October 13th, 2015 by AAA
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 13, 2015) – A significant majority of Americans (70 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new survey by AAA. The results also show that only 38 percent of Americans believe that Congress is taking the necessary steps to ensure that our roads, bridges and transit systems will meet the needs of the nation.
“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.”
AAA also asked the public to rank its priorities for transportation funding. Conducting routine maintenance of roads and bridges overwhelmingly topped the list, yet all categories included in the survey received significant support. The complete rankings include:
- Conducting routine maintenance and repair of roads and bridges, such as fixing potholes, repaving roads, etc.: 91 percent rate as important
- Expanding public and shared transportation, such as busses, commuter rail and support for car-pooling: 70 percent rate as important
- Conducting traffic safety training programs on topics such as the dangers of speeding, distracted driving and driving while impaired: 67 percent rate as important
- Reducing traffic congestion and travel time by expanding lanes and adding lanes reserved for high-occupancy vehicles: 65 percent rate as important
- Improving transportation information technology, such as automated road and traffic warning signs and route mapping software: 64 percent rate as important
“Potholes and bad roads increase driver stress and can cause significant vehicle damage requiring costly repairs,” continued Doney. “It’s time for Congress to pass long-term funding legislation that ensures our transportation system receives the maintenance necessary to get Americans to work every day.”
Motorists pay a steep price in the form of high repair bills from hitting potholes and sitting in traffic. U.S. drivers annually spend about $324 in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs due to poor roads and bridges.
Few drivers would be surprised to learn that more than 1 in 3 major U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre condition due to inadequate funding. The American Society of Civil Engineers most recently rated the country’s roads with a nearly failing D grade, while bridges earned a C+.
Transportation underpins the U.S. economy, yet an aging system of roads and bridges threatens to harm the country’s future development. Businesses, factories, employers and consumers must be connected to a dependable and modern transportation network to help build and sustain a healthy economy. Whether it’s the movement of freight or the creation of jobs, the nation depends on seamless and efficient transportation.
Congress has wasted billions of dollars by supporting short-term funding patches for roads and bridges, and AAA is calling for a long-term transportation law that meets the needs of drivers for years to come. The current authorization of the federal highway bill is set to expire on October 29 unless Congress acts soon.
The Highway Trust Fund needs $15 billion more per year just to maintain a flat level of funding, while current federal spending meets just one-third of our transportation needs. An annual investment of $120 billion for highways and bridges between 2015 and 2020 is necessary to improve the condition and performance of the system, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,008 adults, 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted September 10-13, 2015. This study has an average statistical error of 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adults.
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.
May 28th, 2013 by AAA
(ORLANDO, May 28, 2013) Yesterday’s national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.63 and marked the second consecutive year that the average American motorist has paid less per gallon at the pump when filling up for their Memorial Day holiday travel. The national average on the previous two Memorial Days was $3.64 per gallon (May 28, 2012) and $3.79 (May 30, 2011). AAA forecast that 31.2 million American drivers took to the road this holiday weekend to travel 50 miles or more from home, up slightly from 31.1 million last year.
Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.63 per gallon. This price is thirteen cents more expensive than one month ago but it is three cents less expensive than one week ago. The average American motorist has enjoyed a lower year-over-year pump price for 87 consecutive days, but those savings have narrowed substantially to less than two cents per gallon, down significantly from the peak year-to-date discount of 39 cents on April 18.
Following 17 straight days of increases, the national average price at the pump has now dropped for six consecutive days. The national price is only three cents per gallon below the recent peak of $3.66 on May 22 – the highest price since March 25 – but it is still more than a dime less than the peak price to date of $3.79 per gallon on February 27.
The recent decline in the national average has been keyed by dramatic price drops in the Midwest where many motorists have seen pump prices retreat from historic highs. Following a breakneck run up due to low gasoline supplies and significant refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – a handful states in that region have registered week-over-week declines of more than ten cents per gallon. While drivers in Minnesota have seen the most rapid decline as prices have fallen by nearly a quarter during the same period, the average in the state is still historically high at more than $4 per gallon.
