease in Midwest, East Coast and South as West Coast and Rockies see Pump Prices Increase

At $2.33, the national gas price average is two cents cheaper than a week ago. Consumers in most Midwest, East Coast and Southern states are paying, on average, two cents less on the week, while most West Coast and Rockies states are seeing pump prices increase on average by three cents. Today’s national average is five cents more than a month ago and 17 cents more expensive than a year ago.

As gas prices continue to fluctuate across the country, growth in gasoline production combined with record-breaking high refinery runs continue to drive the country’s already relatively high gasoline inventories even higher. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that despite growing domestic and foreign demand, today’s national gasoline inventory levels sit at 231 million bbl and remain higher than the previous five-year average.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-10 cents), Oregon (+10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Idaho (+7 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), Utah (+5 cents), Washington (+5 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Nebraska (-4 cents).

 

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.06), Alabama ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.10), Texas ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.14), Virginia ($2.14), Missouri ($2.14) and Louisiana ($2.15).

 

West Coast

With the exception of Hawaii, all states in the region are selling gas that is more expensive on the week: Oregon (+10 cents), Washington (+5 cents), Nevada (+2 cents), Alaska (+1 cent), California (+1 cent) and Arizona (+1 cent). Hawaii’s gas price dropped by one cent in the last week. The country’s first total solar eclipse, happening today, is the driver behind Oregon’s double-digit increase. The state is seeing an influx of visitors to witness the event.

Despite a small 100,000 bbl build on the week, West Coast gasoline inventories are 3.6 million bbl lower than this time last year. For the third consecutive week, the region’s total inventory registers under 27 million bbl, the second lowest inventory levels of all regions. However, the West Coast continues to lead the country with the most expensive gas prices.

Rockies

Gas prices continue to increase for the bulk of states in the Rockies as the region’s gasoline inventory levels hit a yearly low of 6.3 million bbl. Consumers in four states are paying more on the week: Idaho (+7 cents), Utah (+5 cents), Montana (+1 cent) and Wyoming (+1 cent), while Coloradoans are paying one cent less.

Compared to a month ago, gas prices in the region are on average 12 cents more: Idaho (+19 cents), Utah (+13 cents), Wyoming (+13 cents), Montana (+9 cents) and Colorado (+5 cents). Typically, the region sees higher gas prices in the summer due to seasonal tourism.

Great Lakes and Central States

Six Great Lakes and Central states saw the country’s largest decrease in gas prices on the week: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Nebraska (-4 cents). As prices at the pump drop, so does the region’s gasoline inventory. According to the latest EIA report, the region drew one million bbl of gasoline on the week, the largest of any region in the country. Typically, gas prices increase with growing demand; however, the region often sees high volatility, which impacts gas price trends week by week.

South and Southeast

On average, gas prices in the South and Southeast states are one cent cheaper on the week with every state seeing gas prices decline. With a two-cent decrease, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia saw the largest declines.

Two refineries saw activity that halted production in the last week. ExxonMobil’s 584,000-b/d Baytown, Texas, refinery was forced to shut a hydrocracker unit a day after restarting, following the end of a two-month turnaround. The latest update on Friday was that the unit was still undergoing maintenance. Additionally, Shell’s 340,000-b/d Deer Park, Texas, refinery is expected to be shut down for at least a week following a fire. The issues had an immediate impact on market spot prices, but not prices at the pump.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are cheaper in all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on the week with the exception of New York where gas prices remained stable. With a three-cent decrease, New Jersey is seeing the largest decline in the region followed by two-cent decreases in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia.

The price drop goes hand-in-hand with the region’s latest gasoline inventory trend. For a second consecutive week, the region saw the sizeable build (800,000 bbl) in gasoline inventory. Total inventories sit at 64.8 million bbl, about five million less than this time last year, according to EIA data.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate stayed below $50 – settling at $48.51. On Monday morning, prices appeared to be falling due to a weak dollar and continued worries about high crude oil inventory levels.

According to the EIA report for the week ending on August 11, gasoline production moved higher to 10.2 million b/d. With greater demand for refined products like gasoline, crude inventories decreased by 8.9 million bbl – a much larger than expected drawdown. Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that active oil rigs in the U.S. fell by five last week, landing at 763. The movement of these key figures show that August is setting a strong scene for crude oil supplies to become tighter as demand continues full steam ahead with the summer driving season coming closer to its end.

On the flip side, U.S. crude output climbed 79,000 b/d to 9.502 million b/d – which is the highest level seen in two years. The greatest portion of the increase came from Alaska, but production in the continental U.S. (driven by shale activity) moved higher to 25,000 b/d. This continued growth in U.S. production continues to add to the global glut of crude, putting downward pressure on crude prices. As a result, market observers will look toward this week’s EIA report to see if the trend continues, noting that gasoline demand along the path of today’s solar eclipse may help boost numbers. Drivers in the viewing pathway may see prices spike due to high demand.

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.

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