Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

Gas Prices Under $2 on the Way

September 3rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile


AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: Sept. 3, 2015

Americans to Pay Lowest Labor Day Gas Prices Since 2004

  • Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices since 2004 for the busy Labor Day weekend. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.44 per gallon, which is 99 cents per gallon less than a year ago. U.S. consumers should save more than $1 billion on gasoline over the holiday weekend compared to 2014, with many drivers saving about $15-$25 on every trip to the gas station.
  • “Americans should find good deals on gas prices in most parts of the country heading into the busy Labor Day weekend,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is unbelievable that drivers are ending their summer vacations with the lowest gas prices for this time of year in more than a decade.”
  • Average U.S. gas prices have dropped about 37 cents per gallon since hitting a 2015 peak price of $2.80 on June 15. Average gas prices have dropped due to lower crude oil costs and abundant petroleum supplies.
  • Gas prices averaged $2.60 per gallon in August, which was the lowest average for the month since 2005. The average price in August was about 15 cents per gallon less than in July.
  • Gas prices remain relatively high compared to the cost of crude oil. WTI oil prices closed at $46.25 per barrel yesterday, which was similar to the cost of oil in January. Nevertheless, average gas prices are about 41 cents per gallon more expensive than the lowest daily average in January. Gas prices are higher than would otherwise be expected due to high demand and ongoing refinery problems, along with the higher cost to produce summer-blend gasoline that is required in many areas. When the market is running smoothly, gas prices generally drop about 2.4 cents per gallon for every $1 per barrel change in the cost of crude oil.
  • Summer is the busiest time of the year for driving and millions of Americans are taking advantage of lower gas prices to travel more this year. New estimates by the Federal Highway Administration showed that U.S. driving topped 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of 2015, which was an all-time high. Increased driving results in higher fuel demand, which can lead to higher gas prices.
  • A number of major refineries have experienced production problems this year, which has led to significantly higher regional prices when combined with high fuel demand. In August, BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. was forced to shut its largest crude distillation unit temporarily. Gas prices across the Midwest jumped in response with averages in some Great Lakes states up more than 50 cents per gallon in less than a week. BP was able to repair the facility faster than expected, and prices have returned nearly all of those gains, though at a much slower pace than the initial price spike.
  • Gas prices remain relatively high on the West Coast, in part because ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, Calif. is still not operating at normal levels. The refinery experienced an explosion in the spring that sent gas prices in parts of California above $4 per gallon. Gas prices have since declined as supplies enter the market form other areas, yet gas prices in California and neighboring states remain near or above $3 per gallon. The refinery reportedly will ramp up in production in October as it completes repairs.
  • Oil prices have experienced dramatic price swings in recent weeks. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at a high for the year of $61.43 per barrel on June 10. On August 24, the cost of crude oil dropped to $38.24 per barrel, which was the lowest closing price since early 2009. Oil prices have since moved upwards on updated domestic production data and rumors that OPEC may curtail production.
  • Oil remains much cheaper than in recent years because of abundant supplies. Growing concerns about the Chinese economy, the likelihood of Iranian oil entering the market and strong domestic production have helped lower oil prices since June. The dramatic growth in the Chinese economy helped drive commodity prices higher in recent years, while the recent economic slowdown has helped to lower prices. Iran promises to unleash as much as a million barrel per day of oil into the market if economic sanctions on the country are lifted. Meanwhile, domestic crude oil production remains nearly 13 percent higher than a year ago, and U.S. commercial supplies are about 27 percent higher than a year ago.
  • The average price of diesel was cheaper than gasoline for six days in August for the first time since 2009, due to seasonal factors and the elevated cost of gasoline. Today’s average price of diesel is $2.57 per gallon.

