Posts Tagged ‘Commentator’

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.

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“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.

Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Mark Since 2009

December 14th, 2015 by AAA

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 14, 2015) U.S. drivers are paying the lowest average price for regular unleaded gasoline since 2009, and the national average is one cent away from dropping below $2 per gallon. These lower gas prices have been largely driven by the falling price of crude oil, which begins this week at its lowest mark in more than five years. U.S. average gas prices are 79 per gallon less than the 2015 peak, and the national average has moved lower for 33 of the past 38 days for a total savings of 21 cents per gallon. The average price at the pump is down two cents on the week, 16 cents on the month and 54 cents on the year.

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The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, closed out last week with a Friday settlement of $35.62 per barrel, a price not seen since the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Crude oil has tumbled approximately 60 percent compared to June 2014 as global supply continues to outpace demand. This imbalance is likely to continue into 2016, which should keep a ceiling on oil prices. Barring any disruptions in supply, consumers are expected to continue to benefit from noticeable fuel savings.

Retail averages are below $2 per gallon in 26 states. South Carolina ($1.79), Missouri ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79) are the nation’s least expensive markets, and drivers in these states are saving nearly $1 per gallon compared to the state with the highest average, which is Hawaii ($2.75). California ($2.65), Nevada ($2.49), Washington ($2.42) and Alaska ($2.39) round out the top five most expensive markets for gasoline.

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Gas prices are holding relatively steady and have moved by +/- 3 cents or less in 29 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices fall over this same period, and averages are down a nickel or more per gallon in six states, led by: Delaware (-8 cents), Minnesota (-6 cents) and North Dakota (-6 cents). Averages in seven states have moved higher on the week, led by Michigan (+8 cents).

Averages have fallen nationwide month-over-month, and with the exception of Alaska (-1 cent), consumers are benefitting from monthly savings of more than a nickel per gallon in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are down double-digits in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one month ago, and drivers in eight states are saving a quarter or more per gallon. The largest monthly discounts are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-36 cents), Minnesota (-30 cents) and Michigan (-30 cents).

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Pump prices typically fall during the winter months due to reduced demand for gasoline. Motorists nationwide continue to experience year-over-year savings, though today’s average is the smallest year-over-year savings of 2015. Alaska (-99 cents) and Hawaii (-96 cents) are the only two states where averages are down by more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year. Consumers in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are saving 50 cents or more per gallon versus this same date last year, and  California (-23 cents) is the only state posting a yearly savings of less than a quarter per gallon.

With both Brent and WTI reaching their cheapest levels since the global economic crisis, attention is now focused on the Federal Reserve’s potential action to raise interest rates. A strong U.S. jobs report has contributed to rumors that the Fed may increase its rate for the first time since 2008, which could further impact the global oil market. An increase in interest rates would be expected to result in a stronger U.S. dollar, which in turn makes oil (priced in U.S. dollars) a relatively more expensive investment for those holding other currencies, making it a less attractive investment. This could further exacerbate the market’s current oversupply and keep downward pressure on the global price of crude oil.

The U.S. oil rig count fell by its largest weekly increment in nearly three months (28 rigs), though strong production continues to oversupply the market. Members of Congress are also working on a budget deal that could include an end to the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. An end to the ban would allow unprocessed crude oil produced in the U.S. to enter the global oil market, which could impact both domestic production and global supply.

WTI opened the trading session below $35 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.14 and settled at $35.62 per barrel. This closing price represented a loss of nearly ten percent on the week.

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 – December 7, 2015) The national average is less than a penny higher than the 2015 low (January 26), and should soon fall below the $2 per gallon mark for the first time since 2009. Pump prices have fallen for 29 of the past 31 days, and today’s average price of $2.03 represents a savings of one cent per gallon on the week and 19 cents on the month. Significant yearly savings persist, and gas prices are discounted by 65 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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During the winter months demand for gasoline typically declines, and pump prices tend to move lower as a result. Following a busier than usual fall maintenance season at refineries, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that refinery production is outpacing both 2014 and current demand. U.S. crude oil stocks are also within striking distance of an all-time high, and as a result, questions about continued production and storage capacity are beginning to arise. This combination of ample production and increasing gasoline inventories are likely to keep gas prices relatively low, and barring any unforeseen shifts in market fundamentals, averages are likely to continue to decline leading into 2016.

