Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 23, 2016) Gas prices are at their highest point for the year as we approach the Memorial Day holiday, and the national average has increased for 12 days in a row. Today’s average of $2.28 per gallon is up six cents per gallon on the week and 15 cents per gallon on the month. Despite this increase, drivers remain on target to pay the lowest prices for the Memorial Day holiday since 2005. AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, which is an increase of 700,000 compared to a year ago. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. Nearly 34 million (89 percent) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year.

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Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: California ($2.80), Hawaii ($2.66), Washington ($2.59), Alaska ($2.58) and Nevada ($2.49).
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.05), South Carolina ($2.06), Arkansas ($2.06), Texas ($2.07) and Missouri ($2.07).
  • For the first time since August 2015, drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying averages above $2 per gallon.

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West Coast

California ($2.80) and Hawaii ($2.66) are the two most expensive states in the nation, but prices have remained relatively steady over the past week. Gasoline inventories are posting a surplus in comparison to last year and gasoline production in the region is also on par with year-ago levels.  As a result, drivers in the region are benefitting from some of the nation’s largest yearly savings in the price at the pump. The West Coast states of California (-97 cents), Nevada (-82 cents), Alaska (-69 cents), Arizona (-63 cents) and Hawaii (-63 cents) lead the nation and are posting the largest year-over-year discounts in the price of gas.

Gulf Coast

Drivers in Gulf Coast states continue to pay some of the nation’s least expensive prices at the pump.  Mississippi ($2.05) is the nation’s cheapest state, and six of the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are also located in this region. Consumers in the Gulf Coast have seen prices climb higher on the week with every state posting an increase of a nickel or more per gallon at the pump. Gas prices are reportedly responding to a number of refineries in the region going offline to conduct unplanned maintenance, including Marathon’s Galveston Bay, Texas plant, which is one of the country’s largest and most complex refineries. Despite the region’s production challenges, the market remains well supplied with gasoline and prices are expected to remain relatively low.

Midwest

Regional gasoline inventories decreased for the 14th consecutive week. Interruptions in crude oil deliveries to refineries in the Midwest, due to fires in the Canadian Oil Sands, are challenging the ability of the local market to meet growing demand. Pump prices continue to swing in the region and the Midwestern states of Ohio (+13 cents), Michigan (+13 cents) and Indiana (+11 cents) lead the nation, posting the largest week-over-week increases in the price of gas. Minnesota (+23 cents), Michigan (+21 cents), Wisconsin (+20 cents) and Ohio (+20 cents) rank in the nation’s top 10 largest monthly increases, and every state in the region is posting double-digit increases over this time period.

Planned and unplanned refinery maintenance is also causing prices to fluctuate in the region. Output at BP’s Whiting, Indiana plant and the BP-Husky plant in Toledo, Ohio are expected to be limited for the next few weeks. Growing gasoline demand within the region, combined with supply challenges, are likely to contribute to prices remaining volatile leading into the summer driving season.

East Coast

One of the largest refineries on the East Coast, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex, experienced a fire Friday afternoon. The extent of the damage is still being assessed, and regardless of any downtime associated with this incident, prices in the region are expected to remain relatively steady due to the abundant supply of gasoline and inventories in the New York Harbor region.

Oil Market Dynamics

Global crude oil prices recently moved higher due to unexpected declines in oil production in various parts of the world, such as Canada and Nigeria. This rally was short lived and the market once again reflected a bearish sentiment following reports of a strengthening U.S. dollar and questionable global demand. The United States’ role as swing producer is also garnering attention, with domestic production falling to its lowest levels since September 2014. Market watchers are paying close attention to how domestic producers are responding to changes in the global price of crude and the impact of their actions on the global oil prices.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI closed out the week down 41 cents to settle at $47.75 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.

Julie HallThe great American road trip is back; Memorial Day travel volume will be second-highest on record

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 19, 2016) – AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people will travel compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.

Additional Resources

“Americans are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel in numbers not seen in more than a decade,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices, and millions of people from coast to coast are ready to kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway.”

AAA estimates that Americans have saved more than $15 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and prices are at the lowest levels in 11 years. The strong labor market and rising personal income are also motivating people to travel for Memorial Day this year.

Low gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Memorial Day

Nearly 34 million (89 percent) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year as a result of lower gas prices. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent over last year, with 2.6 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will fall 2.3 percent, to 1.6 million travelers.

Lowest Memorial Day gas prices in 11 years expected

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline today is $2.26, 45 cents less than last year. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices since 2005. According to a recent AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.

Airfares, hotel and car rental rates

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this Memorial Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $165. Hotel costs are in line with last Memorial Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $183, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $151 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $62, three percent less than last year.

AAA to rescue more than 350,000 motorists this Memorial Day

AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists during the Memorial Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Memorial Day travelers heading to warm weather destinations & cities

Many Memorial Day travelers will head to warm weather destinations and historic American cities to kick off their summer travels. The top destinations this Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA.com and AAA travel agency sales, are:

  1. Orlando
  2. Myrtle Beach
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. New York
  5. Miami
  6. San Francisco
  7. Boston
  8. Honolulu
  9. Los Angeles
  10. South Padre Island

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Memorial Day getaway

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

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

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2016 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast can be found here.

