Posts Tagged ‘Expert’

ErinSteppAAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly

ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel.

Additional Resources

“AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal:

  • In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction).
  • With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios.
    • Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios.
  • When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced.
    • When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall.

“Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.”

In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal:

  • Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle.
  • Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle.
    • Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent).
  • Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work.
    • Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent).

“When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.”

For its potential to reduce crash severity, 20 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.

AAA’s testing of automatic emergency braking systems was conducted on a closed course at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Using instrumented vehicles and a state-of the-art robotic “soft car” that allowed for collisions without vehicle damage, AAA collected vehicle separation, speed and deceleration data in a variety of crash scenarios designed to mirror real-world driving conditions. The testing was designed to build on previous testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For additional information, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

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.

Tamra Johnson

Following a streak where the national retail average price of gasoline dropped on 54 of 55 days, pump prices have now increased on 12 of the past 17 days and each of the past six. The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.16 per gallon, which is four cents more than one week ago, but is two cents less than a month ago, 46 cents less than the same date last year, and the lowest price for this date since 2004.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-22-16-01

Pump prices have been driven by crude oil prices surging more than 20 percent this month and refinery issues impacting production in some regions. Higher crude oil prices have come as the U.S. dollar has weakened and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is reportedly considering production cuts to bolster prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is priced in U.S. dollars. As the U.S. dollar weakens, crude oil becomes relatively less expensive for those holding foreign currencies, which increases demand and puts upward pressure on oil prices. This upward momentum has been further supported by reports that OPEC members will again consider an agreement that would limit production in the face of the global glut of crude oil supplies that has more than halved prices in recent years.

Also influencing gasoline prices have been refinery issues that have exacerbated price increases in areas supplied by these facilities. This includes a number of refineries in the Gulf Coast that are undergoing unplanned maintenance as a result of flooding in Louisiana and refinery fire in Texas. Drivers in the Midwest and Central U.S. continue to see the most dramatic recent price movement as the impact of outages – including the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. – has pushed prices higher. The facility is reported to be slowly coming back online, which could allow regional prices to drop back down.

While pump prices in the vast majority of states (42) have moved higher over the past week, domestic gasoline supplies remain high and oil prices remain relatively lower compared to recent years, meaning pump prices are likely to remain cheap through the rest of the summer and into the fall. Prices could even dip back below $2.00 per gallon once the summer driving season is complete and as many regions are allowed to transition to selling cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline. However, a major market-moving event, like a hurricane or further increasing crude oil costs, could still offset this decline and temporarily drive pump prices higher.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in nine states are below $2.00 per gallon, three fewer than one week ago: South Carolina ($1.87), Alabama ($1.90), Mississippi ($1.93), Virginia ($1.95), Tennessee ($1.95), New Jersey ($1.96), Arkansas ($1.99), Texas ($1.99), and Louisiana ($1.997).
  • West Coast drivers are still paying the highest prices for gasoline despite featuring five of the six states with week-over-week savings. This region includes the seven highest state averages and the four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.69), California ($2.66), Washington ($2.58), and Alaska ($2.55).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-22-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also among the only motorists who have seen state prices drop over the past week and many of these states feature prominently in the ranking of the largest year-over-year discounts, including three of the top four savings in the nation: Alaska (-89 cents), California (-84 cents), and Nevada (-77 cents). While weekly discounts exist in parts of the region, prices in California have moved higher due to an issue at the Valero refinery in Wilmington, Calif. that produces an estimated 87,000 barrels per day when running at capacity. Should this facility be delayed in returning to production, it could reverse the recent declines in other parts of the region.

Rockies

Pump prices in the Rocky Mountains have remained relatively stable compared to other markets due primarily to the fact that there have been few regional disruptions to production in recent months and their geographic location. Being located in the center of the country helps to insulate the region from coastal price swings. Barring unforeseen production issues, lower prices could be around the corner for drivers in the area with the nearing end to the summer driving season and the transition to winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. The changeover to winter-blend gasoline, which has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure and is cheaper to produce, is allowed to take place in many parts of the country on September 15.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation. This is a product of tightening supplies compared to other regions and refinery issues that have limited production at some facilities. While prices in recent weeks have been a mixed bag of increases and decreases, regional prices over the past week have moved universally higher, with Midwestern states filling the top-five increases during this span: Indiana (+10 cents), Kentucky (+10 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), and Ohio (+8 cents). This volatility has been pressured by operations at the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest facility), which has been slow to come back on line following production problems.

Prices for drivers in the Central United States remain some of the cheapest in the country, although prices have followed the national average higher over the past week. Three states in the region feature in the top-15 lowest: Tennessee ($1.95), Missouri ($2.01), and Oklahoma ($2.07).

Top10 Largest Increases 8-22-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While still largely cheaper than one month ago, prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have moved higher over the past week due to rising crude oil prices. This has been most evident in the Mid-Atlantic, where three states feature prominently in the top-ten weekly increases in the nation: Delaware (+9 cents), Maryland (+7 cents), and Pennsylvania (+7 cents).