Gas Prices Could Fall Below $2 per Gallon by Christmas

  • “Gas prices in many parts of the country could fall below $2 per gallon by Christmas if the cost of crude oil remains low,” continued Ash. “There is good reason to believe that cheaper oil costs, a seasonal decline in driving and the switchover to less costly winter-blend gasoline will continue to push down prices through the end of the year.”
  • Gas prices generally drop after Labor Day, which is considered the end of the summer driving season. People typically drive less in the autumn and winter, which is when gas prices usually reach a low for the year.
  • Refinery maintenance this autumn could slow, but not stop a decline in gas prices. Refineries typically conduct maintenance in the autumn and spring when demand for gasoline, diesel and heating oil is relatively low. Even as refineries conduct maintenance, gasoline supplies should continue to outstrip demand unless there are unexpected problems.
  • Many parts of the country can switch over to less expensive, winter-blend gasoline on September 16. The EPA requires that parts of the country use summer-blend gasoline during hot-weather months to improve air quality, but this fuel is unnecessary once temperatures begin to cool. Occasionally, gas prices can increase temporarily in the days leading up the switchover deadline as supplies of remaining summer-blend gasoline tighten.
  • Crude oil remains the primary wildcard in determining future gas prices. If OPEC cuts production, the Chinese economy grows stronger or if Iranian oil is unable to enter the market, then oil prices could rise and push up the cost of gasoline. There also is a possibility that oil prices could drop further in the coming months given the weaknesses in the global economy and because refineries conducting maintenance will need less crude oil.
  • The price of oil briefly dipped below $40 per barrel last week. Historically, sustained oil prices below $40 per barrel have resulted in a national average price of gas below $2 per gallon.
  • There is always the possibility that gas prices could rise due to a number of factors, such a major hurricane striking the U.S. Gulf Coast, higher crude oil prices or unexpected refinery problems.

Gas Under $2 per Gallon Growing More Common in the Southeast

  • More than five percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon and those numbers are growing every day. Last year at this time there were zero stations selling gas under $2 per gallon.
  • The average price of gas in South Carolina is $2.00 per gallon, and will likely fall below that mark before Labor Day weekend begins. Average prices in Alabama and Mississippi also may fall below $2 per gallon over the next week. The last time any state had an average below $2 per gallon was on February 26, when both Idaho and Utah were below that mark.
  • The five most expensive state averages include: Alaska ($3.40), California ($3.31), Nevada ($3.11), Hawaii ($3.08) and Washington ($2.92). The states with the lowest average gas prices include South Carolina ($2.00), Alabama ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.14) and Louisiana ($2.16).

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.

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, August 31, 2105) Pump prices continue to drop and most drivers should pay the lowest gas prices for Labor Day weekend since 2004. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 14 consecutive days for a total of 20 cents per gallon. Today’s average price of $2.47 per gallon marks a savings of 12 cents per gallon compared to one week ago and 18 cents per gallon versus one month ago. Drivers nationwide continue to benefit from the relatively low price of crude oil with today’s average about 96 cents per gallon less than a year ago.

Despite the persistence of some regional refinery issues, average U.S. gas prices are falling at the fastest rates since December. The BP refinery outage in Whiting, Indiana, which sent prices markedly higher in the Midwest several weeks back, has resumed production. Prices continue to fall week-over-week in the previously impacted states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The East Coast is currently facing its own production challenges with reports that the Phillips 66 Bayway refinery in New Jersey is operating at reduced rates. This is in addition to PBF Energy’s Delaware City refinery shutting down its fluid catalytic cracking unit last week due to a fire. These East Coast issues have yet to significantly impact prices in the region as supply continues to outpace demand. Barring any major supply disruptions consumers remain poised to pay the lowest national average for the holiday weekend in 11 years.


The Pacific Northwest remains the nation’s most expensive region for retail gasoline, and all of the states represented in the nation’s top ten most expensive are located west of the Rockies. Alaska ($3.40) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, unseating California ($3.35) after seven straight weeks as the market leader following tightening supply within the state. Nevada ($3.13), Hawaii ($3.10) and Washington ($2.95) round out the top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in South Carolina ($2.02) are paying the lowest price at the pump in the nation.

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On the whole, motorists nationwide are paying less per gallon at the pump. The average price is down week-over-week in 49 states and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (45) posting savings of a nickel or more per gallon over this same period. Consumers in 16 states are benefiting from double-digit savings in the price of retail gasoline, led by Michigan (-31 cents), Ohio (-30 cents), Indiana (-29 cents) and Illinois (-26 cents). Utah (+1 cent) is the only state that bucks this trend of weekly savings.

The majority of drivers (47 states and Washington, D.C.) are also experiencing monthly savings at the pump. Averages are down a dime or more per gallon in 39 states and Washington, D.C., and the price is discounted by a quarter or more per gallon in nine states month-over-month. The largest savings over this same period are in California (-41 cents), New Jersey (-28 cents), Rhode Island (-27 cents) and Maine (-26 cents). Prices moved higher versus one month ago in Indiana (+12 cents), Illinois (+12 cents) and Ohio (+2 cents).