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

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 9, 2016) The national average price of gas declined slightly on the week, and it is possible that prices have begun to stabilize has refineries increase production to meet record-high demand. Today’s average price of $2.21 per gallon represents an increase of 17 cents per gallon on the month, and prices have moved higher for 23 of the past 31 days. Despite this recent trend higher, retail averages are down by one cent per gallon on the week, and drivers continue to benefit from year-over-year discounts, saving 45 cents per gallon on the year.

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According to the latest data from the U.S. EIA, total U.S. gasoline supplies are at their highest levels to start May on record. Historically gasoline demand increases leading into the summer driving season, and this year so far is no different. However, lower gas prices are contributing to drivers taking to the roads at record levels and the 2016 summer driving season is expected to rival 2007 when gasoline demand hit an all-time high.

Gasoline demand reached its fourth-highest weekly estimate for 2016 and remains well above year-over-year levels. Although the market is well supplied with product, the notable growth in gasoline demand could cause pump prices to become volatile leading into the summer driving season. Refineries nationwide are ramping up production, which should help increase supplies in regional markets. This is good news for the average driver, because if supply can keep pace with demand, averages should remain relatively low and drivers should continue to benefit from comparative savings at the pump.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: California ($2. 80), Hawaii ($2. 64), Washington ($2.49), Nevada ($2.48) and Alaska ($2.46).
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.95), Kansas ($1.98), Missouri ($1.98), Texas ($2.00) and Arkansas ($2.00).
  • Averages are down nationwide year-over-year, with the largest yearly savings experienced by drivers on the West Coast: California (-91 cents), Nevada (-73 cents), Alaska (-69 cents), Oregon ( -60 cents), Hawaii (-59 cents) and Arizona (-55 cents).
  • Gas prices are up by more than a quarter per gallon month-over-month in Utah (+29 cents), Delaware (+27 cents), Idaho (+26 cents) and West Virginia (+26 cents).
  • The most common price at the pump is $2.099 per gallon.

West Coast
Drivers on the West Coast continue to pay the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline, and the nation’s top five most expensive markets are all in this region: California ($2. 80), Hawaii ($2. 64), Washington ($2.49), Nevada ($2.48) and Alaska ($2.46). Gasoline stocks grew on the week and remain well above levels commonplace for this time of year, which should keep prices relatively steady as more drivers take to the roads.

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ExxonMobil’s Torrance Calif. refinery delayed the restart of its fluid catalytic cracker and associated gasoline production units due to unexpected operational delays. Gasoline production is not expected to be at full capacity until later in the month, and the return of this refinery is expected to help offset some of the growing demand in the state and region.

Gulf Coast
On the other end of the spectrum, the Gulf Coast remains the nation’s least expensive markets for gas. Every state in the region is represented in the nation’s top ten least expensive markets for retail gasoline: Texas ($2.00), Arkansas ($2.00), Louisiana ($2.01), Mississippi ($2.01), Alabama ($2.04) and New Mexico ($2.04). Pump prices are typically lower in this region of the country, based on its proximity to a large number of refineries.

According to the latest data from the U.S. EIA, high inventories and production characterize the Gulf Coast, and the refinery utilization rate also grew in the region on the week. The supply of gasoline is reported to be ample, and prices within the region should remain on the lower end of the spectrum as we enter the busy summer driving season, provided there are no unexpected disruptions.

Midwest
As has often been the case in recent years, volatility continues to characterize pump prices in the Midwest. Retail averages are down double digits on the week in Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), and Michigan (-10 cents). This is in contrast to last week’s report, where each of the abovementioned states were posting double digit increases week-over-week. Gasoline inventories in the Midwest fell for the 12th consecutive week due to growing demand and heavy refinery maintenance, but remain above year-over-year levels.

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The region is also home to some of the nation’s lowest pump prices: Oklahoma ($1.95), Kansas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.98), which are the only three states with averages below $2 per gallon.

The wildfires in the Canadian Oil Sands may potentially impact drivers in the Midwest because crude oil from this region is sold and refined in the Midwest. Disruptions in this oil supply could result in higher costs for refiners, which could lead to higher gas prices. Prices in the region are likely to remain volatile in the near term, and will continue to reflect the ability of supply to keep pace with demand.

East Coast
Gasoline inventories are up on the East Coast and the return of a few refineries to production in the region are also contributing to the overall expected growth in U.S. refining production. The regional market is well supplied with product, though three of the top ten most expensive markets are located in the region: Pennsylvania ($2.40), Washington, D.C. ($2.39) and New York ($2.38). On the whole, gas prices in the region have been steady, moving by +/-2 cents per gallon over the past week.

Oil Market Dynamics
The possibility of disrupted supply from the Canadian Oil Sands influenced the global price of crude oil over the past week; however, expectations of reduced supply were largely overshadowed by news of increased production out of Iran and other OPEC and non-OPEC nations. Iran reportedly reached pre-sanction production levels, and as production countries continue to fight for market share, the global oil market is likely to remain oversupplied.