South and Southeast

Drivers across the South and Southeast still make up the bulk of those paying pump prices below $2 per gallon. Despite several recent production issues in the region, seven states still place in the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The U.S. Gulf Coast is the largest refining region in the nation, so even with some recently reported problems, the area is less susceptible to price spikes from limited disruptions.

Oil Market Dynamics

As outlined above, a key contributing factor to the higher retail gas prices has been the increase in crude oil prices in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is still priced much lower than recent years, prices have increased more than 20 percent in August and are trading at the highest level since July 1. This increase has been attributed to a weaker U.S. dollar and reports that OPEC will reconsider production limits by cartel members at its next meeting in Algeria in late September. An agreement on a similar proposal failed at their last meeting, however Ecuador and Venezuela are expected to again call for measures to cut production. If OPEC members agree to limit production, rising crude oil prices could offset or even reverse any expected drop in U.S. pump prices resulting from tapering demand and cheaper seasonal blends. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was up 30 cents to settle at $48.52 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Tamra Johnson
After dropping 54 of 55 days, the national average price of gasoline at the pump has held steady over the past week but has declined each of the past four days. The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.12 per gallon, which is the lowest price for this date since 2004. Today’s price is fractions of a penny more than one week ago, but is nine cents less than one month ago and 54 cents less than the same date last year.
2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-15-16-01

As is frequently the case, the Midwest features the most dramatic pump price movement in the nation, including the only five states posting a weekly price change of more than a nickel. This past week’s direction was not uniform as prices in Michigan and Ohio have dropped at the same time prices in Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota have jumped. Motorists in the Midwest are used to these sorts of price swings, as low supply and the resulting sensitivity to production and distribution issues have caused sharp price increases when refineries go offline, followed by rapid decline in prices when those issues are resolved.

The magnitude of price movement has been dampened somewhat this year. Last week’s Department of Energy report showed Midwestern supplies had dropped for the third consecutive week and the impact of an issue at the 430,000 barrel per day BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. is still evident. However, despite the decline resulting in a new 2016 low, gasoline stocks for the Midwest Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD 2) remain nearly ten percent higher than the same time last year. These robust year-over-year supply comparisons are evident nationwide and pave the way for the lowest pump prices for motorists in more than a decade to persist through Labor Day. Barring an unexpectedly dramatic shift over the next several weeks, national gasoline supplies are likely to end August at their highest level on record.

As of yesterday, approximately 41 percent of gas stations nationwide were selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less, a slight decrease from the 43 percent last week but a sharp contrast to the tenth of a percent below this threshold on this date in 2015. Eight percent of stations nationwide are selling gasoline for more than $2.50 per gallon, down slightly from the nine percent of stations one month ago and substantially from the 56 percent one year ago.

With gasoline supplies high and oil prices still relatively low, pump prices are likely to remain cheap through the rest of the summer and into the fall and could even dip back below $2.00 per gallon once the summer driving season is complete. However, a major market-moving event, like a hurricane or increasing crude oil costs, is not out of the question and could still offset this decline and temporarily drive pump prices higher.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in twelve states are now below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.82), Alabama ($1.86), Mississippi ($1.90), Tennessee ($1.90), New Jersey ($1.90), Virginia ($1.91), Arkansas ($1.94), Delaware ($1.97), Texas ($1.97), Louisiana ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.99), and North Carolina ($1.996).
  • Despite year-over-year savings, West Coast drivers continue to pay the most for gasoline, including the seven highest state averages and the only four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.70), California ($2.62), Washington ($2.58), and Alaska ($2.57).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-15-16-01

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation as has consistently been the case over the past decade. However, drivers in these same states are also enjoying dramatic yearly savings, with three of the top five largest yearly drops observed in this region: California (-98 cents), Alaska (-89 cents), and Nevada (-80 cents). West Coast prices have also been leading the national slide lower over the past month with California (-24 cents) and Arizona (-20 cents) reflecting the two largest drops in the nation.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region have continued to be among the most stable in the nation, due to their insulated status in the center of the country and few disruptions to regional production this spring and summer. Nevertheless, lower prices are likely on the horizon for drivers in the region with the end to the summer driving season and the transition to winter-blend gasoline rapidly approaching. The changeover to winter-blend gasoline, which has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) and is cheaper to produce, can take place in many parts of the country on September 15.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation, with tightening supplies and refinery issues contributing to seesawing prices for motorists. The past week has featured both ends of the spectrum: Michigan (-10 cents) and Ohio (-6 cents) the largest weekly declines and Kentucky (+8 cents), Indiana (+8 cents), and Minnesota (+6 cents) the top gainers. This recent volatility has been underpinned by reported issues at the BP facility in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest refinery) combined with data from the Energy Information Administration showing that regional supplies, while historically robust, are dropping. Despite the recent increases in some parts, Midwestern states still feature prominently in the most dramatic year-over-year declines, with Illinois (-90 cents), Indiana (-86 cents), Ohio (-78 cents), Michigan (-78 cents), and Wisconsin (-73 cents) all among the top ten.