Significant savings continue to be seen in yearly price comparisons due to the relatively low cost of crude oil, which set new multi-year lows last week before rallying to end the week. The price of gas is down year-over-year in every state and Washington D.C., and pump prices are discounted by $1 per gallon or more in 25 states. The largest yearly discounts are in Hawaii (-$1.18), Vermont (-$1.15) and South Carolina (-$1.15).

Market fundamentals remain bearish, even as oil prices staged a rally late last week that pushed prices a bit higher compared to early-week trading sessions where both Brent and WTI exceeded multi-year lows. China’s economic health and the potential for Iranian oil to return to markets remain front of mind, and are expected to keep downward pressure on global crude oil prices. Oil prices were moving lower again at the start of formal trading today, further validating the sentiment that oversupply will continue to characterize the market in the near term.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled at $45.22 per barrel recovering from six and a half year low of $38.25 per barrel reached last Monday.

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

Julie HallEducators applaud the program’s influence in reducing injuries and fatalities among school children age 5 to 14

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 25, 2015) – Since 1920, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program has been instrumental in helping students get to and from school safely. As the program marks its 95th anniversary, Patrollers across North America and in 30 countries will take their post for another school year, wearing their familiar ‘Lectric Lime belt or vest.

“The AAA School Safety Patrol Program relies on student volunteers to assist their classmates at crossings, carpool areas and bus loading and unloading zones,” said AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy Project Manager Rhonda Shah. “Patrollers receive comprehensive training in the fundamentals of traffic safety, working, in many cases, with local law enforcement. They do not direct traffic, but they help students understand when it is safe to enter roadways,” Shah said.

The largest safety program in the world, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program has 635,000 Patrollers in 33,500 schools nationwide. The program has been praised by education and safety groups around the world for reducing injuries and fatalities among school children ages 5 to 14. In 1949, AAA established the AAA Lifesaving Medal to recognize Patrollers who saved a life in the course of duty. To date, 411 Patrollers have received this award.

According to Shah, the program also helps students develop leadership skills and encourages academic achievement and commitment to community involvement. “Patrollers learn the importance of teamwork and develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility,” she said. “Their duties earn respect and recognition from peers, school administrators and community leaders.”

The AAA School Safety Patrol Program was a starting point for many of the nation’s leaders. Numerous Patrol alumni chose a career path in government, law enforcement or community service — crediting the influence of their Patroller experience. Former AAA School Safety Patrol members include Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, as well as several Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Senators, Governors and astronauts. A list of Patrol alumni can be found here.

Schools interested in beginning or expanding a AAA School Safety Patrol Program can find more information at www.SchoolSafetyPatrol.AAA.com.

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

Cheapest average gas prices for late August since 2004

August 24th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, August 24, 2015) Average U.S. gas prices today are at the lowest levels for this time of year since 2004 due to the steep decline in the cost of crude oil. Gas prices have dropped recently despite ongoing refinery problems, and prices should continue to fall this autumn due to declining demand and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.59 per gallon, which is eight cents less than a week ago and 84 cents less than a year ago. Pump prices are now 21 cents per gallon below the 2015 peak price reached on June 15.

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BP’s largest crude distillation unit at its Whiting, Indiana refinery remains out of commission, due to a malfunction reported on August 8 that triggered dramatically higher prices in the Great Lakes region. Repairs to the unit are reported to be ongoing, and the company has yet to release a date they expect the unit to return to production. However, BP has purchased additional fuel supply and met all of its contractual requirements to date. Although regional supply is still uncertain due to the outage, prices in the region have moved lower over the past week as speculation has built that supply issues might not be as dire as first worried.

Motorists in the Pacific Northwest continue to pay the nation’s highest averages, with five of the six states with averages above $3 per gallon located in this region. California ($3.47) leads the market, and is followed by regional neighbors Alaska ($3.43), Nevada ($3.18), Hawaii ($3.17) and Washington ($3.04) as the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.11) are paying the lowest average at the pump.

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Weekly price comparisons continue to reflect volatile fluctuations in the balance between regional supply and demand. Just a week after Midwestern drivers were reeling from sharply higher pump prices, motorists in these same states have seen prices plummet week-over-week: Indiana (-19 cents), Ohio (-19 cents), Michigan (-19 cents), and Illinois (-13 cents). Consumers in 30 states are experiencing weekly savings of at least a nickel per gallon at the pump and a total of seven states are posting double-digit savings over this same period. Prices in every state are lower today than one week ago.