Hawaii ($2.79) leads the nation and is the only state where drivers are paying an average price above $2.75 per gallon. Regional neighbors California ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.44) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. South Carolina ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Oklahoma ($1.83) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline, and consumers in a total of 23 states are paying an average below $2 per gallon.

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Pump prices have been relatively steady over the past week, moving by +/-3 cents in the vast majority of states (45) during this span. Averages are down in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one week ago; however, prices declined at smaller increments than in recent weeks. Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-6 cents) are posting the largest savings on the week and are the only two states where drivers are experiencing weekly savings of more than a nickel per gallon. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in nine states are paying more to refuel their vehicles compared to one week ago, led by Ohio (+6 cents).

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Drivers nationwide are benefiting from monthly savings at the pump, largely due to gasoline production returning to levels not seen since the beginning of the seasonal turnaround. Gas prices have fallen by double-digit increments in 35 states and Washington, D.C. since one month ago, and motorists in 14 states are saving more than a quarter per gallon in the price at the pump over this same period. The largest month-over-month drops in the price of retail gasoline have been in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-53 cents), Wisconsin (-44 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-36 cents).

The relatively low price of crude oil is helping to sustain year-over-year discounts in the price of gasoline nationwide. Retail averages are down more than 50 cents per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in a dozen states are saving at least 75 cents per gallon versus this same date last year. Alaska (-$1.05) and Hawaii (-$1.00), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, are also the only two states where drivers are saving $1 or more per gallon compared to one year ago.

OPEC’s decision at its meeting last week to sustain its current production levels sent ripples through the global oil market and has contributed to lower oil prices. The cartel is not scheduled to reconvene until June 2016, and in the interim the imbalance between supply and demand will likely persist. Market watchers will remain focused on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates on the heels of a strong U.S. jobs report. A higher interest rate typically leads to a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes oil relatively more expensive for those holding foreign currencies. The combination of these factors has the ability to further exacerbate the global oil market’s state of oversupply and keep downward pressure on prices.

The domestic oil market is also reflecting signs of oversupply. Both crude oil and gasoline inventories are approaching record levels even as lower prices impact exploration and production. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic oil and gas extraction sector lost upwards of 2,400 jobs during the month of November. This follows the October report which showed the sector shedding approximately 2,700 jobs.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.11 and settled at $39.97 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 – November 30, 2015) Drivers this year paid the lowest gas prices for Thanksgiving since 2008, and the national average has now fallen for 24 straight days. Today’s average price of $2.04 per gallon is within fractions of a penny of the multi-year low reached this January, and the national average remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas. Gas prices are down three cents per gallon for the week, 14 cents over the last month and 74 cents compared to a year ago.

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The national average has dropped for 24 of the past 30 days, largely due to the resolution of unplanned and planned refinery maintenance. The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration points to rising refinery runs and output reaching its highest rates since September. Demand for gasoline typically declines during the winter months and the gasoline market may become even more oversupplied in the near term, which should keep gas prices relatively low. Barring any unanticipated disruptions in supply, or swings in the price of crude oil, retail averages are expected to continue to fall leading into 2016.

Pump prices in nearly half (22) of the states are now below $2 per gallon, and drivers in the Midwestern states of Michigan ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Ohio ($1.82) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump. Hawaii ($2.81) leads the market and is joined by regional neighbors California ($2.70), Nevada ($2.53), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.38) as the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.

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Retail averages are down in the vast majority of states (46) week-over-week; however, prices have fallen more slowly than in recent weeks. Drivers in a dozen states are saving a nickel or more per gallon on the week, led by Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), North Dakota (-7 cents) and Wisconsin (-7 cents). Michigan is the only state where prices have moved lower by double-digit increments over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices have moved higher in four states, with Indiana (+6 cents) the only state posting an increase of more than fractions of a penny.