Prices in the Central United States continue to be among the cheapest pump prices in the country, including two of the states where prices are below $2.00 per gallon: Tennessee ($1.90) and Oklahoma ($1.99).

Top10 Most Dramatic Weekly Changes_8-15-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to point lower and the region experienced some of the most dramatic declines over the past month, with seven regions in the top ten: West Virginia (-16 cents), Connecticut (-16 cents), Massachusetts (-15 cents), Rhode Island (-15 cents), the District of Columbia (-14 cents), Pennsylvania (-14 cents), and Vermont (-13 cents). These sagging prices have been the result of plentiful gasoline supplies, which remain approximately 14 million barrels higher than this time last year.

South and Southeast

Drivers across the South and Southeast are paying pump prices below $2 per gallon, and the region features six of the ten cheapest states in the nation: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. The Gulf Coast is home to the bulk of U.S. refining capacity, and while several issues have contributed some upward pressure to prices over the past week, the approaching changeover to the production of less costly winter-blend gasoline is likely to keep prices pointed lower throughout the region.

Oil Market Dynamics

A key contributing factor to the stalling slide in retail gas prices has been the increase in crude oil prices over the past several weeks. While West Texas Intermediate crude oil is still trading substantially lower than recent years, prices have increased in August and are now trading at the highest level in a month. This increase has been attributed to reports that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reconsider production limits by cartel members at its next meeting in an effort to boost oil prices and profits by curbing supply. OPEC’s next meeting is in Algeria in late September, and while agreement on a similar proposal at their last meeting was unsuccessful, member countries Ecuador and Venezuela are expected to again call for measures to cut production. If OPEC members agree to limit production, rising crude oil prices could offset or even reverse expected downward pressure on U.S. pump prices from tapering demand and cheaper seasonal blends. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was up $1.00 to settle at $44.49 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Tamra JohnsonNew AAA Foundation study shows that more than 200,000 Crashes Are Caused by Road Debris

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 11, 2016)- More than 200,000 crashes involved debris on U.S. roadways during the past four years, according to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Road debris has resulted in approximately 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. AAA is calling for drivers to properly secure their loads to prevent dangerous debris.

Additional Resources

AAA researchers examined common characteristics of crashes involving road debris and found that:

  • Nearly 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes resulted from the driver swerving to avoid hitting an object. Overcorrecting at the last minute to avoid debris can increase a driver’s risk of losing control of their vehicle and make a bad situation worse.
  • More than one in three crashes involving debris occur between 10:00 a.m. and 3:59 p.m., a time when many people are on the road hauling or moving heavy items like furniture or construction equipment.
  • Debris-related crashes are much more likely to occur on Interstate highways. Driving at high speeds increases the risk for vehicle parts to become detached or cargo to fall onto the roadway.

“This new report shows that road debris can be extremely dangerous but all of these crashes are preventable,” said Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers can easily save lives and prevent injuries by securing their loads and taking other simple precautions to prevent items from falling off the vehicle.”

About two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of items falling from a vehicle due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads. The most common types of vehicle debris are:

  • Parts becoming detached from a vehicle (tires, wheels, etc.) and falling onto the roadway
  • Unsecured cargo like furniture, appliances and other items falling onto the roadway
  • Tow trailers becoming separated and hitting another vehicle or landing on the roadway

Drivers can decrease their chances of being involved in a road debris crash by:

  • Maintaining Their Vehicles: Drivers should have their vehicles checked regularly by trained mechanics. Badly worn or underinflated tires often suffer blowouts that can leave pieces of tire on the roadway. Exhaust systems and the hardware that attach to the vehicle can also rust and corrode, causing mufflers and other parts to drag and eventually break loose. Potential tire and exhaust system problems can easily be spotted by trained mechanics as part of the routine maintenance performed during every oil change.
  • Securing Vehicle Loads: When moving or towing furniture, it is important to make sure all items are secured. To properly secure a load, drivers should:
    1. Tie down load with rope, netting or straps
    2. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
    3. Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
    4. Don’t overload the vehicle
    5. Always double check load to make sure a load is secure

“Drivers have a much bigger responsibility when it comes to preventing debris on the roads than most realize,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “It’s important for drivers to know that many states have hefty fines and penalties for drivers who drop items from their vehicle onto the roadway, and in some cases states impose jail time.”

Currently every state has laws that make it illegal for items to fall from a vehicle while on the road. Most states’ penalties result in fines ranging from $10-$5,000, with at least 16 states listing jail as a possible punishment for offenders. AAA encourages drivers to educate themselves about specific road debris laws in their state. Drivers should also practice defensive driving techniques while on the road to prevent debris related crashes from occurring.