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Retail averages are down in 44 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. The largest discounts in the price of retail gasoline were in California (-36 cents) and New Jersey (-25 cents). Consumers in 33 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying monthly savings of a dime or more per gallon at the pump. On the other end of the spectrum, retail averages have moved higher in six states over this same period. Prices are double-digits higher in five Midwestern states compared to one month ago: Indiana (+30 cents), Illinois (+26 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+16 cents), and Wisconsin (+16 cents).

Year-over-year discounts in the price of retail gasoline persist, largely due to the price of crude being significantly discounted from this date in 2014. Pump prices in nearly every state (48 and Washington, D.C.) are more than 50 cents per gallon lower than this same date last year. Motorists in 12 states are saving $1 or more per gallon in the average price to refuel their vehicles.

Crude oil prices have continued to sag, due to persisting global oversupply and concerns about the health of the Chinese economy. China is one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing economies. Evidence of slower than projected growth in the Chinese economy is rippling through global markets and has put additional downward pressure on the price of crude. Both crude oil benchmarks (Brent and West Texas Intermediate) ended last week at their lowest levels since March 2009, and the market is expected to remain volatile in the near term. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled at its lowest close since March 2, 2009 down 87 cents at $40.45 per barrel. These losses accelerated today as WTI opened the week trading $1.50 per barrel lower, well below the $40 per barrel threshold.

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.

Midwest Gas Prices Jump Due to New Refinery Problem

August 17th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, August 17, 2105) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline ended a 27-day streak of daily declines last week and has since increased for six straight days. Today’s average price of $2.67 per gallon is an increase of eight cents per gallon versus one week ago, due largely to a new refinery problem in the Midwest. Despite recently rising prices, drivers are saving nine cents per gallon month-over-month and continue to enjoy significant yearly savings with today’s average discounted 79 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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Motorists in the Midwest are familiar with volatile prices during the summer driving season, yet it is very rare to see the magnitude of the price jumps that occurred over the past week, particularly in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Prices in the region moved markedly higher on the heels of news that BP had unexpectedly shutdown the largest of its three crude distillation units (CDU) at its Whiting, Indiana refinery on Saturday, August 8 for unscheduled repair work. The refinery is capable of producing 430,000 barrels of refined product per day, and the shutdown of the facility’s CDU has noticeably impacted supply within the region. BP is reportedly working to meet its fuel supply obligations and has yet to report when it expects the unit to resume production, though initial reports indicate it may take a month or longer to repair. While the Great Lakes region has experienced the largest price increases, drivers in neighboring states and in the Central United States also have seen prices rise over the past week in response to this latest refinery problem.

Retail averages on the West Coast also remain volatile due to changes in the balance between supply and demand. California ($3.58) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and is joined by Alaska ($3.47), Nevada ($3.22), Hawaii ($3.20) and Illinois ($3.16) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets.  Consumers in South Carolina ($2.18) and Alabama ($2.21) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump.

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Week-over-week the average price at the pump has climbed higher in 20 states. Pump prices in the Midwest have skyrocketed due to the aforementioned refinery issues. Motorists in Indiana have seen prices jump by 59 cents per gallon over this period, and similar price surges occurred in the neighboring states of Illinois (+56 cents), Michigan (+51 cents), Ohio (+44 cents) and Wisconsin (+39 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are down in 30 states and Washington D.C., and have fallen in a less dramatic fashion with the largest declines in New Jersey (-5 cents), Rhode Island (-5 cents) and Delaware (-5 cents).

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Drivers in the majority of states are experiencing monthly savings at the pump. Retail averages have moved lower in 39 states and Washington, D.C., month-over-month, and price comparisons in 30 states and Washington, D.C., are reflecting double-digit savings. The largest discounts in price over this same period are in California (-30 cents), Delaware (-23 cents) and North Carolina (-21 cents). Motorists in 11 states are paying monthly premiums at the pump, led by Indiana (+38 cents), Illinois (+32 cents), Michigan (+26 cents), and Wisconsin (+25 cents).

The relatively low price of crude remains evident in the significant year-over-year savings at the pump. Pump prices are discounted by $1 or more in five states compared to this same date last year: Hawaii (-$1.11), Connecticut (-$1.06), Vermont (-$1.06), Alabama (-$1.00) and New Hampshire (-$1.00), and drivers in more than half of states (34 states and Washington, D.C.) are enjoying yearly savings of 75 cents or more per gallon.