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Motorists continue to experience significant monthly savings in the price at the pump, largely due to the completion of seasonal refinery maintenance. Averages are down in 45 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month, and consumers in the majority of these states (34) are saving a nickel or more per gallon. Drivers in a total of 15 states are enjoying savings of a quarter or more per gallon with the largest monthly discounts in the Midwestern states of  Michigan (-47 cents), Wisconsin (-38 cents), Ohio (-36 cents) and Illinois (-35 cents). Pump prices moved higher in five states over this same period, all by less than a nickel per gallon, led by Oregon (+4 cents), New Jersey (+3 cents) and Washington (+3 cents).

Consumers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of retail gasoline, thanks to the relatively low price of crude oil. Averages in 22 states have dropped 75 cents per gallon or more year-over-year, and motorists in Alaska (-$1.13), Michigan (-$1.06) and Hawaii (-$1.05) are saving more than $1 per gallon over this same period. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-45 cents) remain the only two states where drivers are not saving at least 50 cents per gallon versus one year ago.

Oversupply and a strengthening U.S. dollar continue to impact global oil markets, keeping downward pressure on the price of crude oil. Geopolitical tensions between Russia and Turkey have yet to lead to any sustained increases in prices, and early reports indicate that tensions between the two countries will have little impact on production in the Middle East. OPEC is scheduled to meet this Friday, and analysts expect that the cartel is unlikely to reduce production despite the relatively low price of crude oil.

Domestic crude oil inventories remain elevated compared to previous years, and talks are now shifting toward the potential impacts of a surplus in gasoline inventories. WTI opened this week’s formal trading posting gains after closing out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down $1.33, settling at $41.71 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, November 23, 2015) Approximately 42 million Americans are expected to take a road trip this Thanksgiving, and drivers should pay the lowest pump prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2008. Retail averages have fallen for 17 consecutive days for a total savings of 15 cents per gallon, and the national average remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by the Christmas holiday. Already, more than half of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon. Today’s national average price of $2.07 per gallon represents a savings of nine cents per gallon versus one week ago, and 14 cents per gallon on the month. Significant yearly savings persist and pump prices are down 75 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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Midwestern refineries continue to come back online following both planned and unplanned maintenance work. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, production in the region reached its highest rates in nearly two months, which has also helped gas prices recover in the region following recent spikes due to unexpected outages. As a result of more supply entering the regional market, the largest weekly and monthly declines in the price at the pump are localized to this region and drivers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana are benefitting from noticeable savings in the price of retail gasoline.

Demand for gasoline typically declines during the month of November, and barring any unexpected disruptions in supply, the national average is expected to move lower leading into 2016.

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The list of states with retail averages below $2 per gallon has added seven new members since one week ago, for a total of 18 states. Pump prices have moved markedly lower in the Midwest week-over-week, and Indiana ($1.82), Ohio ($1.83) and Oklahoma ($1.85) edged out Alabama ($1.85) and South Carolina ($1.85) as the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline. Hawaii ($2.83) is the market leader, where drivers are paying more than $1 per gallon more than the nation’s least expensive market Indiana. Regional neighbors California ($2.73), Nevada ($2.59), Washington ($2.48) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the top five most expensive markets.

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With the exception of Alaska (+2 cents), drivers nationwide are enjoying weekly discounts in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages in the majority (36) of states are down a nickel or more per gallon, and consumers in a dozen states have seen prices fall double-digits from one week ago. The largest savings over this same period are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-24 cents), Michigan (-23 cents), Indiana (-20 cents) and Ohio (-18 cents).

Pump prices are down in the vast majority of states (47) month-over-month and motorists in 36 states and Washington, D.C., are enjoying savings of a nickel or more per gallon over this same period. Averages have fallen by at least ten cents in more than half of the states (26), with the largest monthly savings experienced by drivers in Michigan (-43 cents), Illinois (-35 cents), Wisconsin (-35 cents) and Indiana (-34 cents). Consumers in a total of 14 states are saving a quarter or more at the pump over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in Oregon (+2 cents), Washington (+2 cents) and New Jersey (+1 cents) are paying monthly premiums in the price of gas.