“Continually searching the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead can help drivers be prepared in the case of debris,” said William Van Tassel, Manager of Driver Training Programs for AAA. “Always try to maintain open space on at least one side of your vehicle in case you need to steer around an object. If you see you are unable to avoid debris on the roadway, safely reduce your speed as much as possible before making contact.”

AAA also recommends that drivers avoid tailgating and remain alert while on the road. Additional tips on defensive driving and how to report road debris to the proper authorities are available online at AAA.com/PreventRoadDebris.

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 300 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 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Average Gas Prices Holding Steady to Begin August

August 8th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileThe national average price of gas has held relatively steady over the past week and has declined on just one of the past four days. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.12 per gallon, which is the lowest price for this date since 2004 and 26 cents below 2016’s peak price to date of $2.40 on June 11. Today’s price is one cent less than one week ago, 12 cents less than one month ago and 48 cents less than the same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_8-8-16-01

Abundant supplies of gasoline have contributed to starkly lower gas prices across the country during this summer driving season. However, the U.S. Department of Energy last week reported the largest gasoline supply decline since April (3.3 million barrels), which was enough to at least temporarily reverse the lengthy slide in pump prices over the past several days. Gas prices dropped in 38 states and Washington, D.C. in the past week, but were largely offset by increases in several Midwestern states. Despite a weekly increase in 12 states, prices remain lower in every state versus one year ago, including discounts of 75 cents or more in three Western states.

As of yesterday, some 44 percent of gas stations nationwide were selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less, compared to fewer than one in 1,000 on this same date last year. Less than one percent of stations nationwide are selling gasoline for more than $3.00 per gallon, compared to 11 percent of stations one year ago.

With gasoline supplies high and oil prices low, pump prices are likely to remain relatively cheap through the remainder of the summer and into the fall. This comes even as U.S. drivers are on track to shatter the all-time record for total miles driven in a year. Provided the next month does not bring a major market-moving event, like a major hurricane or escalating geopolitical tensions overseas, pump prices are likely to remain at relatively low levels. It is even possible that the national average price of gas may dip below $2.00 per gallon after the summer driving season ends and refineries switch over to less expensive winter-blend gasoline on September 15.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in fifteen states are now below $2.00 per gallon: South Carolina ($1.81), Alabama ($1.86), Tennessee ($1.89), Mississippi ($1.89), New Jersey ($1.90), Virginia ($1.91), Arkansas ($1.92), Delaware ($1.94), Louisiana ($1.95), Texas ($1.98), Missouri ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Georgia ($1.98), Kentucky ($1.98) and North Carolina ($1.97).
  • Despite year-over-year savings, the West Coast remains the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only four states where drivers are paying an average of more than $2.50: Hawaii ($2.73), California ($2.66), Washington ($2.62), and Alaska ($2.59).

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-8-16-01

West Coast

West Coast pumps feature both the highest prices in the country and the most dramatic yearly savings. The largest year-over-year declines in the nation are seen in California (-95 cents), Alaska (-85 cents), and Nevada (-76 cents). Contributing to these substantial yearly savings is the fact that there have been relatively few refinery issues this summer compared to a number of regional issues in the summer of 2015.

Top10 Largest Yearly Savings-8-8-16-01

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountains continue to be among the most stable in the nation, due to their insulated status in the center of the nation and minimal disruptions to regional production this spring and summer. Barring any refinery issues at those facilities supplying the region or a sudden increase in crude oil prices, pump prices in these states are likely to remain relatively flat through Labor Day.

Great Lakes and Central States

As has been a regular refrain in recent years, gas prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be the most volatile in the nation, with tightening supplies and refinery issues temporarily sending prices sharply higher. The past week has been a microcosm of this effect as the region has featured the three most dramatic increases in the nation (Michigan +14 cents, Illinois +7 cents, and Ohio +7 cents) as well as the largest decrease (Indiana -7 cents). In last week’s AAA Gas Price Report, Indiana featured the largest weekly increase (+10 cents). Wholesale gasoline prices in the Great Lakes region spiked last week following reported issues at the BP facility in Whiting, Ind. (the region’s largest refinery), which built on recent data from the Energy Information Administration showing that regional supplies, while still robust, are tightening. Much of these gains were reversed on Friday when outlets reported that the refinery issue had been resolved, so it is likely next week’s report will once again feature the region as experiencing significant declines.

Prices in the Central United States are not immune to volatility of those in the Great Lakes, however drivers in the Central region continue to pay among the cheapest pump prices in the country, including four states where prices are now below $2.00: Tennessee ($1.89), Missouri ($1.97), and Oklahoma ($1.97).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to drop at a steady rate, with prices across the region falling a couple of cents over the past week. No state in the region is in the top-ten prices in the nation and three other states in the region (New Jersey, Virginia, and Delaware) are now below $2 per gallon.