Global oil prices rallied over the weekend due to news that the longtime Saudi Arabian oil minister would be replaced. This sentiment was short-lived as reports quickly surfaced that the world’s largest exporter would maintain its current course and attempt to defend its market share by sustaining production levels. Oversupply is likely to continue to characterize the global oil market and attention will remain focused on output from non-OPEC countries and any other factors that may help bring supply and demand into balance.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 34 cents and settled at $44.66 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.

Gas Prices Climb to Six-Month High

May 2nd, 2016 by AAA

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 2, 2016) Gas prices are at their highest levels in more than six months, and the national average has remained above $2 per gallon for 40 consecutive days. Today’s average price of $2. 22 represents an increase of eight cents per gallon on the week, and prices are up 16 cents per gallon on the month. Ample gasoline supplies and relatively lower crude oil costs are helping to sustain year-over-year savings, with today’s price discounted by 39 cents per gallon versus a year ago.

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Gasoline demand continues to break seasonal records as low prices motivate people to drive more. Additionally, crude oil costs are also increasing and recently reached new 2016 highs. Increased demand and more expensive oil costs have helped to push gas prices higher in many parts of the country over the past few weeks, and prices may move even higher leading into the busy summer driving season.

The average price at the pump for the month of April was $2.10 per gallon, which is the lowest average for this month since 2009. Only 20 percent of U.S. stations are still selling gas for less than $2 per gallon and pump prices are moving due to growth in fuel demand, which is up 5.6 percent versus a year ago, according to the latest data from the U.S. EIA. Gas prices have increased by 52 cents per gallon after hitting a 2016 low in mid-February.

Four states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, which is nine fewer states than last week’s report. Retail averages have historically fluctuated during this time of year, and although the overall price at the pump is beginning to trend higher, gas prices during this year’s summer driving should remain noticeably discounted in comparison to previous years.

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The national average price of diesel has been cheaper than gasoline for the past five days, and diesel may remain less expensive than gasoline for the remainder of the summer. In recent years it has been rare for diesel to be cheaper than gasoline. The last time the national average price of diesel was less than gasoline for a significant period was in the summer of 2009, when the average was cheaper for 48 days in a row. It is possible that diesel will remain cheaper than gasoline for the next 3-4 months due to abundant supplies and seasonal factors impacting both gasoline and diesel.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: California ($2. 80), Hawaii ($2. 58), Nevada ($2.48), Alaska ($2.42) and Washington ($2.42).
  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.96), Texas ($1.98), Missouri ($1.99), Kansas ($1.99) and Mississippi ($2.00).
  • The most common price at the pump is $1.999 per gallon.

Consumer Attitudes

The lower price environment for gas prices has not only led to drivers taking to the roads at record levels, but is also shifting attitudes about various price points. Attitudes towards gas prices have changed significantly over the past few years, according to a new survey by AAA:

  • Half of U.S. drivers now believe gas is “too high” at $2.50 per gallon. This figure has dropped significantly in relationship to the price of gas. As recently as 2014, half of Americans believed gas was “too high” at $3.30 per gallon, while last year half of Americans believed it was “too high” at $3 per gallon. Only nine percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today.
  • More than 35 percent of Americans believe that gas is “too high” based on today’s average price, even though gas prices are at the lowest levels since 2009. The vast majority of Americans also do not believe that gas is “cheap” today.

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain some of the highest in the nation, led by California ($2.80) and Hawaii ($2.58), which are the only two states with averages above $2.50 per gallon. Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.48), Alaska ($2.42) and Washington ($2.42) join in the rankings as the top five most expensive markets. Six out of ten of the nation’s top 10 most expensive retail markets are located in this region.

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Refinery operations in California are described as relatively healthy compared to a year ago, and gasoline production on the West Coast is reportedly at a seven-month high. The market appears to be well supplied with product, and barring any unexpected disruptions in supply, gas prices in the region should hold relatively steady. Drivers in the region have benefitted from a surplus in gasoline supply versus one year ago, which has contributed to noticeable savings at the pump year-over-year. A total of five states nationwide are posting yearly discounts of more than 50 cents per gallon, all located within this region: California (-88 cents), Alaska (-68 cents), Nevada (-66 cents), Hawaii (-61 cents), Oregon (-59 cents).

ExxonMobil’s Torrance Calif. refinery is still in the process of restarting gasoline production, and is expected to be fully online in May. This refinery produces approximately 10 percent of all gasoline sold in California and when it went offline in February of 2015 due to an explosion, prices to spiked in the region.

Midwest

Prices in the Midwest continue to swing significantly due to movements in supply and demand. Retail averages are up double digits on the week in the Midwestern states of Michigan (+13 cents), Ohio (+13 cents), Indiana (+11 cents) and Illinois (+10 cents). Some of the largest jumps in gas prices month-over-month are also seen in the region, and averages are up by more than a quarter per gallon in Illinois (+29 cents), Indiana (+28 cents), Ohio (+28 cents) on the month.