The relatively low price of crude oil continues to provide consumers with noticeable yearly savings in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are discounted by 75 cents per gallon or more in 26 states, and drivers in Alaska (-$1.15) and Hawaii (-$1.08) are saving more than $1 per gallon year-over-year. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-42 cents) are the only two states where drivers are not saving at least 50 cents per gallon at the pump compared to one year ago.

Crude oil supply from a number of production countries including Russia and Saudi Arabia is expected to sustain the global oil market’s current oversupply and keep market fundamentals bearish in the near term. Projections of slower than expected economic growth from China, combined with the impact of a strengthening U.S. dollar, are also likely to keep the market out of balance and put a ceiling on global oil prices. When the value of the U.S. dollar increases, West Texas Intermediate crude oil, priced in U.S. dollars, becomes a relatively less attractive investment for those holding currencies overseas.

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration points to crude oil inventories being up more than 100 million barrels from this time last year. Domestic inventories are nearing all-time record levels, which contributed to WTI falling temporarily below $40 per barrel last week. WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 15 cents settling at $40.39 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 Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 17, 2015) – AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase over the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most since 2007. With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.

“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones.”

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Despite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain cautious about their finances. However, gas prices remain well below 2014 levels, providing an early holiday bonus to the more than 89 percent of holiday travelers who will drive to their destinations.

“One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway,” continued Doney.

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving

Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.

Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years expected

Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $265 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving. Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.15, 65 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.

#AAAToTheRescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving

AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. 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.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway

Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, 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 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

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. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 16, 2015) Pump prices have fallen for ten consecutive days, reaching today’s national average price of $2.16 per gallon. AAA believes that average U.S. prices should continue to decline and could drop below $2 per gallon by Christmas for the first time since 2009.

Drivers are benefitting from relative savings in the price of retail gasoline with today’s average six cents less per gallon than one week ago and 11 cents less than one month ago. The price of crude oil remains noticeably low compared to previous years, and as a result, retail averages are down 74 cents per gallon year-over-year.

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Refinery production in the Midwest appears to be recovering, which should help improve prices in the region. For example, the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois, has reportedly concluded its scheduled maintenance and returned to production. This and other refinery restarts in the Midwest have led to large weekly and monthly price discounts in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions. Eleven states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, with motorists in South Carolina ($1.91) and Alabama ($1.92) paying the nation’s lowest averages to refuel their vehicles. The nation’s most expensive markets are located in states west of the Rockies, led by Hawaii ($2.86), California ($2.80), Nevada ($2.67), Washington ($2.52) and Oregon ($2.41).

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Averages in the vast majority of states (46) are down week-over-week. Drivers in 18 states are saving a nickel or more per gallon at the pump, and prices have fallen by double-digit increments in nine states with Ohio (-18 cents), Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-18 cents) and Kentucky (-15 cents) posting the largest weekly discounts. Pump prices moved higher on the week in four states including Florida, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey. However, Florida (+4 cents) is the only state where prices increased by more than fractions of a penny week-over-week.

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Monthly price comparisons are following the overall trend of falling prices. Motorists in 47 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying savings at the pump month-over-month, and averages in nearly half of the states (23) have dropped by more than a dime per gallon. The largest savings are again seen in the Midwestern states of Ohio (-33 cents), Illinois (-32 cents) and Indiana (-32 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in three states, Oregon (+5 cents), Washington (+2 cents) and New Jersey (+2 cents) have seen higher prices over the past month.

Year-over-year, consumers nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles. Retail averages are discounted 75 cents or more in 28 states and Washington D.C., and motorists in Alaska (-$1.22) and Hawaii (-$1.10) are benefitting from yearly savings of more than $1 per gallon. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-39 cents) are the only two states posting yearly savings of less than 50 cents per gallon.

A bearish sentiment prevails with global petroleum prices, and traders are following the recent terrorist attacks in France to determine what effects it may have on the market. Global supply continues to outpace demand, while a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes crude oil more expensive for buyers holding foreign currencies, is expected to keep a ceiling on prices into 2016.