South and Southeast

While drivers across much of the South and Southeast are enjoying pump prices below $2 per gallon, a reported 3.3-million-barrel decline in regional gasoline stocks has caused wholesale prices to rise over the past week, which could contribute to an uptick in retail prices paid by motorists. Motorists in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas are enjoying pump prices among the top ten lowest in the nation. The Gulf Coast is home to the bulk of U.S. refining capacity, which should keep prices relatively low for drivers, barring a hurricane or other unexpected event.

Oil Market Dynamics

Strong global oil production and a strengthening U.S. dollar have contributed to West Texas Intermediate crude oil trading near lows not seen since Spring. One item market-watchers are considering this morning is the news that OPEC may again consider production limits by cartel members in an effort to boost oil prices by curbing supply. OPEC will hold an informal meeting in Algeria in late September, where member countries Ecuador and Venezuela will call for measures to cut production. Similar efforts earlier this year were unsuccessful, as members opted to preserve market share by maintaining production, which has preserved the global state of oversupply and resulted in low oil prices. If OPEC members agree to limit production, crude oil prices could again rise as demand moves into balance with supply. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX WTI was down 13 cents to settle at $41.80 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Gas Prices Reach Lowest Mark in 100 Days

August 1st, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileNational pump prices have fallen 50 of the past 51 days for a total of 25 cents per gallon. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has declined to $2.13 per gallon, which is the lowest level in the past 100 days and the lowest price for this date since 2004. Today’s price is three cents less than one week ago, 15 cents less than one month ago and 52 cents less than the same date last year.

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Gas prices across most of the country continue to slide during the peak road-trip season due to abundant supplies. Gas prices dropped in 45 states and Washington, D.C. over the past week, though several states did post increases (Indiana +9 cents, Utah +3 cents, Ohio +3 cents, Missouri +1 cent, and Idaho up fractions of a penny). This sort of dramatic price change will come as no surprise to Midwestern drivers as pump prices regularly move significantly from week to week. Despite the recent uptick in several states, prices in every state are lower than both one month ago and one year ago.

As of yesterday, more than 40 percent of gas stations nationwide were selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less, compared to just a handful on this same date last year. Fewer than one percent of stations nationwide are selling gasoline for more than $3.00 per gallon, compared to 13 percent of stations one year ago.

With gasoline supplies high and oil prices low, pump prices are likely to remain relatively cheap through the remainder of the summer and into the fall. While a record number of American motorists have hit the road for summer travel, sharply lower gas prices have not triggered the sharply higher gasoline demand that many analysts had anticipated. This was evident in last week’s Energy Information Administration report, which revised the mark for U.S. gasoline demand in May lower by 213,000 barrels per day to 9.436 million. While lower than first reported, this demand number was still the highest total on record for the month of May.

Despite the lowest seasonal prices in more than a decade, unexpected events could trigger higher prices. Rising crude oil costs due to a disruption in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas could lead to higher pump prices nationwide, or regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand, or hurricanes that impact distribution and production, which has happened in several Midwestern states over the past week.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in three more states have dropped below $2.00 per gallon over the past week, bringing the total to fourteen states: South Carolina ($1.84), Alabama ($1.88), Tennessee ($1.89), Mississippi ($1.91), Arkansas ($1.92), Oklahoma ($1.92), Missouri ($1.93), Virginia ($1.93), New Jersey ($1.93), Louisiana ($1.95), Delaware ($1.96), Kentucky ($1.98), Texas ($1.98), and Georgia ($1.99).
  • Gas prices are dropping on the West Coast, but it remains the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only four states where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: Hawaii ($2.76), California ($2.73), Washington ($2.62), and Alaska ($2.62).

Top10 Largest One-Week Declines-8-1-16-01

West Coast

West Coast pump prices remain the highest in the country, but drivers in this region will find some solace in the substantial savings from one year ago. Led by California (-$1.03), the only state in the nation where drivers are saving a dollar or more year-over-year, West Coast states are seeing some of the largest yearly discounts, including California, Alaska (-86 cents), and Nevada (-77 cents). Last year, following a number of unexpected refinery issues in California, gas prices surged during the peak driving season across the region. This year there have been relatively few refinery issues, which has helped prices follow the national trend lower.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountains continue to be among the most stable in the nation. Barring any regional refinery issues, prices for drivers in the Rocky Mountain states are likely to remain relatively flat through Labor Day and may decline even further once the summer driving season has concluded.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices in the Great Lakes region continue to be among the most volatile in the nation, as refinery outages and declining supplies have put upward pressure on prices. This includes the most dramatic overnight change (Michigan, +3 cents), weekly change (Indiana, +10 cents) and monthly change (Illinois, -27 cents). The recent refinery outages include planned maintenance at Phillips 66’s Wood River, Illinois refinery and unplanned issues at CVR Energy’s Coffeeville, Kansas plant; BP’s Toledo, Ohio refinery; Husky’s Lima, Ohio, refinery; and CITGO’s Lemont, Illinois refinery. While production at these facilities has been impacted and regional gasoline stocks have dropped by 10 million barrels from early February, overall production for the region was reported by the EIA to have remained strong at 2.723 million barrels per day.