Market fundamentals continue to support the price of crude moving lower in the near term due to global oversupply. In addition to reports confirming the likelihood of sustained production from both OPEC and higher cost production countries like the United States, which has kept downward pressure on the price of crude, the market is now responding to reports that the Japanese economy is shrinking. Both exports and consumer spending fell in Japan from April to June, which has been viewed as yet another signal that supply will likely outpace demand in the near term.

West Texas Intermediate opened the week trading at a six-year low due to this evidence of continued global crude oversupply and weakening economies. This comes on the heels of WTI closing out last week at $42.50 per barrel, up slightly on the day.

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.

U.S. Average Gas Prices Drop 26 Consecutive Days

August 10th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, August 10, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 26 consecutive days, reaching today’s average of $2.59 per gallon. This is the longest streak of consecutive declines since January, and pump prices have moved lower by 19 cents per gallon over this period. Drivers are saving six cents per gallon week-over-week, and 17 cents per gallon month-over-month. The relatively low price of crude continues to provide consumers with significant yearly savings, and today’s average gas price is 89 cents per gallon lower than this same date last year.

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the domestic benchmark for crude oil, has reached its lowest price since March 2015, and market fundamentals point to prices moving lower in the near term. Oversupply continues to characterize the oil market, and according to the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), refinery utilization rates are running at record highs. The monthly average price of crude oil currently accounts for approximately 40 percent of the price consumers pay at the pump, and with WTI posting its sixth consecutive week of losses, pump prices are likely to post notable declines leading up to the Labor Day holiday.

California ($3.58) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, though prices in that state have fallen for 14 consecutive days for a total savings of 23 cents per gallon. Regional neighbors Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.23), Nevada ($3.20), Washington ($3.13) and Oregon ($3.04) are the only other states posting averages above $3 per gallon, and this region remains the nation’s most expensive market. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in South Carolina ($2.20) are paying the nation’s lowest prices at the pump.

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Regional volatility is reflected in weekly price comparisons, with the largest movements in price occurring in states where refineries have completed repairs or are currently undergoing maintenance. With the exception of Ohio (+10 cents), consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are experiencing weekly savings in the price at the pump. While prices in Ohio have risen over the past week, Ohioan motorists are still enjoying significant savings (20 cents) compared to a month ago. Drivers in California (-15 cents), Minnesota (-11 cents), Oklahoma (-10 cents) and Iowa (-10 cents) are experiencing the largest weekly discounts in price, and drivers in a total of 36 states are saving at least a nickel per gallon in at the pump week-over-week.

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The average price at the pump has moved lower in 48 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Motorists in 35 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices move lower by double-digit increments over this same period, with the largest drops in price seen in Michigan (-36 cents), Indiana (-32 cents) and Kentucky (-31 cents). Outside of this trend prices have climbed higher, although in a less dramatic fashion, in Colorado (+9 cents) and Alaska (fractions of a penny) compared to one month ago.

Yearly comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts in the average price for retail gasoline. The vast majority of drivers (47 states and Washington, D.C) are saving 75 cents or more at the pump, and retail averages are down by $1 or more in seven states over this same period. The largest year-over-year discounts in the price at the pump are seen in Indiana (-$1.13), Michigan (-$1.10) and Hawaii (-$1.10).

Expectations that the global oil market will remain oversupplied in the near term are keeping downward pressure on the price of crude. The Chinese economy continues to show signs of weakness, which increases concerns that this expected driver of global consumption may not be poised to help counter the market’s oversupply. The global oil market is also paying close attention to the potential for Iranian oil to return to market as early as this fall, as well as high production from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s swing producer.

Domestic focus has shifted to the potential for a glut in gasoline due to strong refinery runs and the potential for demand to drop as the summer-driving season concludes. In addition, U.S. crude oil rig counts have added 32 rigs over the last six weeks. Combined with record refinery runs, it is increasingly likely that excess supply will characterize the domestic market and keep downward pressure on WTI.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 79 cents at $43.87 per barrel, which was a five-month low.

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 Price Slide Reaches 19 Days

August 3rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, August 3, 2015) The resolution of localized refinery issues and lower prices for crude oil has kept downward pressure on the national average price at the pump, which has fallen for 19 consecutive days. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.65 per gallon, down six cents versus one week and 12 cents versus one month ago. Drivers are paying the lowest averages for this date since 2009, and today’s national average represents a savings of 85 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year. The national average is now 15 cents per gallon lower than the 2015 peak price of $2.80 on June 15.