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Despite this trend of weekly and monthly increases, this region is also home to some of nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline: Oklahoma ($1.96), Missouri ($1.99) and Kansas ($1.99).  Crude oil supply is reportedly building in the region and refineries are continuing to return to production following the spring maintenance season. The refinery utilization rate in the region is increasing, which should help stabilize the price at the pump, barring any unexpected disruptions in supply.

Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast region includes some of nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline: Texas ($1.98), Louisiana ($2.00), Arkansas ($2.00) and New Mexico ($2.03). Ample supply is a contributing factor to the comparatively lower prices in the region, and the latest data from the U.S. EIA reflects an increase in gasoline inventories. Approximately 50 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity is located along the Gulf coast, which generally helps prices in the region to remain relatively low. However, a few refineries in the region are reporting challenges and supply could begin to tighten in the near term, which could support higher prices in the near term.

Oil Market Dynamics

Oil is the largest cost associated with producing gasoline, and every $1 change can increase gas prices by as much as 2.4 cents per gallon. The cost of crude has increased by approximately $10 per barrel since the beginning of April, attributed to interruptions in global supply and the expectation that demand will rise in the coming months.

Despite falling U.S. rig counts and weekly decreases in U.S. production, the domestic crude oil market remains well supplied. The latest data from the U.S. EIA shows an increase in both crude oil inventories and gasoline inventories, which should help offset growing demand and keep pump prices relatively low.

A weakening U.S. dollar and expectations that the Fed will increase interest rates is supporting speculations that the global oil market will begin to come into balance sooner than expected. Geopolitical factors are also likely to influence the market in the near team, and attention remains focused on both OPEC and non-OPEC production based on the current glut in global supply.

WTI reached its highest price for 2016 the last week in April as talks of a weakening U.S. dollar, increased demand and falling output surfaced. However, this boost in price was short lived and reports of increased production out of OPEC pushed prices lower to close out the week.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 11 cents and settled at $45.92 per barrel.

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

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 25, 2016) Relatively cheap gas prices are boosting driving demand, and 2016 remains poised to be a record year for both gasoline consumption and annual miles traveled. Although pump prices moved higher by two cents per gallon on the week and drivers are paying a dime more per gallon to refuel their vehicles on the month, today’s average price of $2.14 per gallon is the lowest for this calendar date since 2009. Consumers continue to save on the year, with today’s average discounted by 39 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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As we enter the summer driving season all eyes will focus on whether refiners can keep pace with the expected increase in demand.  Gasoline demand continues to surpass 2015 year-to-date levels, and as more drivers take to the roads, refiners will work to increase gasoline production to levels that meet this higher demand. This likely means another higher-than-normal year of refinery runs, which can put additional strain on refinery equipment and overall operations. In preparation for the busy summer driving season, a number of refineries are reportedly ramping up production and keeping a close eye on their utilization rates.  Barring any unforeseen challenges in supply and refinery production, drivers are expected to pay some of the lowest prices for the summer months in more than a decade.

California ($2.77) and Hawaii ($2.58) lead the market and are the only two states with averages above $2.50 per gallon. Gasoline production in the region reportedly fell week-over-week, which may be a contributing factor to prices in the region remaining some of the highest in the nation. Nevada ($2.45), Washington ($2.34) and Pennsylvania ($2.32) join in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. On the other end of the spectrum, consumers in the Gulf Coast states of Texas ($1.90) and Mississippi ($1.91) are paying the nation’s lowest prices at the pump.

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Prices have moved higher on the week in the majority of states (44) and Washington, D.C. Drivers in 10 states are paying a nickel or more per gallon week-over-week, with the largest price increases experienced by consumers in Indiana (+9 cents), West Virginia (+9 cents) and Utah (+8 cents). Averages are down in six states over this same period, and motorists in Minnesota (-4 cents), and Hawaii (-3 cents) are saving the most at the pump versus one week ago.

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Drivers in the vast majority of states (49) are paying more to refuel their vehicles compared to a month ago. Retail averages are up a nickel or more in 39 states and Washington, D.C. on the month and consumers in 23 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices jump double digits over this same period. The largest monthly increases in prices have been experienced by drivers in Utah (+32 cents) Indiana (+23 cents) and Ohio (+22 cents). Hawaii is the only state outside of this trend of monthly increases with its average down by fractions of a penny.

Gas prices are discounted in every state and Washington, D.C. by at least a quarter per gallon versus one year ago, largely due to lower crude oil prices and minimal disruptions in supply.  The most dramatic yearly savings are seen in the Western states of Alaska (-72 cents), Oregon (-56 cents), California (-55 cents) and Hawaii (-51 cents), which typically lead the market with the nation’s highest averages at the pump.

The global oil market is at a crossroads and it is a mystery as to where oil prices might head going forward. Market fundamentals continue to point to extreme oversupply, though expectations of global demand growth or production cuts by major oil producers could influence crude oil prices higher.  Geopolitical factors, such as the recent oil strike in Kuwait helped push crude oil to 2016 highs late last week, also will continue to influence prices in unexpected ways.