While prices in the Central United States are not immune to the volatility of their Great Lakes neighbors, motorists in the Central region continue to pay some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with Oklahoma ($1.92) and Missouri ($1.93) each featuring in the top-ten least expensive state averages.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to drop, and while New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine appear in the top-20 state averages, three other states in the region (Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware) are now below $2 per gallon. These lower prices come even as some traders are watching announcements of planned reductions in production from refineries supplying the region as profit margins have narrowed.

South and Southeast

Gas prices across much of the South and Southeast are at or below $2 per gallon. Motorists in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas are enjoying pump prices among the top five cheapest in the nation. The bulk of America’s refining capacity is in the Southeastern United States, and abundant production in the region should keep prices relatively low barring a hurricane or other unexpected event.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-8-1-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

Ample domestic oil supplies and a strengthening U.S. dollar have contributed to West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices testing lows not seen since Spring. WTI is priced in U.S. dollars, so as the dollar strengthens, the price of oil becomes relatively more expensive for those holding foreign currencies. This makes oil a less attractive investment and helps reduce prices. If this trend continues, WTI could drop below $40 per barrel for the first time since April 18. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI had recovered slightly from Thursday’s multi-month low to settle 46 cents higher at $41.60 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Price Since April

July 25th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileNational pump prices have fallen for 43 of the past 44 days, dropping 22 cents during this span. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline sits at $2.16 per gallon, which is the lowest mark since April and the lowest price for this date since 2004. Today’s price is five cents less than one week ago, 15 cents less than one month ago, and 56 cents less than the same date last year.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_7-25-16-01

With abundant fuel supplies across the nation and declining crude oil costs, gas prices dropped in 47 states over the past week, led by double digit drops in several Midwestern states. Gas prices have dropped in 48 states during the previous month with prices down by at least 25 cents per gallon in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan. Prices are substantially lower than one year ago in every state, headlined by California, where prices are more than a dollar cheaper than this time last year.

Today’s most common price in the country is $1.999 per gallon, and more than one-third of gas stations nationwide are selling gasoline for $2.00 per gallon or less. This is substantially higher than the seven percent of stations at or below this threshold a month ago and the fractions of percent that broke this mark a year ago.

Gas prices are likely to remain low for the remainder of the summer compared to recent years. U.S. crude oil supplies are at their highest level for this time of year in 86 years, although domestic oil production has ticked lower each of the past nine months. While oil production has slowed slightly, fuel production has continued to rise. This is supported by data from the American Petroleum Institute, which last week reported fuel deliveries for June were three percent higher than 2015 and the highest number in nine years. Overall, domestic deliveries are 1.7 percent higher during the first half of 2016 than the same period last year, which is in line with AAA reports of travelers taking advantage of lower gas prices and hitting the roads in record numbers this year.

Despite the lowest seasonal prices in 12 years, it’s important to note the possibility that unexpected events could trigger higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas. In addition, regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand, or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats

  • Gas prices in four more states have dropped below $2.00 per gallon over the past week, bringing the total to eleven states: South Carolina ($1.85), Missouri ($1.92), Tennessee ($1.93), Alabama ($1.93), Oklahoma ($1.94), Mississippi ($1.94), Arkansas ($1.95), Virginia ($1.97), New Jersey ($1.97), Kentucky ($1.99), and Louisiana ($1.99).
  • While gas prices are dropping on the West Coast, it continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: Hawaii ($2.80), California ($2.80), Washington ($2.66), Alaska ($2.64), Oregon ($2.52), and Nevada ($2.51).
  • Less than one percent of U.S. stations is selling gas for more than $3.00 per gallon today compared to 14 percent on this date last year.

Top10 Highest Average Gas Price Template_7-25-16-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country. Fortunately for drivers in this region, prices are much less than a year ago: California (-$1.03), Alaska (-83 cents), Nevada (-75 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Washington (-54 cents), and Hawaii (-51 cents). Last year, following a number of unexpected refinery issues in California, gas prices surged during the peak driving season across the region. This year there have been relatively few refinery issues, which has helped prices remain low versus a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region continue to be insulated from refinery issues and are among the most stable prices in the nation. Over the past week prices have moved by a penny or less in five states: Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Even over the past month, prices in these states have remained flat with prices dropping only a few cents per gallon over this span.

Great Lakes and Central States

As is often the case, gas prices in the Great Lakes region are the most volatile in the nation. At the moment drivers are enjoying this distinction, as prices are dropping on abundant supplies and limited disruption to production. This region includes the five states registering the largest declines in the nation over the past week: Indiana (-15 cents), Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-10 cents), and Missouri (-8 cents). Midwestern declines are also featured in the top month-over-month comparisons, with every U.S. state that is posting a decline of 20 cents or more in this region: Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri. On top of these weekly and monthly savings, drivers in the Central United States continues to pay some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with Oklahoma ($1.94), Tennessee ($1.93), and Missouri ($1.92) all featured in the top five cheapest state averages.

