Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crude Oil Prices Reach a Six-Year Low

March 23rd, 2015 by admin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gas Prices Drop for Nine Straight Days

March 16th, 2015 by admin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JulieHallSun destinations are travelers’ top getaways following harsh winter

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Green Contact Tile

Drivers Face Longest Streak of Rising Gas Prices in Two Years

(WASHINGTON, March 02, 2015)

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

AAA Expects Gas Prices to March Higher During the Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gas Prices Up for 28 Days in a Row

February 23rd, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, February 23, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased for 28 consecutive days for a total of 27 cents per gallon, which is the longest streak of rising prices since last spring. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.30 per gallon. Motorists are paying five cents more than one week ago and 26 cents more than one month ago to refuel their vehicles. The year-over-year discount at the pump has narrowed in recent weeks but remains lofty by historic standards. After yearly savings widened to as much as $1.25 per gallon on January 26, motorists are now saving $1.11 per gallon versus this same date last year.

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Refineries are in the midst of conducting seasonal maintenance, a process that can limit fuel production and contribute to rising pump prices. In addition, there remains the potential for unexpected refinery problems to further impact production and cause temporary prices spikes in various regions. Last week an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance helped push up prices in California, while bitterly cold weather in the Northeast and Midwest led to a number of refinery problems in those areas. Ample domestic supply is expected to keep a ceiling on prices, though there is a good chance that prices will continue to rise this spring.

Compared to the start of February when motorists in 25 states enjoyed average prices below $2 per gallon, drivers in just two states today are paying an average price below this threshold. For the second week in a row, motorists in Utah ($1.95), Idaho (1.95) and Montana ($2.01) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles. On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii ($3.04) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and is the only state with an average above $3 per gallon.  California ($2.95), Alaska ($2.61), Nevada ($2.55) and New York ($2.49) round out the top five most expensive markets.

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With the exception of Kentucky (-6 cents) and Illinois (-2 cents), most American drivers are paying a bit more to refuel their vehicles than a week ago. Prices have inched higher in 48 states and Washington, D.C. with four states registering increases of a dime or more per gallon: California (+16 cents), Nevada (+ 11 cents), Oregon (+11 cents) and Washington (+10 cents). The overall trend of rising prices is also apparent in two-week price comparisons, where the average price is up in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in more than half (27) of states are paying a dime or more per gallon. Hawaii (-1 cent) is the only state where the price has fallen over this two-week period. 

Month-over-month prices have jumped in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Consumers in 19 of these states are paying a quarter or more per gallon compared to one month ago, led by: California (+49 cents), Ohio (+43 cents), Michigan (+39 cents) and Illinois (+37 cents). Retail averages moved lower over this same period in three states and drivers in Hawaii (-23 cents), Alaska (-15 cents) and Vermont (fractions of a penny) are experiencing monthly savings at the pump.

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Rising pump prices are beginning to erode, but historic declines from September to January continue to mean significant year-over-year savings at the pump. The price for retail gasoline remains discounted in every state and Washington D.C., and consumers in 46 states and Washington, D.C are saving more than $1 per gallon, led by four states with yearly savings of more than $1.25 per gallon: Connecticut ($1.35), Colorado ($1.31), Utah ($1.29) and Idaho ($1.29).

Global crude oil prices remain volatile, with markets continuing to seesaw and West Texas Intermediate crude oil last week posting its first weekly loss in a month. The balance between global supply and demand continues to weigh on prices, and despite U.S. production companies reassessing plans for exploration and production amid shrinking profit margins, domestic crude oil inventories climbed to record levels and output rose to its highest level since 1973, according to a Department of Energy report released last week.

WTI closed last week at its lowest level since February 11, settling down 82 cents at $50.34 per barrel at the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

JulieHall17th Edition AAA PetBook to feature cover stars from California, Oregon and Connecticut

ORLANDO, Fla., (February 20, 2015) – Two lucky dogs from California and Oregon were selected as winners of the latest AAA PetBook® Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western, a AAA Preferred Hotel Partner. The winners will appear on the back cover and spine of the 17th edition of Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook, available this May.

The first-place winner, a Maltese dog from California named Casey, is pictured kayaking down the Mokelumne River in Lodi, Calif. “We travel with Casey because he is family and leaving him at home isn’t fun for him or us,” said owner Ruth Clark, who also enjoys camping, biking and going to farmers’ markets with her dog.

The second-place winner, a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Murphy, from Oregon, is shown on an outing near Trillium Lake in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest. Murphy’s owner, Tracey Vukovich, enjoys the priceless sparkle outdoor activities put in her dogs’ eyes. “They are truly members of our family. We enjoy ourselves more when they are included and it’s a delight to see their joy!” said Vukovich.

As a special addition to the first- and second-place winners, an exceptional photo held over from last year’s contest will be featured on the front cover of the 17th edition AAA PetBook. Lyric, a travel-loving Australian shepherd from Connecticut, is shown on a scenic trail teeming with stone formations during a walk at Camp Gone to the Dogs in Stowe, Vermont. “After a busy year of canine musical freestyle performances, our annual getaway to hang out and bond is a special treat,” said owner Carrie Nerie.