U.S. crude oil inventories continue to build, and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, are within reach of hitting record levels set this past April. For the first time in more than two months, the U.S. oil rig count increased on Friday. While this measure is not the best indicator of production, it reportedly reinforced the expectation that U.S. production rates will remain high and keep the market oversupplied in the near term.

WTI opened this week’s trading session posting gains, though prices have since declined. This comes following a week of testing the $40 per barrel threshold, and closing Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, down $1.01, settling at $40.74 per barrel, a closing price that represents a loss of nearly 10 percent on the week.

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, November 9, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased by two cents over the past week to $2.22 per gallon. Despite the slight increase in average pump prices, drivers continue to benefit from substantial discounts compared to recent years. Today’s average represents the lowest price for this same date since 2006. Consumers are saving 10 cents per gallon month-over-month and 72 cents per gallon year-over-year. The national average has moved lower for 24 of the past 30 days and is down 59 cents per gallon versus the 2015 peak price reached in June ($2.80).

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This year’s autumn refinery maintenance season continues to make headlines for its impact on regional markets. Refinery utilization is reportedly beginning to return to normal rates; however, select regional markets are still under pressure as a result of the sheer volume of planned maintenance combined with unplanned outages. The Midwest is recovering from the fall turnaround season and despite reports of restarts, the latest data from the U.S. Department of Energy puts gasoline production and the overall utilization rate at virtually the same levels as prior weeks. Chevron’s Richmond, California refinery, which is reportedly undergoing the largest turnaround work in the refinery’s history, also reported a major unit shutdown. Prior to news of this unplanned outage, the refinery was in the midst of work estimated to last around 80 days, which included maintenance to the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracker. Although gasoline demand typically retreats during the month of November, which could offset any major spikes in price due to supply shortages, unplanned outages could create volatility and put pressure on the national average in the near term.

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Drivers in six states are paying an average below $2 per gallon, and consumers in South Carolina ($1.95) and Alabama ($1.96) continue to pay the lowest prices at the pump. Hawaii ($2.87) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and it is joined by regional neighbors California ($2.84), Nevada ($2.71), Washington ($2.51) and Oregon ($2.40) as the top five most expensive markets. For the sixth consecutive week, all statewide averages are below $3 per gallon and only four states are posting averages above $2.50 per gallon.

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Weekly price comparisons reflect volatility with prices moving by double-digit increments at both ends of the spectrum. Retail averages in the majority of states (31) have moved higher week-over-week, and prices in 16 states have increased by a nickel or more per gallon over this same period. The largest increases have been in Delaware (+14 cents), Kentucky (+11 cents) and Oregon (+10 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices are down in 19 states week-over-week. The Midwestern states of Ohio (-11 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents) are posting weekly discounts in the double digits and they headline the seven states where prices are more than a nickel per gallon less at the pump.

The vast majority of consumers continue to benefit from relative savings in the price of retail gasoline month-over-month. Pump prices are down in 47 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, and averages in 23 states are discounted by more than a dime per gallon. Motorists in ten states are saving more than a quarter per gallon in the cost to refuel their vehicles with the largest savings in Alaska (-37 cents), Indiana (-31 cents) and Ohio (-30 cents). Drivers in three states are paying a bit more to refuel their vehicles in comparison to one month ago, though prices in these states have moved in a much less dramatic fashion. Averages are up in New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania by fractions of a penny month-over-month.

Consumers nationwide continue experience yearly savings at the pump, but the magnitude of the discount is beginning to shrink. Prices are down by $1 or more in two states, Alaska (-$1.23) and Hawaii (-$1.12), and drivers in 20 states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year.

Both crude oil benchmarks, Brent and West Texas Intermediate, closed out this past week with three days of losses due to reports of a strengthening U.S. dollar, which further fueled expectations that the market’s current oversupply will continue in the near term. Market watchers are paying close attention to economic data from China and movements in the U.S. dollar, to get a sense of the overall market’s direction. OPEC’s Secretary recently issued comments touting the cartel’s success at sustaining its market share in light of a lower price environment and stated the expectation that the market will return to balance in the coming year. The cartel plans to convene on December 4 to discuss its strategy moving forward.