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The national average has steadily dropped, yet volatility continues to characterize several regional markets due to unexpected drawdowns in supply. While some states may not experience significant price drops as a result of regional supply and distribution issues, the national average is expected to keep moving lower leading up to the Labor Day holiday, barring any unexpected spikes in the price of global crude oil or unexpected disruptions to domestic production.

Pump prices west of the Rockies remain the most expensive in the nation and all seven states with averages above $3 per gallon are located in this region. Drivers in California ($3.74) are paying the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline and are followed by Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.28), Nevada ($3.24) and Washington ($3.17) as top five most expensive markets for motorists. Although prices on the West Coast appear to be easing, retail averages remain volatile based on shifts in supply and demand. Alabama ($2.266) is the nation’s least expensive market, unseating South Carolina ($2.269) by fractions of a penny.

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With the exception of Indiana (+2 cents) and Alaska (+1 cents), pump prices are down in every state and Washington, D.C. over the past week. The largest discounts in price are seen in Ohio (-14 cents), Kansas (-11 cents) and Minnesota (-11 cents), while consumers in 24 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying weekly saving of a nickel or more per gallon.

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The majority of drivers (39 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying less to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Averages are down by a dime or more per gallon in 30 states and Washington, D.C., with the most dramatic savings in the Midwest: Ohio (-41 cents), Michigan (-38 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-31 cents). Production issues had driven prices higher in this region over the past several months, and following their resolution, prices have fallen as supply and demand have returned to balance. On the other end of the spectrum, prices in 11 states have moved higher over this same period due to the lingering impact of refinery issues. Motorists in California (+30 cents) and Colorado (+13 cents) are paying the largest premiums compared to one month ago.

The average price for retail gasoline remains significantly discounted versus this same date last year. Motorists nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles, and prices are down by 75 cents per gallon or more in the majority of states (41 and Washington, D.C.). Year-over-year prices are down by $1 or more in five states, with the largest savings at the pump being enjoyed by drivers in Ohio (-$1.17) and Hawaii (-$1.06).

The global price of crude oil continues to sink on expectations that the market will remain oversupplied in the near term. Recent reports suggest that Chinese manufacturing has fallen to its lowest level in two years, which may signal that this important driver of global consumption is poised for less than anticipated economic growth. Weaker growth means lower than projected oil demand, which could further increase the glut in global petroleum supplies. Reports that Iran is planning to increase oil output when sanctions are lifted, combined with the U.S. increasing its rig count, has also contributed to major crude benchmarks (Brent and West Texas Intermediate) opening this week’s trading session at multi-month lows.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.40 at $47.12 per barrel – a product of late selling on the heels of news that U.S. oil rig counts were up for the second week in a row. The market’s fundamentals are characterized as weak, and last week’s lows are expected to be tested over the next seven days.

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 Price Decline May Accelerate in August

July 31st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile
Average U.S. Gas Prices Falling at the Fastest Rate Since January

  • Gas prices are falling at the fastest rate since January due to cheaper crude oil costs and the resolution of some refinery issues. The national average price of gas has dropped for 16 days in row for a total of 11 cents per gallon. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.66 per gallon, which is the lowest average for this time of year since 2009.
  • “It feels good to see gas prices drop during the middle of the busy summer driving season,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Millions of people are hitting the roads right now and these gas savings should make their trips more affordable.”
  • Gas prices averaged $2.75 per gallon in July, which was the lowest average for the month since 2010. Today’s average gas prices are about 85 cents per gallon less than a year ago. The national average has dropped about 14 cents per gallon since hitting a 2015 high of $2.80 on June 15.
  • Oil prices dropped sharply in July on oversupply concerns for the second year in a row. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at a high of $61.43 per barrel in late June and has since dropped below $48 per barrel. Domestic oil supplies are about 25 percent more abundant than a year ago, while domestic oil production remains about 12 percent higher than last year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Oil prices were last this low in March, when the national average price of gas was about 30 cents per gallon cheaper than today.
  • Strong fuel demand and refinery problems have kept gas prices higher than would otherwise be expected based on the cost of crude oil. Gasoline demand in July is up about six percent compared to a year ago, based on the latest four-week averages by the EIA. Strong gasoline demand can lead to tight supplies, especially if refineries are experiencing problems.
  • Lower gas prices and a growing economy have helped motivate people to drive more this year. Americans drove 275.1 billion miles in May, which was the highest monthly total on record, according to the most recent report by the Federal Highway Administration. It is likely that driving has continued to increase this summer as Americans take long road trips.
  • This is the second year in a row that gas prices dropped in July. Last year, average prices dropped 16 cents per gallon during the month before eventually plummeting $1.65 per gallon though January.
  • The average price of diesel is only seven cents per gallon more than gasoline today. The difference between gasoline and diesel reached its most narrow point since 2009 in July. In January, the average price of diesel was 90 cents more expensive per gallon than gasoline. Gasoline and diesel prices are generally closest in the summer, while strong gasoline demand and refinery problems have kept gas prices higher than would otherwise be expected based on recent crude oil costs.