In addition to cover fame, the winners and editor’s pick receive pet treats, copies of The AAA PetBook and cash. The back and front cover dogs also receive a Best Western Travel Card that can be used at 4,000 hotels worldwide, including more than 1,600 pet-friendly properties.

Another 44 pets, selected as contest runners up, are pictured inside the book. This year’s collection includes two cats, a bird and a variety of dogs in destinations across the continent, from Glacier National Park to Lake Superior to Nova Scotia’s rocky coast. For additional bragging rights, the AAA.com/PetBook photo gallery touts the winners, editor’s pick and the runners up.

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is a valuable resource for those who enjoy bringing their pets along on vacations. Nearly 15,000 pet-friendly listings throughout the U.S. and Canada include thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels, hundreds of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated restaurants that allow pets in outside dining areas and more than 800 campgrounds.

The detailed hotel listings include fees, permitted pet sizes and conditions of stay for properties at every Diamond Rating level, from clean and simple motels to family-oriented properties to luxurious resorts. The book also includes information about pet-friendly activities, planning tips, travel etiquette and safety.

Visit AAA.com/PetBook for contest rules, entry forms, a photo gallery and valuable pet travel tips. The next photo contest opens in May when the 17th edition Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook, cover price $18.95 U.S., hits the shelves at participating AAA and CAA offices and book sellers.

About AAA

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

About Best Western International, Inc.

Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,000+* hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers six hotel products to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS®, BEST WESTERN PREMIER®, BEST WESTERN PLUS EXECUTIVE RESIDENCYSM, Vībsm and BW Premier Collection sm. Now celebrating 69 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 22 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, Minor League Baseball, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Best Western continues to set industry records and accolades, including Business Travel News top chain award for both BEST WESTERN and BEST WESTERN PLUS, three consecutive Compuware Best of the Web gold awards and six consecutive AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year awards. Forty percent of Best Western-branded hotels worldwide won TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awards for customer satisfaction.

*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate.

Gas Prices Increase for Three Weeks in a Row

February 17th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, February 17, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased every day since January 27 for a total of 22 cents per gallon over 22 days. Today’s average price of $2.26 per gallon is seven cents more than one week ago and 19 cents more than one month ago. Consumers are still saving $1.10 per gallon at the pump in comparison to this date last year, a spread that has slowly started to narrow after widening to as much as $1.25 per gallon on January 26.

2012-2015_Avg Gas Prices Feb 9 2015

Gas prices have increased sharply due to more expensive crude oil costs and the start of refinery maintenance season. Gas prices typically increase this time of year as refineries conduct maintenance, which can limit fuel production. Rising crude oil costs have also made it more expensive for refineries to produce gasoline, which has contributed to higher pump prices.

Even with the national average trending higher, ample gasoline supplies and lower crude oil costs than in recent years should prevent prices from rising as high as in recent memory. In addition, severe cold weather, particularly in the Northeast and Midwestern United States, may limit driving and gasoline demand in the near term. Barring any major disruptions in supply, AAA anticipates drivers will continue to pay below $3 per gallon throughout 2015.

With prices increasing across the country, a shrinking number of states are registering an average below $2 per gallon, only Utah ($1.93) Idaho ($1.94) and Montana ($1.97) remain below this threshold. Hawaii ($3.03) continues to lead the market and is the only state with an average above $3 per gallon. California ($2.80), Alaska ($2.57), New York ($2.46) and Nevada ($2.44) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.

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Weekly comparisons continue to show that nearly all drivers are paying more to refuel their vehicles. The price at the pump has inched higher in 48 states, with 33 of these states registering increases of a nickel or more per gallon week-over-week. Motorists in California (+15 cents), Arizona (+12 cents), Oregon (+12 cents) and Delaware (+11 cents) are experiencing the sharpest increases over this period. On the other end of the spectrum, the average price at the pump has fallen in Alaska (-5 cents), Hawaii (-2 cents) and Washington, D.C. (fractions of a penny) versus one week ago. Two-week price comparisons also reflect overall increases in the price at the pump. The average price has jumped in the same 48 states and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (41) registering double-digit premiums versus two weeks ago. California (+34 cents) and Oregon (+25 cents) are registering the largest increases in price over this period.

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Consumers in 42 states are paying higher prices month-over-month, and the price is up by a dime or more in the bulk (33) of these states. Twelve states are posting increases of a quarter or more, led by the mid-continent states of Michigan (+36 cents), Kansas (+35 cents), Illinois (+34 cents), and Missouri (+33). The price at the pump is lower than one month ago in just eight states and Washington, D.C., headlined by Hawaii (-31 cents) and Alaska (-25 cents), where consumers are saving the most per gallon in comparison to one month ago.

Despite recently higher prices, year-over-year comparisons still reflect savings nationwide. Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving at the pump, and the average price is down by $1 or more in 46 states and Washington, D.C.

OPEC’s decision not to act as a market-stabilizer is beginning impact global energy development, as companies in countries with more expensive production costs have reportedly begun curtailing investments and employment. The global price of Brent crude rallied this past week and closed above the $60 per barrel benchmark for the first time in 2015. This represents an increase of more than 30 percent since mid-January and is reflective of the global oil market’s overall volatility.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, domestic WTI crude settled at $52.78 per barrel, up $1.57 on the day.

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