According to the U.S. EIA, domestic production declined for yet another week, and the U.S. oil rig count also fell for the fifth consecutive week. However, it is important to note that output is falling at a slow pace and is likely to bounce back to previous levels should prices rebound.  As a result of this dynamic, the global oil market is expected to remain well supplied, keeping the price at the pump relatively low compared to previous years.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI settled at a 2016 high and was up 55 cents at $43.73 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.

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (April 21, 2016) – As families across the country eagerly await the end of school and the beginning of summer, millions of Americans are making plans to travel with loved ones this year. According to a recent AAA survey, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months.

AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved nearly $12 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and drivers this summer should pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years. These lower gas prices have helped motivate Americans to drive at record levels, and prompted many families to take road trips this year. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.

Additional Resources

Road trips (69 percent), national parks (49 percent) and theme parks (42 percent) are the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel in the next year. Vacations to international destinations (26 percent) and cruises (19 percent) round out the top five most popular vacation options for traveling families.

“Two-thirds of Americans say spending quality time as a family is the most important part of taking a family vacation,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a dream vacation to a far-off destination, travel offers busy families an excellent opportunity to share experiences and connect with each other in meaningful ways.”

AAA Travel experts offer tips for families planning vacations this year:

  • Road Trips: AAA recommends travelers map out a route in advance to make the most of their road trip. Drivers should plan frequent stops, about every 100 miles or two hours, to remain alert. Tools such as AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner, in desktop and app versions, can help families find AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, gas prices and plan fun stops along the way.
  • National Parks: The National Park Service celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2016, making it a great year for travelers to discover the parks. The most popular national parks, such as Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Yosemite, may reach capacity during peak travel times, so plan ahead. For families traveling on a budget, national parks are waiving entrance fees this year April 16-24, Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.
  • Theme Parks: Theme parks in Orlando and Southern California are expected to continue growing in popularity with families this summer, as new attractions debut at theme parks coast-to-coast. For families with flexible travel schedules, early May and September are great times to visit theme parks, when travelers can experience lighter crowds and shorter lines.
  • International Vacations: Favorable exchange rates and discounted pricing are helping many families plan trips to international destinations this year. The current strength of the dollar makes international travel especially affordable right now and Americans will get more for their money when visiting destinations around the world.
  • Cruises: Cruises offer a variety of activities for all ages, plus children’s programs that give parents a chance to relax and unwind. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) forecasts 24 million vacationers will cruise the world’s waterways in 2016, one million more than last year. Experienced travel agents can help first-time cruisers identify the cruise line, ship and itinerary that best suits their family.

AAA’s professional hotel inspectors, who evaluate nearly 28,000 hotels across North America using detailed, published guidelines, have identified a few of their top picks for family-friendly Diamond Rated hotels:

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Negril, Jamaica – Three Diamond

AAA Inspector Notes: Marvelous for both families and adults, this lovely all-inclusive is well laid out with an amazing water park offering refreshing fun for all ages. There is an Xbox play lounge, sailing lessons for children and adults and a comprehensive kid’s camp area for all ages.

Great Wolf Lodge, Centralia, Wash. – Three Diamond

AAA Inspector Notes: From splashing in the water park, gaming in the arcade, playing a game of checkers in the lobby, to any number of other seasonal adventures, this hotel is a fantastic place for the entire family. A nice selection of guest rooms is available, including some with bunk beds and a popular kids’ cabin.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Winter Haven, Fla. – Three Diamond

AAA Inspector Notes: Geared toward children, this LEGOLAND resort features pirate, adventure and kingdom themed rooms. Kids have a bunk bed area while adults can relax in their own space. Set on Lake Eloise, there are boardwalks with views of wildlife, a fire pit to relax beside at night, a LEGO club room with movies, a splash pad by the expansive swimming pool and even a Master LEGO builder’s workshop with classes.

Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, East Harwich, Mass. – Four Diamond

AAA Inspector Notes: This waterfront resort is the perfect family-friendly destination, with an outdoor amphitheater and a pirate-themed interactive water playground with treasure chests, fountains and a pirate ship with slides and swinging ropes. The high-tech children’s center features a 135-inch HD screen for Wii, PlayStation and Xbox gaming. Activities include dive-in movies, teen gaming nights and lessons in swimming, sailing and tennis. An ice cream truck with complimentary treats makes special appearances throughout the property in summer.

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa, Gatlinburg, Tenn. – Three Diamond

AAA Inspector Notes: The resort features cabin-style duplexes, plus condos that can be expanded via connecting doors, perfect for large families. Many units have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Family-friendly facilities include an infinity pool and nature trails that lead from the property into the densely wooded forest of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Before setting out on a family vacation, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, request AAA roadside assistance and more. For in-person travel planning, seek the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can provide personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge to create a memorable family vacation. For more information and to begin planning a vacation, visit AAA.com/Travel.