Average U.S. Gas Prices to Possibly Drop Another 15 Cents in August

  • Gas prices should continue dropping to catch up with the recent decline in the cost of crude oil. All things being equal, a $12 decline in crude oil costs could reduce gas prices by as much as 29 cents per gallon. Given that prices have already dropped about 14 cents per gallon since reaching a 2015 high in June, drivers could see prices drop another 15 cents per gallon in the near term if oil remains stable and refineries operate at current production levels. Gas prices could drop even further if oil continues to fall and gasoline supplies grow larger this month.
  • The recent price declines are hopefully just a precursor of much bigger savings to come at the pump,” continued Ash. “We could see many parts of the country make another run towards $2 per gallon by the end of the year if everything keeps running smoothly.”
  • Gas prices could drop more dramatically after Labor Day as people take fewer road trips and use less gasoline, which could lead to an even larger glut in petroleum supplies. In addition, stations in many parts of the country can switch over to less expensive winter-blend gasoline on September 15. The Southeastern and Central United States are the two regions most likely to see a large number of gas stations offering prices around $2 per gallon this winter.
  • There are a number of factors that could keep gas prices from falling as expected, such as major refinery disruptions, higher oil costs, a major hurricane or conflict overseas. In addition, all parts of the country may not see prices drop as quickly. For example, refinery problems continue on the West Coast, which raises the possibility of price increases for that region if supplies grow tight.

Average Gas Prices in California are $1.50 more Expensive than in South Carolina

  • California has the most expensive gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $3.79 per gallon. California’s average is about $1.50 more expensive than South Carolina’s average, which is $2.29 per gallon and the nation’s least expensive market for retail gasoline.
  • The five most expensive state averages include: California ($3.79), Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.29), Nevada ($3.25) and Washington ($3.18). The states with the lowest average gas prices include South Carolina ($2.29), Alabama ($2.29), Mississippi ($2.33), Ohio ($2.36) and Indiana ($2.37).
  • Gas prices remain relatively high across the Western United States, due to ongoing refinery problems and strong demand. California, which has the largest concentration of drivers in the region, has experienced a number of refinery issues and supply challenges.
  • A handful of U.S. stations are once again selling gas for less than $2 per gallon. By comparison, about 11 percent of stations are selling gas for more than $3 per gallon today.
  • The most common price in the country is $2.499 per gallon, which compares to $3.399 per gallon a year ago.

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.

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.

AAA Foundation study shows increased risk of depression and entry into long-term care facilities among former older drivers

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 23, 2015) – Older adults who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel, according to a new report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University.  The study examined older adults who have permanently given up driving and the impact it has on their health and mental well-being. The importance of understanding the effects this lifestyle change has on older adults is essential, as the number of drivers aged 65 and older continues to increase in the United States with nearly 81 percent of the 39.5 million seniors in this age group still behind the wheel.

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“This comprehensive review of research confirmed the consequences of driving cessation in older adults,” Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The decision to stop driving, whether voluntary or involuntary, appears to contribute to a variety of health problems for seniors, particularly depression as social circles are greatly reduced.”

The AAA Foundation’s report on Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes for Older Adults examined declines in general health and physical, social, and cognitive functions in former drivers. With the cessation of driving, the study found:

  • Diminished productivity and low participation in daily life activities outside of the home;
  • Risk of depression nearly doubled;
  • 51 percent reduction in the size of social networks over a 13-year period;
  • Accelerated decline in cognitive ability over a 10-year period; and former drivers were
  • Five times as likely to be admitted to a long term care facility.

The latest report in the AAA Foundation’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project, Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes for Older Adults consisted of a systemic literature review of previously published studies pertinent to the health consequences of driving cessation. Sixteen studies met the criteria for inclusion. The full report can be viewed here.

“Maintaining independence by continuing to drive safely is important to overall health and well-being. When the decision is made to relinquish the keys, it is vital to mitigate the potential negative effects through participation in programs that allow seniors to remain mobile and socially connected,” said Kissinger.