Top10 Largest Monthly Declines-7-25-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to drop, and average prices in both Virginia and New Jersey are now below $2 per gallon and could be joined by Delaware before the week is over. Washington, D.C. ($2.42), New York ($2.36), Connecticut ($2.33), and Pennsylvania ($2.29) have the most expensive averages in the region, though average prices in these states are also substantially cheaper than a year ago.

South and Southeast

Gas prices in much of the South and Southeast remain near or below $2 per gallon. Motorists in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana are already enjoying an average price below this threshold, and drivers in Georgia and Texas could join this list in the next several days. The bulk of America’s refining capacity is in the Southeastern United States, and abundant production should keep prices relatively low unless there is an unexpected disruption to supply, such as a major hurricane.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-7-25-16-01

Oil Market Dynamics

With domestic supplies at their highest seasonal levels in decades, a stronger U.S. dollar, and an uptick in the number of U.S. oil rigs, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is trading at its lowest price since early May. Many analysts have predicted oil prices could drop even further later this year, which would likely lead to lower gas prices for consumers heading into the fall. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 56 cents to settle at $44.19 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Despite Vehicle Advances, Break Downs at Record High

July 20th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Mariam Ali Contact TileAAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 20, 2016) – Despite advances in vehicle technology, including maintenance reminders and other dashboard alerts designed to mitigate roadside trouble, AAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015, with more battery, flat tire and key problems than ever before, a new study shows. Vehicles fewer than five years old in particular experienced a higher proportion of tire and key-related issues than older vehicles, suggesting that the trend toward eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have unintended consequences.

Additional Resources

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“Vehicles today are advanced more than ever, yet are still vulnerable to breakdowns,” said Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Solutions. “Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life and despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year.”

Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside. To reduce vehicle weight and boost fuel economy, spare tires are being eliminated from new vehicles at alarming rates, and are being replaced with tire inflator kits that can only remedy some flat tire situations. Additionally, new keyless ignition systems can drain the battery life when keys are stored too close to the vehicle and can lock a driver out of the vehicle while the engine is still running. Finally, despite nearly all new vehicles being equipped with low fuel warning alerts and range estimations, a higher proportion of drivers are using these systems to push the limits between fuel ups.

Other key findings from an analysis of AAA’s 2015 roadside assistance data include:

  • Battery failures, flat tires and keys locked inside the vehicle remain the top roadside assistance requests.
  • Vehicles fewer than five years old have a higher proportion of tire, key and fuel-related issues than older vehicles. Due in part to complex, electronic vehicle designs, one-in-five service calls for a newer vehicle required a tow to a repair facility.
  • Vehicles between 6 and 10 years old have the highest proportion of battery-related issues, as most batteries have a three- to five-year life.
  • Roadside assistance calls peak in the summer (8.3 million) followed by winter (8.1 million), fall (7.8 million) and spring (7.7 million).
  • Drivers are most likely to request roadside assistance on Mondays and least likely to request assistance on Sundays.
  • Drivers in the West experienced the most breakdowns, followed by the South, the Northeast and the Midwest.
  • Despite advances in key technology, AAA came to the rescue of more than four million drivers locked out of their vehicles.

“Drivers today have increasingly-connected lifestyles, and want reliable, flexible service options when trouble strikes,” continued Ruud. “AAA has responded with flexible roadside assistance offerings nationwide including app-based service requests and the ability to track assigned service vehicles in real time on a smartphone.”

To help prevent millions of roadside breakdowns from happening, AAA offers the following recommendations for common roadside problems:

  • Check for a spare tire: Before purchasing a car, check that the vehicle includes a spare tire. If it doesn’t, consider adding one as an option. Tire inflator kits — which have replaced spare tires on tens of millions of vehicles –cannot remedy all types of tire damage.
  • Check tires: At least once a month, check the tire pressure to ensure proper inflation. This affects tire wear and vehicle handling. Tires should be rotated based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for the vehicle.
  • Lockouts: AAA recommends motorists take special care of their “smart keys” and keyless entry fobs. Always take keys when exiting the car, avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Battery: AAA recommends that drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age and on an annual basis thereafter. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
  • Pack an emergency kit: A recent AAA survey shows that more than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle. AAA recommends that every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit, which includes a mobile phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Before hitting the road, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Travelers can use the app to request AAA roadside assistance, route a trip, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, book a hotel and more. In addition, AAA members can also track in real time the location of their assigned vehicle with Service Tracker. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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.