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

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About AAA’s Family Travel Survey

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey administered as part of global market research company ORC International’s weekly CARAVAN® omnibus surveys conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing was conducted March 17-20, 2016. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.6% at the 95% confidence level for US adults. That means there is a 95% chance that the results found in this study are within ±3.6% of the results that would be found if all US adults living in private households in the continental United States were interviewed using the research methodology and questionnaire used in this study. The actual statistical error depends on the number of respondents to each question and on the observed proportions.

Tesla Model S 70D Is Top AAA Green Car

April 19th, 2016 by AAA

ErinStepp2016 AAA Green Car Guide Now Available

Additional Resources

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 19, 2016)The 2015 Tesla Model S 70D was named the Top AAA Green Car, the motor club announced today. The Tesla is featured with 80 other green vehicles in the 2016 AAA Green Car Guide, a comprehensive report published annually by the largest member of the AAA federation – the Automobile Club of Southern California and its Automotive Research Center.

AAA’s top three green vehicles, all electrics, were announced today. The BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium rounded out the top three.

“The Tesla Model S 70D has a 240-mile range, room for five, excellent power and steering, and fast charge capability,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Add sleek styling, great acceleration and an air of sophistication that separates it from other alternative-fueled vehicles and you see why the Model S 70D was our top vehicle this year.”

2016 AAA Top Green Car and Top 5 points:

  1. 2015 Tesla Model S 70D 92.49
  2. 2014 BMW i3 88.47
  3. 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium 87.09
  4. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Premium 83.49
  5. 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium  81.96

Each of 13 evaluations was scored on 0-10 points.  Scores were totaled to determine top vehicles. The guide summarizes vehicle specifications, test scores, data and observations and lists its strengths and weaknesses. Each year, the research center tracks significant changes to a vehicle from model year to model year. If no significant changes were made to the power train in 2016, a prior model year’s results were used. Top green vehicle winners received AAA’s environmentally-friendly trophy made of sustainable bamboo and recycled aluminum.

“The research center’s evaluators divided the vehicles into six categories, crunched the numbers, and identified winners in each category,” added Nielsen. “They also recognized winners by price,” he said. “The Tesla took three awards – Best Green Car over $50,000, the large car category winner and the AAA Top Green Car. In other categories, the best green car under $30,000 was the Mazda 3S Grand Touring, and the best green pickup is the Ford F-150 Supercab Lariat.”

“Today car shoppers can choose high-quality, zero-to-low-emission vehicles in a growing selection of body type and size and price.  The AAA Green Car Guide is designed to help give consumers research-based information and tips to find the vehicle that best suits their needs and navigate the green car marketplace with confidence,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automotive Research Center. “AAA’s expertise along with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s nearly half-century of automotive research with alternative fuel vehicles continues to benefit AAA members and the public today.”

“Green vehicles offer motorists a way to save on energy costs,” she added.  A recent AAA member green vehicle survey found that green car issues are important across generations with millennials and non-millennials saying they’d consider buying a green vehicle because of fuel costs and environmental impact.  The majority of respondents in the AAA survey also said they are interested in a green vehicle when shopping for a new car and 82 percent stated it was important to understand green technology.

To help car buyers and enthusiasts looking for the latest information on fuel-efficient vehicles and low-emission technology, the sixth annual AAA guide reviews battery electric vehicles, compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) vehicles, clean diesels, hybrids, partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), and vehicles with high fuel economy. Vehicles were grouped into categories according to size, body type and three price ranges. They were scored by the Los Angeles-based Automotive Research Center in real-world evaluations (acceleration, handling, ride comfort, turning, cargo capacity, etc.). The report also contains in-depth information about green technologies, vehicle safety and advanced driver assistance systems.

Tested vehicles were selected based on emission certifications from the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings. Tests were performed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and on Southern California roads. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the EPA and the Automobile Club of Southern California developed the testing procedures.

The guide will be available to AAA members at no charge at select AAA branches while supplies last. More information can be found at www.AAA.com/greencar.

2016 AAA Best Green Car by Price:

Over $50,000:                    2015 Tesla Model S 70D

$30,000 to $50,000:        2014 BMW i3

Under $30,000:                 2014 Mazda 3S Grand Touring

2016 AAA Green Car Guide Category Winners:

Large car:                             Tesla Model S 70D                                          (Electric)

Midsize:                               Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC 4matic       (Clean Diesel)

Compact:                             Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium                 (Electric)

Subcompact:                      BMW i3                                                               (Electric)

SUV/Minivan:                    Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium                     (PZEV)

Pickup Truck:                     Ford F-150 Supercab Lariat                            (Gasoline)

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.  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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON) Record-high fuel demand, declining refinery production and rising oil costs have pushed the national average price of gas to $2.11 per gallon. Average gas prices have increased seven cents per gallon on the week and prices are up 45 out of the past 55 days for a total of 41 cents per gallon. Despite the recent increases, pump prices are down 33 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg-Gas-Prices-4-18-16

Prices may move higher during the second quarter of the year in select regional markets due to intermittent supply challenges and increased demand for gasoline. The relatively lower price for gasoline is also reportedly prompting more drivers to take to the roads, and the U.S. EIA’s weekly estimates on gasoline consumption are approaching levels typical for the summer months. This increase in driving may put pressure on local gasoline markets and cause prices to move higher if demand outpaces the available supply of gasoline. However, consumers remain poised to benefit from substantial comparative savings as we enter the busy summer driving season, and it is likely that most drivers will pay the cheapest summertime prices in 12 years.