The domestic oil market is showing mixed signals for the near-term. Drilling activity reportedly reached its lowest point since June 2010, and the latest reports from the Bureau of Land Management show that oil and gas extraction shed 2,700 jobs during the month of October. Despite this decline in drilling, total crude inventories in the U.S. continue to build and are within 10 million barrels of the record amount reached last spring, which contributes to the downward pressure on prices.

WTI opened this week trading higher, following news that the U.S. oil rig count fell for the tenth consecutive week. This offsets some of the losses seen last week after WTI closed Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 91 cents at $44.29 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, November 4, 2015)

Gas Prices Drop Below $2 per Gallon at Stations in 41 States

  • Drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in 41 states, while eight states have average prices below $2 per gallon.
  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2.20 per gallon, which is the lowest average for this day since 2004. AAA estimates that drivers are spending about $275 million less per day on gasoline compared to a year ago.
  • “The fuel savings continue to add up with pump prices in many areas below $2 per gallon,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. “It looks increasingly likely that drivers will find the cheapest gas prices for the upcoming holidays in at least seven years.”
  • About 3 in 10 U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, while the cheapest one percent of stations are selling gas for an average of $1.75 per gallon. In contrast, only one percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $3 per gallon.
  • Today’s average price of gas is about 77 cents per gallon less than a year ago and nine cents less than a month ago.
  • Average U.S. gas prices have declined about 60 cents per gallon since hitting a 2015 peak price of $2.80 per gallon on June 15.
  • The states with the lowest average gas prices include South Carolina ($1.90), Alabama ($1.92), Mississippi ($1.93), Texas ($1.95) and Louisiana ($1.95).
  • The states with the highest average prices include: Hawaii ($2.88), California ($2.83), Nevada ($2.71), Washington ($2.45) and Alaska ($2.44).

Gas Prices May Temporarily Rise on Higher Oil Costs and Refinery Maintenance

  • Many regions are likely to experience higher gas prices in the near term due to continued refinery maintenance and the recent rise in crude oil costs. Nevertheless, this increase may be temporary due to normal seasonal trends.
  • “Gas prices likely will increase during the first half of November, but that trend might not last long,” continued Ash. “With any luck, we could still see average gas prices drop below $2 per gallon in more areas in time for Christmas.”
  • The cost of domestic crude oil has increased in recent days, which can make it more expensive for refineries to produce gasoline. Many refineries also have been conducting seasonal maintenance, which has temporarily limited fuel production and led to a decline in gasoline supplies. Much of this maintenance is expected to end over the next few weeks.
  • People generally drive fewer miles and use less gasoline as the weather grows colder, and AAA would expect this trend to continue, which could lead to lower gas prices later this year after refineries complete maintenance.
  • The national average price of gas has fallen in November for four years in a row. Last year the national average dropped 23 cents per gallon during the month.
  • There remains significant uncertainty surrounding the oil market, which makes it difficult to predict future gas prices. If oil production declines or the global economy grows faster than expected, then oil prices could rise further. If oil production remains strong and the global economy continues to grow at a slower than expected rate, then oil prices may drop further.

Drivers in October Paid the Cheapest Average Gas Prices in Eight Months

  • The national average price of gas in October was $2.26 per gallon, which was the cheapest monthly average since February 2015 and the lowest October average since 2006. By comparison, the average price of gas in October 2014 was $3.16 per gallon.
  • The national average declined 23 out of 31 days in October for a total of 10 cents per gallon.
  • The national average price of gas has remained lower than $3 per gallon for more than a year going back to November 1, 2014.
  • Gas prices remain relatively inexpensive compared to recent years due to the low cost of crude oil. WTI oil prices closed yesterday at $47.90 per barrel. By comparison, the cost of oil a year ago was $77.19 per barrel.
  • Oil prices are much lower than a year ago due to an abundance of supplies and weakening global demand. Oil production remains strong in regions such the Middle East and in the United States, while worldwide demand has weakened due to slower than projected growth in the global economy, particularly in China.
  • Commercial stocks of domestic crude oil are 27 percent higher than a year ago, according to the EIA, while supplies of gasoline are nearly seven percent higher than a year ago.
  • Many refineries conduct maintenance in the autumn to maintain equipment following the busy summer driving season. This maintenance helps refineries run smoothly during the year, but it can lead to a temporary decline in fuel production. The Energy Information Administration estimated that Midwestern refineries conducted a record level of maintenance in October, which is the main reason why prices in that region were more volatile than in neighboring areas.
  • Drivers 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 com/mobile.