Gas Prices Drop to 12-Year Low for July

July 18th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Michael Green Contact TileThe national average for regular, unleaded gasoline has fallen for 35 out of 36 days to $2.21 per gallon and sits at the lowest mark for this time of year since 2004. Gas prices continue to drop in most parts of the country due to abundant fuel supplies and declining crude oil costs. Average prices are about 55 cents less than a year ago, which is motivating millions of Americans to take advantage of cheap gas by taking long road trips this summer.

2013-2016_Avg Gas Prices_7-18-16-01-01

The best news for consumers is that gas prices have once again dropped below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country, which is something that drivers have not seen during the summer in more than a decade. About 1 in 4 U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, and consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in 36 states.

Gas prices likely will remain relatively low compared to recent years for the remainder of the summer. U.S. crude oil supplies are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks have increased to 240 million barrels as refineries produce significant quantities of fuel. This is the highest ever mark for gasoline supplies during the month of July, according to Department of Energy records.

Despite paying the lowest seasonal prices in 12 years, there is always the possibility that unexpected events could lead to higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas. In addition, regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats

  • The national average price of gas is down a fraction of a cent for the day, three cents for the week, 13 cents for the month and 55 cents compared to a year ago.
  • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in seven states today including: South Carolina ($1.88), Mississippi ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Tennessee ($1.97), Alabama ($1.97), Arkansas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.996).
  • The West Coast continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states in the nation where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65), Nevada ($2.55) and Oregon ($2.53).
  • Only 12 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today.

Top10 Lowest Average Gas Prices-7-18-16-01-01

West Coast

Gas prices on the West Coast remain the highest in the country. Fortunately for consumers, West Coast prices are much less than a year ago, and drivers in California are saving more than $1 per gallon on average compared to that time: California (-$1.03), Alaska (-82 cents), Nevada (-71 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Hawaii (-53 cents) and Washington (-53 cents). Last year, California refineries were suffering from a number of unexpected problems, which led to higher gas prices during the peak driving season. Refineries are running more smoothly this summer, which has helped prices remain cheaper than a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies region have remained relatively stable over the past week with averages dropping by only two cents per gallon or less in states. Even over the past month, the region has experienced little change with prices generally moving only a few cents per gallon.

Great Lakes and Central States

This Great Lakes region has the only three states in the nation that have seen prices increase over the past week: Michigan (+$10 cents), Ohio (+9 cents) and Indiana (+2 cents). The Great Lakes is often the most volatile area in the country for gas prices, and it is not uncommon for prices to move significantly from day to day. At the moment, it looks like average prices are heading downwards yet again. Despite the recent increases, average prices in the region have posted among the largest drops in the country over the past month: Ohio (-36 cents), Illinois (-32 cents), Indiana (-31 cents), Michigan (-27 cents) and Wisconsin (-22 cents). The Central United States meanwhile continues to have some of the cheapest gas prices in the country with averages in both Oklahoma ($1.97) and Missouri ($1.996) below $2 per gallon.

Top10 Month-Over-Month Declines-7-18-16-01

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across much of the region continue to drop, and average prices in both Virginia and New Jersey likely will fall below $2 per gallon this week. Washington, D.C. ($2.47), New York ($2.38) and Connecticut ($2.36) have the most expensive averages in the region, though average prices generally are more than 50 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago.

Gulf Coast and Southeast

Gas prices in many parts of the Southeast have recently dropped near or below $2 per gallon. In South Carolina for example, nearly 90 percent of gas stations are selling fuel for under $2 per gallon today. The bulk of America’s refining capacity is in the Southeastern United States, and abundant production should keep prices relatively low unless there is an unexpected event, such as a major hurricane.

Oil Market Dynamics

WTI oil prices have dipped below $45 per barrel over the past couple of weeks to the lowest levels since late April. Oil continues to drop due to the potential for steady production and abundant supplies. Many analysts have predicted that oil prices could drop even further later this year, which would likely lead to lower gas prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 27 cents to settle at $45.95 per barrel. Prices this morning had headed lower and were briefly below $45 per barrel.

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 AAA.com/mobile.

Michael Green Contact TileAn Estimated Eight Million Drivers Admit to More Extreme Behavior Says New AAA Foundation Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2016)- Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, according to a new study released today by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.

Additional Resources

“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year, according to the study’s estimates:

  • Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at another driver: 47 percent (95 million drivers)
  • Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45 percent (91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)
  • Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12 percent (24 million drivers)
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)

Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

  • Male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. For example, male drivers were more than three times as likely as female drivers to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.
  • Drivers living in the Northeast were significantly more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily than people living in other parts of the country. For example, drivers in the Northeast were nearly 30 percent more likely to have made an angry gesture than drivers in other parts of the country.
  • Drivers who reported other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and running red lights, also were more likely to show aggression. For example, drivers who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle on purpose.

“It’s completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Don’t risk escalating a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely.”

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

The research report is available on the AAA Foundation’s website and is part of the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to driver safety. The data was collected from a national survey of 2,705 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable research and educational 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 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.

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 at AAA.com. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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