Drivers on the West Coast are paying some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump, and prices have risen as refineries work to meet growing demand. California ($2.78) and Hawaii ($2.60) lead the market and remain the only two states posting retail averages above $2.50. Nevada ($2.45), Washington ($2.32) and Alaska ($2.31) round out the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for gasoline. The Gulf Coast states of Mississippi ($1.89) and Louisiana ($1.89) are nation’s least expensive markets, and prices in a total of 13 states remain below the $2 per gallon benchmark.

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Consumers in the vast majority of states (49) are paying more at the pump versus one week ago. Pump prices are up by a nickel per gallon or more in 38 states and Washington, D.C. over this period, with the largest jumps occurring in the Midwestern states of Minnesota (+14 cents), Kentucky (+14 cents), Illinois (+14 cents) and Michigan (+12 cents). The latest data from the region points to refinery production dropping to a 2016 low, largely attributed to a number of refineries running at reduced rates due to ongoing and unplanned maintenance. Additionally, the region’s crude oil supply was temporarily reduced as a result of the Keystone pipeline being shut down following a recent leak. In the near term, gas prices could fluctuate in the region as the market seeks balance. Hawaii is the only state to buck this trend of weekly increase, and prices are down in the state by fractions of a penny week-over-week.

Top10-Largest-Weekly-Increases_4-18-16

Retail averages are up nationwide month-over-month, and gas prices in 47 states and Washington, D.C. are up by more than a nickel per gallon over this period. Drivers in more than half of states (32) are paying double digit increases at the pump, with the largest jumps in price experienced by drivers in: Utah (+30 cents), Arizona (+26 cents), New Jersey (+26 cents), Connecticut (+26 cents) and Massachusetts (+25 cents).

Year-over-year discounts in the price of retail gasoline persist, and drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are benefiting from comparative discounts at the pump. Averages are down by a quarter or more per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and drivers in Alaska (-68 cents), Oregon (-50 cents), Hawaii (-46 cents) and Utah (-46 cents) are saving the most at the pump versus this same date last year.

As largely expected, major oil exporters failed to reach an agreement during the much-anticipated meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries over the weekend. Saudi Arabia maintained its previous position not to participate in a production freeze unless all other countries agreed to do the same, and Iran held fast to its word to opt-out of the plan. Attention now turns to other factors that may help bring the market more into balance, including reports and projections of global crude oil demand and any news from the U.S. that may also potentially impact prices.

U.S. domestic production fell to a level unseen since September 2014, and the U.S. oil rig count is at its lowest level since November 2009. Speculation is beginning to surface whether U.S. production may soon decline more significantly, and what if anything this may mean for the global oil market’s current oversupply.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.14 and settled at $40.36 per barrel. Oil prices have dropped even further today due to the news out of Doha, and this could provide some relief for gas prices.

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 Drop Slightly on the Week

April 11th, 2016 by AAA

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016) The national average price of gas declined on the week for the first time in nearly two months, though the drop was only about one cent. Gas prices have moved higher for 28 of the past 35 days, and motorists are paying 13 cents more per gallon on the month. Today’s average of $2.04 per gallon is the lowest for this day since 2009 and average prices are about 35 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago.

2013-2016_Avg-Gas-Prices-4-11-16

The national average has spent 19 consecutive days above $2 per gallon, and pump prices are likely to fluctuate as the supply of summer-blend gasoline continues to make its way to terminals nationwide. Refineries are increasing their utilization rates, following the spring maintenance season, and as a result the U.S. EIA reported an increase in domestic gasoline inventories. Just in time for the beginning of the summer driving season, additional supply is also expected to enter the market following the restart of ExxonMobil’s Torrance, Calif. refinery and the gasoline market is poised to be well supplied as we enter the busy summer driving season.  Barring any major disruptions or shortages in supply, the above factors may keep pump prices relatively steady in the coming weeks.

California ($2.77) and Hawaii ($2.61) are the only two states with averages above the $2.50 per gallon benchmark. Motorists in the neighboring states of Nevada ($2.44), Washington ($2.29), and Alaska ($2.27) are paying some of the  nations’s highest prices at the pump and round out the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. On the other end of the spectrum, retail averages in a total of 21 states are below $2 per gallon and consumers in Missouri ($1.80) and Oklahoma ($1.82) are paying nation’s lowest prices for gas.

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices-4-11-16

Gas prices have remained relatively steady on the week, moving by +/- 3 cents per gallon in 45 states and Washington, D.C.  Pump prices in the majority of states (32) are down week-over-week, with the largest savings seen by drivers in Michigan (-8 cents) and Missouri (-6 cents). Prices have moved higher on the week in 18 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in Utah (+10 cents) and Indiana (+5 cents) are paying the largest weekly increases in the price at the pump.