While national gasoline markets have been driven by regional supply and production issues, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices remained relatively flat in recent weeks. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 86 cents at $95.01 per barrel.
May 20th, 2013 by AAA
ORLANDO, Fl (May 20, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65. This price is seven cents more expensive than one week ago and 14 cents more than one month ago. The seven-cent weekly increase is the largest such spike since February and today’s national average price at the pump is the highest since March.
While the average American motorist has enjoyed a less expensive year-over-year pump price for 79 consecutive days, the savings have narrowed to just four cents per gallon, down substantially from the peak year-to-date discount of 39 cents on April 18. With the national average rising steadily, compared to a year ago when prices were tumbling, it is likely that the average will once again rise above year-ago levels in the coming days and may be more expensive than last year for the approaching Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Higher crude oil prices may be the reason that drivers in every state are paying more for gasoline than two weeks ago, but tight regional supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – are the reason for the dramatically higher pump prices in the Midwest and West Coast. In particular, the average price paid by motorists in Minnesota (+68 cents) and North Dakota (+63 cents) has spiked more than sixty cents during this period, propelling both state averages to new all-time highs. The previous record in both states was in July 2008; at the same time the national average soared to what is still a record of $4.11 per gallon.
While not yet at record highs, three states (Iowa, Neb. and Okla.) have had prices increase by more than 50 cents in two weeks and are within a dime of their respective all-time highest pump prices. Rising Midwest prices may have slowed over the weekend from their recent breakneck pace, but motorists are not out of the woods yet as regional supplies remain low and heavy storms were forecast yesterday and today. No refinery disruptions have been reported as a result of the storms, but the potential remains for additional refinery issues in the already supply-strapped region.
With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday marking the unofficial start to summer, the national average continues to cling to a year-over-year discount; however motorists in all twelve Midwestern states and Oklahoma are paying at least a dime per gallon more than on this date in 2012. The national average on the previous two Memorial Days were $3.64 (May 28, 2012) and $3.79 (May 30, 2011).
With much of the focus on volatile regional gasoline markets, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have continued to drift higher in recent weeks. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 69 cents at $96.71 per barrel. This is the highest settlement price for WTI in more than 6 weeks.
May 13th, 2013 by AAA
(WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58. This price is six cents more expensive than one week ago and four cents more than one month ago. This is the largest weekly increase since February and the national average has now registered a month-over-month premium on three straight days.
The national average has been less than the same date in 2012 for 72 straight days; however the year-over-year discount has narrowed to 15 cents per gallon after widening to as much as 39 cents per gallon on April 18. Gas prices at this time last year were falling consistently and would eventually decline 82 out of 87 days for a total of 61 cents from April 6 to July 2. By comparison, the national average this year has increased for eight straight days to the highest price in more than a month. With this in mind, it is likely that the year-over-year discount will continue to fade in the coming days.
The national average is currently 21 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
The recent trend of higher prices at the pump has been nearly universal with only motorists in West Virginia and Ohio paying less today at the pump than a week ago. Six states (Ore., Minn., Wash., Okla., Neb. and Iowa) have seen prices surge by more than twenty cents and 13 states have seen prices jump by at least a dime. While higher crude oil prices have put upward pressure on retail gasoline prices across the country, it has been tight supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – in Midcontinent and West Coast that has squeezed prices substantially higher for drivers in those regions.
After drifting higher for several weeks, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices were pressured lower today by a stronger dollar and weaker equities. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar strengthens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively more expensive to purchase and are a less attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 87 cents at $95.17 per barrel.
May 6th, 2013 by AAA
(WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is two cents more expensive than one week ago, but it remains 9 cents less than one month ago and 26 cents less than one year ago. After registering a week-over-week decline every day since March 1 (61 consecutive days), the national average has posted a week-over-week increase for six straight days. The national average is currently 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
Since national gas prices peaked at the end of February, motorists nationwide have felt welcome relief at the pump in the form of falling prices. In recent weeks, the exception to this downward trend was limited to six states in the Great Lakes region where the transition to summer-blend gasoline and heavy rains triggered supply concerns and provided a catalyst for higher retail prices. While these remain the only states with a higher average pump price today than a month ago (Ill. +15 cents, Ind. +12 cents, Ohio +10 cents, Wisc. +8 cents, Mich. +7 cents and Minn. +2 cents), motorists in the majority of states are paying more today than one week ago.