As a leading advocate for senior driver safety AAA provides many programs and resources for senior drivers including Roadwise Review. Roadwise Review Online is a free, confidential; screening/self-assessment tool developed by AAA to help older driver’s measure certain mental and physical abilities important for safe driving. In as little as 30 minutes, users can identify and get further guidance on the physical and mental skills that need improvement—all in the privacy of their own home.

For more information on all the free resources AAA offers to older drivers, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

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 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, July 6, 2015) Motorists paid the lowest price at the pump for Independence Day travel since 2010, saving 90 cents per gallon compared to the 2014 holiday. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.77 per gallon, down fractions of a penny versus one week ago. The national average price remained relatively steady over the past 30 days, despite regional fluctuations in price due to refinery issues, and today’s average represents an increase of one cent per gallon versus one month ago. Pump prices remain considerably discounted year-over-year, with drivers saving 89 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices

During July 2014, averages fell on all but one day during the month, for a total drop of 16 cents per gallon. Despite the decline in recent weeks, the direction of pump prices in the near term is less than certain. Consumer demand for gasoline typically climbs during July and August, and the ability of supply to keep pace with growing demand can directly impact the price at the pump. Additionally, retail averages can also be impacted by Atlantic hurricanes or issues at refineries, both capable of limiting supply and putting upward pressure on prices for drivers. While these domestic factors could influence gas prices higher, the relatively low price of crude oil is expected to keep a ceiling on the price at the pump compared to recent years. AAA still expects drivers to pay averages below $3 per gallon for the rest of the year.

Pump prices west of the Rockies continue to lead the nation with the only state averages higher than $3 per gallon. For the second week in a row motorists in Alaska ($3.48) are paying the nation’s highest price for retail gasoline. The Last Frontier is followed by regional neighbors California ($3.44), Hawaii ($3.37), Nevada ($3.20) and Washington ($3.20) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets. South Carolina ($2.43) and Mississippi ($2.47) are posting the nation’s lowest averages, discounted by more than $1 per gallon from the market leader.

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices-7-6-15

Weekly price comparisons reflect drivers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. experiencing savings at the pump. Of the 14 states where the price has moved higher over this same period, 12 states are posting premiums of two cents per gallon or less. On the whole, the average price for retail gasoline has remained relatively stable, week-over-week, moving +/- 3 cents per gallon in the majority of states (47) and Washington, D.C. Three states located in the midcontinent region are outside of this trend: Ohio (-10 cents), Idaho (+7 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) – the fluctuations in price are largely attributed to supply and demand remaining out of balance within the region following refinery issues in recent months.

Top10-Largest-Monthly-Increase-7-6-15

Despite the national average remaining relatively stable over the past 30 days, the lingering effects of regional refinery issues continue to be reflected in monthly price comparisons at the state level. The price has climbed higher in 37 states and Washington D.C. month-over-month, with the largest price movements in regions previously facing issues at major refineries. A total of seven states are posting double-digit increases over this period, led by Michigan (+22 cents), Idaho (+13 cents) and Washington (+13 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are down in 13 states versus one month ago. Prices in California (-18 cents) and Nevada (-7 cents) have fallen by more than one nickel per gallon over this same period due to the earlier resolution of refinery issues in California.

Nationwide, drivers are enjoying significant discounts in the price for retail gasoline versus this same date last year. Consumers in Connecticut (-$1.04) and Washington D.C. (-$1.01) are saving more than $1 per gallon at the pump, and drivers in the vast majority of states (45 and Washington, D.C.) are posting yearly discounts of more than 75 cents per gallon.

International considerations remain front and center for oil prices, due to their potential to impact both global supply and nations’ demand for crude oil on the global market. Over the weekend Greece voted ‘no’ on a referendum over debt bailout terms, which is seen as the latest signal that the country could exit the Eurozone following its recent default on loans from the International Monetary Fund. This news puts substantial pressure on the value of the Euro and subsequently adds further strength to the U.S. dollar. A stronger U.S. dollar makes crude oil (priced in U.S. dollars) relatively more expensive for those holding other currencies, which lowers demand and pressures prices lower.

The NYMEX was closed last Friday in observance of the Independence Day holiday, and on Thursday West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled down three cents at $56.93 per barrel, reaching its lowest finish since April. Losses continued when markets reopened this morning, and prices were driven lower by the results of the Greek vote over the weekend. Shortly after the open this morning WTI had dropped $2.50 per barrel.

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

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