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

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 2, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased for two days in a row to $2.19 per gallon, which ended a 22-day streak of declining prices. Despite the end to the slide, the national average has fallen for 24 of the past 30 days and continues to sit at its lowest price for this date since 2004. Pump prices are down fractions of a penny week-over-week and have declined by 10 cents month-over-month. Motorists are also benefitting from significant yearly savings, with today’s price 80 cents per gallon less than a year ago.

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The Midwest has experienced heavy refinery maintenance in recent weeks due to heavier than normal production during the summer months. Although some of the planned work is beginning to conclude, unplanned outages have further reduced supply and kept prices volatile in the region.  According to the U.S. EIA, refinery utilization in the Midwest hit a five-year low during the month of October, which has contributed to short-term supply challenges throughout the region. ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Illinois refinery is the latest to report unplanned issues, further challenging production from a plant that was already operating at reduced rates due to planned maintenance. Although refinery production rates are expected to return to normal in the next two months, unplanned outages could keep pump prices volatile in the region leading into the winter months, and possibly put a bit of upward pressure on the national average in the near term.

Consumers in South Carolina ($1.87) and Alabama ($1.90) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump, and a total of nine states are posting averages below $2 per gallon. For the fifth consecutive week, drivers in every state are paying retail averages below $3 per gallon with states west of the Rockies leading the market: Hawaii ($2.88), California ($2.83), Nevada ($2.71), Alaska ($2.46) and Washington ($2.43).

On the whole, pump prices have been relatively steady week-over-week, moving by +/- 3 cents in 32 states. Drivers in the majority of states (46) are experiencing weekly savings in the price of retail gasoline, with the largest savings at the pump experienced by motorists in Colorado (-8 cents), Alaska (-7 cents) and Utah (-7 cents). Four states in the Midwest bucked the trend of weekly savings at the pump, largely attributed to unplanned refinery maintenance, which has further reduced supply in the region. Pump prices have moved markedly higher in Indiana (+18 cents) and Ohio (+17 cents) week-over-week, and retail averages could remain volatile leading into the winter months as the fall turnaround season concludes.

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Retail averages in the vast majority of states (49) are down month-over-month, with consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C., saving at least a nickel or more per gallon. Motorists in nearly half (24) of the states are benefitting from double-digit savings over this same period, with Alaska (-48 cents), Utah (-27 cents), Colorado (-27 cents) and Idaho (-27 cents) all posting discounts of more than a quarter per gallon in the price at the pump. The only state outside of this trend of savings is Iowa, where prices have inched higher by fractions of a penny month-over-month.

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Yearly price comparisons continue to reveal significant savings in the price of retail gasoline nationwide, led by Alaska (-$1.26) and Hawaii (-$1.16). Averages in 41 states and Washington, D.C. are down by more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year, and motorists in five states are saving more than $1 per gallon at the pump over this same period.  Nevada (-44 cents) and California (-48 cents) are the only two states where drivers are not experiencing yearly savings of more than 50 cents per gallon.

Despite both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices closing out the last week higher, new data showing abundant supplies, combined with reports of a slowing Chinese economy, has put downward pressure on both benchmarks to open this week’s trading. Global oversupply remains front of mind for market analysts, and despite the lower-prices, Iranian oil is expected to return to market and apply additional downward pressure to global prices.

Despite the U.S. oil rig count falling for the ninth consecutive week, U.S. production recently increased and crude oil inventories remain elevated compated to previous years.  The recent gains in WTI are seen as a short-term shift, rather than a change in market fundamentals, and a sluggish week may be on the horizon for the domestic benchmark.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 53 cents settling at $46.59 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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