Higher prices in the Great Lakes region were initially the product of domestic production concerns; however the recent broader increase in retail gas prices has been supported by higher global crude oil prices. On April 17 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $86.68 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. At the close today the traditional U.S. benchmark settled at $96.16 — up 55 cents on the day and almost $10 in less than three weeks.
These higher oil prices have been broadly supported by signs of economic recovery, however news over the weekend of an Israeli airstrike in Syria raised fresh concerns of a possible disruption to oil supplies in the Middle East and added to the upward pressure on prices. In the spring of both 2011 and 2012 oil prices rose substantially on violence and escalating geopolitical tensions with Libya and Iran respectively, before tumbling as these concerns were alleviated heading into the summer.
April 29th, 2013 by AAA
(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.50. This price is two cents less expensive than one week ago, 14 cents less than one month ago and 32 cents less than one year ago. The last time that the national average was below $3.50 was February 2. While the national average price at the pump increased by fractions of a penny overnight, it had previously fallen for four consecutive days and 50 of the previous 61. The national average is currently 29 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
Motorists in the vast majority of states have seen the price of gasoline continue to fall during the last week; however drivers in nine states (see graphic below), including parts of the Midwest, actually saw prices increase during this period. Analysts have noted that the region would be susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo seasonal maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production, and recent storms and resulting power outages provided a catalyst for higher retail prices in the region. Gas stations in much of the country must make the retail switch to selling summer-blend gasoline by June 1, however refineries make the shift to summer blend in March and April in order to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more sensitive to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.
On Saturday a fire and explosion at the Marathon refinery in Detroit raised new concerns of a possible disruption to regional supply, however a statement issued today indicated that the incident is not expected to have an impact on production. While it does not appear that this most recent event will contribute to higher prices for motorists, it highlights the likelihood that gas prices in the region will remain sensitive to any unexpected disruptions to production as we near the deadline for the switch to summer blend gasoline.
While retail gas prices have continued to fall nationally, crude oil prices have reversed their recent slide and jumped higher in the last week. One week after settling below $90 per barrel for the first time in 2013, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil began last week at $88.76 per barrel but rose sharply to end the week at $93. This increase continued today as a weaker dollar kept upward pressure on oil prices. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively less expensive to purchase and are a more attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.50 cents at $94.50 per barrel.
April 23rd, 2013 by AAA
WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 23, 2013) – Half of U.S. adults consider gas prices to be “too high” when it reaches $3.44 per gallon, indicating a potential breaking point on gas prices, according to a new consumer price index developed by AAA. Roughly two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) are offsetting high gas prices by changing their driving habits or lifestyle.
“It was not long ago that motorists were shocked to pay more than $3 per gallon for gasoline, but now that is standard at stations nationwide,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Today’s average consumer feels a breaking point on high gas prices closer to $3.50 per gallon, and expensive prices have forced many motorists to change their driving habits.”
AAA’s gas-price index tracks consumer attitudes by determining at what price the cost of gasoline becomes too high. The results from the open-ended survey demonstrate how attitudes can be expected to change as prices rise above significant milestones:
- 46 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.00 per gallon
- 61 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.50 per gallon
- 90 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $4.00 per gallon
“It is possible there is a new normal in terms of consumer attitudes now that gas prices have remained above $3 per gallon for more than two years,” continued Darbelnet. “Most people have resigned themselves to paying higher gas prices and are cutting back on driving, shopping and dining out to save money.”