Top10-Largest-Monthly-Increases_4-11-16

Drivers in the vast majority of states (48) are paying more to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Retail averages are up double-digits in 29 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period with the biggest jumps in Arizona (+44 cents), Nevada (+28 cents) and Utah (+27 cents). Minnesota (-7 cents) and Missouri (-5 cents) are the only two states to buck this trend, and averages are down in both of these states on the month by a nickel or more per gallon.

Despite pump prices remaining above $2 per gallon, yearly discounts persist for consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. Gas prices in the vast majority of states (48) are down by more than quarter per gallon, with drivers in Alaska (-67 cents), Oregon (-52 cents) and Hawaii (-49 cents) benefitting from the largest year-over-year savings in the price of retail gasoline.

Unclear expectations about future supply and demand continue to influence global oil prices. OPEC is meeting to discuss production issues on April 17, though most market watchers question if the countries will agree on a freeze or whether it will even be effective. A potential freeze in production could cause prices to increase temporarily, though it is difficult to see how it will reduce the market’s extreme oversupply.

The latest data from the U.S. EIA points to a drop in domestic production, which reportedly fell to its lowest point since October 2014. Additionally, domestic crude oil inventories experienced their largest weekly decrease since January, attributed to increases in the refinery utilization rate and the shutdown of the Keystone pipeline due to a leak, which reduced crude oil supply. Both factors are believed to have caused WTI to rally to close out the week.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $2.46 and settled at $39.72 per barrel. This represents one of the strongest settlements for 2016 and is the highest weekly gain since early March.

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

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 4, 2016) Despite increasing for 36 of the past 41 days, the national average is at its lowest price point for this same date since 2009. Today’s average price of $2.06 per gallon represents an increase of two cents on the week and 24 cents on the month. Pump prices continue to reflect year-over-year discounts, and drivers are saving 34 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg-Gas-Prices-4-4-16

The switchover to summer-blend gasoline at refineries has already taken place, and this special blend of fuel has begun to make its way to fuel terminals in many parts of the country, though it can take a few weeks because fuel travels through pipelines at four miles per hour. This blend costs more to produce, and drivers likely will notice higher prices in areas required to use this fuel, such as in the Northeast, over the next few weeks. In addition, continued refinery maintenance and rising demand may also lead to higher prices in some areas. Although prices are expected to move higher leading into the summer driving season, consumers will likely continue to benefit from comparative savings due to the overall abundance of supply and the lower price for crude oil.

Drivers in California ($2.79) are paying the nation’s highest averages at the pump. Gas prices in the Golden State have moved higher due to regional supply challenges, though these issues reportedly have begun to ease, and prices in the region may soon recover as a result. Regional neighbors Hawaii ($2.60), Nevada ($2.45), Washington ($2.30) and Alaska ($2.27) join in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for gas. Averages in nearly half (23) of the states are below the $2 per gallon threshold, and motorists in Oklahoma ($1.82) and South Carolina ($1.85) are paying the lowest prices at the pump.

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices-4-4-16

Prices have moved by more than a nickel per gallon on both ends of the spectrum week-over-week, and gas prices are likely to continue to fluctuate in the near term due to imbalances between supply and demand. Gas prices are up in the majority of states (37) on the week, with the largest increases in price seen by drivers in Michigan (+11 cents), Arizona (+8 cents) and Utah (+6 cents). Prices have fallen in 13 states over this same period, and drivers in Minnesota (-6 cents), Oklahoma (-4 cents) and Iowa (-3 cents) are experiencing the largest weekly savings in the price of gasoline.

Top10-Largest-Yearly-Declines-4-4-16

Prices are up by more than a nickel per gallon for the month in the vast majority of states (48), and consumers in 45 states and Washington, D.C. are paying double-digit premiums month-over-month. Averages are up by a quarter or more per gallon on the month in 21 states, with the biggest jumps in price occurring in states west of the Rockies: Arizona (+57 cents), Nevada (+42 cents) and California (+35 cents).

Drivers in every state continue to save on gasoline compared to a year ago. Gas prices in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are down by more than a quarter per gallon for the year, with the largest discounts seen by motorists in Alaska (-64 cents), Oregon (-54 cents) and Hawaii (-53 cents).

Oversupply continues to characterize the global oil market, and prospects for an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to freeze output seem increasingly unlikely as both Iran and Russia significantly increased production last month. Iranian oil is returning to market following the removal of sanctions and the country has said it will not freeze production until it regains market share. Supply and demand fundamentals continue to point to a bearish market for crude oil, and both Brent and West Texas Intermediate closed out the week at lows unseen since mid- and early-March.

Market watchers continue to monitor news of U.S. production, which according to the latest data from the EIA, fell for the fourth consecutive week. Additionally, the number of oil rigs operating in the U.S. declined by 10. Neither factor has yet to translate to movements in the price of crude oil, likely due to the markets extreme oversupply.

WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down $1.55 and settled at $36.79 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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