Consumers report changing their driving habits or lifestyle in a number of ways to offset recent gas prices, including:
- Driving less – 86 percent
- Reducing shopping or dining out – 71 percent
- Driving a more fuel efficient car – 54 percent
- Delaying major purchases – 53 percent
- Working closer to home – 39 percent
- Carpooling – 33 percent
- Using public transportation more regularly – 15 percent
- Other – 18 percent
Younger consumers ages 18-34 are more likely to offset recent gas prices by working closer to home or using public transportation more regularly than adults ages 35 and up (48 percent vs. 35 percent and 25 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively). These results could suggest a generational shift in terms of attitudes towards driving, but it is too early to say whether these attitudes would continue into the future.
Today’s national average price of gasoline is $3.52 per gallon, but prices currently vary by more than $1 per gallon nationwide. The national average has remained above $3.00 per gallon for 28 consecutive months. While the national average has not surpassed $4.00 per gallon since 2008, it is not uncommon for motorists living in the West Coast, Northeast and near the Great Lakes to pay more than $4.00 per gallon.
AAA developed the price index by asking respondents, “At what price do you start to consider the cost of gasoline to be too high? Please tell me the price per gallon to the nearest ten cents.” AAA combined the answers from 974 respondents to determine the potential consumer breaking point for high gas prices.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,011 adults (503 men and 508 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted on March 28-30. The total included 661 interviews from the landline sample and 350 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±3.8 percent.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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.
April 22nd, 2013 by AAA
(WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is a penny less expensive than one week ago but, it is 16 cents less than one month ago and 35 cents less than one year ago. After declining for 45 of 51 days the national average has now increased for three straight days. Despite this recent string of rising prices, the national average remains 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
While motorists in every state but three (Utah, Idaho and Wyo.) are paying less at the pump than one month ago, those in some Midwestern states have seen prices climb sharply in the last week following supply concerns from heavy rains in the region. Prices in 43 states and Washington D.C. are lower than one week ago, compared to four Great Lakes states, which have seen the average price increase more than a dime per gallon (Ill. 10 cents, Mich. 24 cents, Ohio 28 cents and Ind. 28 cents).
The recent storms and resulting power outages provided the catalyst for higher retail prices in the Midwest, however analysts had warned that the region was susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production. Gas stations in much of the country must make this retail switch by June 1, however refineries shift to making summer blend in March and April to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more susceptible to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.
The primary factors driving retail gas prices lower in recent weeks have been low demand, continued disappointing economic news and lower crude oil prices. This slide in crude oil saw Wednesday’s settlement price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, fall to $86.68 per barrel, which set a new 2013 low. While prices have recovered slightly, they continue to support lower gas prices for motorists. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 80 cents at $88.81 per barrel.
April 15th, 2013 by AAA
(WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.53. This price is seven cents less expensive than one week ago, 16 cents less than one month ago and 38 cents less than one year ago. The national average has now fallen for 12 straight days and 41 of 47 days since the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
Motorists across the country continue to feel relief at the pump as prices in every state but Idaho are lower than one week ago. While Idaho is also one only five states where drivers are not paying less than a month ago, many of those states where gasoline is less expensive have seen prices fall dramatically: motorists in 40 states are paying at least a dime less than one month ago, seven states are paying at least 20 cents less and two states (Ind. and Ohio) are paying at least 30 cents less. Drivers in Hawaii continue to pay the highest gas prices in the country and as of Saturday were the only state to average more than $4.00 per gallon. This marked the first time since February 7 that only one state had registered an average price at the pump above this threshold.
Retail gas prices have dropped steadily since the end of February, however the factors pressuring prices lower have changed during this decline. Prices fell to begin March as many refineries resumed normal operations following the completion of seasonal maintenance and production concerns eased. This decline came even as crude oil prices moved higher. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at what was then a 2013-low of $90.68 per barrel to begin March. On the final trading day of the month WTI settled $6.55 higher at $97.23, which was the highest price since mid-February.
U.S. gasoline prices in April have continued to fall, not just because of weak demand data and signs of economic weakness but as oil prices have also moved sharply lower.
At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled $2.58 lower at $88.71 per barrel. This is $8.52 below than the recent peak price on March 28 and is the first time since Christmas Eve that WTI has settled below $90 per barrel.