Posts Tagged ‘Flood’

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Busy year-end holidays will be marked by more travelers than ever on record

ORLANDO, Fla., (December 16, 2014) – AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. (AAA data dates back to 2001.) The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.

Highlights from 2014/2015 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast:

  • Holiday travel is expected to total 98.6 million, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million who traveled last year.
  • Travel volume for the year-end holidays will reach the highest peak recorded by AAA (since 2001).
  • Nearly 91 percent of all travelers (89.5 million) will celebrate the holidays with a road trip, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2013.
  • Air travel is forecast to grow one percent from 2013, with 5.7 million travelers taking to the skies.
  • Low gas prices continue to help boost disposable income this holiday season, with today’s national average price of gas at $2.53 per gallon, 70 cents less than a year ago.

Additional Resources

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will join with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President and Chief Operating Officer. “While the economy continues to improve at an uneven pace, it seems more Americans are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence, rather than looking back at the recession. This is helping to drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have seen for the year-end holidays.”

“Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2009,” continued Doney. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”

The calendar is having a positive effect on the number of travelers expected this year. This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.

With more than 90 percent of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA urges everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in eight of all licensed drivers who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

The survey also reveals 91 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 42 percent reporting that drunk drivers are a bigger problem today versus three years ago.  “Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving, especially during the holiday season, an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes,” said Doney.

AAA works year-round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

Today’s national average price of gasoline is at the lowest level in five years and 70 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 82 days in a row, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel.

Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year.

Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers

Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.

AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season

Between December 23 and January 4, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at AAA.com.

AAA offers travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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 collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.

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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Year-End Travel Forecast can be found here.

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

 

Pump Prices Likely Below $2.50 by Christmas

December 15th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, December 15, 2014) Holiday cheer has come early for the motoring public, with the average for retail gasoline at its lowest level in more than five years. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.55 per gallon. The average price at the pump is more than a dime (-12 cents) less than one week ago and more than a quarter (-36 cents) less than a month ago. The national average is down 69 cents from this same date last year and has now dropped on 81 consecutive days for a total of 80 cents during this stretch. Motorists are paying $1.15 less than the peak 2014 price, which was $3.70 on April 8. AAA estimates drivers are saving more than $400 million dollars each day compared to the high prices paid earlier this year.

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The average price at the pump has fallen nearly 25 percent since the start of the year, and if the global price of crude continues to register new multiyear lows, these lower prices are likely to persist. Barring any unexpected spikes in global prices, or declines in domestic production, the price at the pump should remain relatively low approaching the New Year and into 2015.

Every state in the continental United States is posting an average price below the $3.00 per gallon benchmark. Hawaii ($3.70) and Alaska ($3.39), as is often the case, are the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline and of the lower 48 states drivers in the northeast are paying the most per gallon:  New York ($2.98), Connecticut ($2.90) and Washington, D.C. ($2.90). The nation’s least expensive markets are the Midwestern states of Missouri ($2.25) and Oklahoma ($2.29), closely followed by the Gulf Coast states of Texas ($2.33) and Mississippi ($2.33).

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The impact of falling global oil prices for consumers is abundantly clear in the retail gasoline market with prices lower nationwide on the week, month and year. The price at the pump is down by a nickel or more week-over-week in every state and Washington, D.C. Forty-one states are registering savings of a dime or more, and the most dramatic savings are in Idaho (-22 cents), Michigan (-20 cents), Ohio (-19 cents) and Indiana (-19 cents). Drivers in Michigan (-56 cents), Idaho (-54 cents) Indiana (-51 cents) and South Dakota (-50 cents) are saving the most on a month-over-month basis. The price in every state has dropped by twenty cents or more during this span.

Yearly comparisons continue to reflect even more extreme discounts at the pump, largely due to the price of crude setting new multi-year lows.  With the exception of Hawaii (-22 cents) and Alaska (-29 cents), the price at the pump is down in every state and Washington, D.C. by more than 35 cents versus this same date last year. Forty-two states are posting a discount of 50 cents or more per gallon year-over-year and drivers in 20 states are saving 70 cents or more. The largest savings are in Florida (-80 cents), Maine (-79 cents) and Kentucky (-79 cents).

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Concerns of sluggish global oil demand combined with abundant supply continue to leave global oil markets searching for a bottom. Just two months ago market watchers were divided on the likelihood that the prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) would fall below $80 per barrel. Last week, for the first time since 2009, the price of WTI dropped below $60. WTI is now approximately 40 percent cheaper than the start of the year and nearly 50 percent below the high in June ($107.26). The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continues to maintain production levels, and the cartel’s three biggest members are reportedly ramping up exports to Asia in an effort to sustain market share in that region. Reductions in global oil prices have ultimately meant a welcome savings at the pump for motorists; however sustained low prices could impact U.S. production, which is more expensive than its global counterparts. Market watchers are also beginning to consider the potential for geopolitical instability in countries that are heavily dependent on oil exports to balance their budgets, including Venezuela and Nigeria. WTI was down $2.14 to settle at $57.81 per barrel on Friday at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

(Washington, February 28, 2014)

Gas Prices in February Post Largest Increase since Summer Driving Season

  • Gas prices ended February with the largest increase since July with the national average rising about 17 cents per gallon (five percent) over the course of the month. Today’s national average price of gas is $3.45 per gallon.
  • “Strong winter storms and weak demand have helped to keep gas prices less expensive this winter, but many drivers recently have noticed that it is starting to cost more to full up,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “We are entering the worst time of year for visiting the gas station as prices rise primarily due to seasonal refinery maintenance.”
  • The national average has increased for 21 days in a row, which is the longest consecutive streak since last February. Gas prices typically rise this time of year because many refineries cut production to conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline supplies and cause market uncertainty. This maintenance generally takes place between strong demand periods for heating oil in the winter and gasoline in the summer.
  • Today’s national average is 33 cents per gallon less expensive than a year ago, which reflects the fact that prices peaked early in 2013 due to heavy refinery maintenance in January and February. Gas prices last year reached $3.79 per gallon on February 27, which was the earliest peak price on record. This year severe winter storms and a later refinery maintenance schedule likely will result in peak prices in March or April.
  • Gas prices averaged $3.34 per gallon in February, which was the cheapest monthly national average since 2011. By comparison, prices nationally averaged $3.65 in Feb. 2013, $3.55 in Feb. 2012 and $3.17 in Feb. 2011.
  • The price of domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil has increased about $5.00 per barrel this month. Crude oil represents about two-thirds of the cost of gasoline, and producers generally pass along increased oil costs to consumers in the form of higher gas prices.

Gas Prices Likely to Peak at $3.55-$3.75 per Gallon in March or April

  • AAA forecasts the national average price of gas will continue to rise before reaching a peak between $3.55-$3.75 per gallon in March or early April. Despite these potentially significant increases, AAA expects prices to remain less expensive than last year’s peak of $3.79 per gallon.
  • “Buying gas in the spring can be a frustrating challenge because prices seem to be higher every time you get in the car,” continued Ash. “Yet even as prices inevitably rise, there is a good chance that most people should pay less than recent years to buy gas.”
  • A relatively trouble-free refinery maintenance season and continued strong winter storms could result in prices remaining on the lower end of AAA’s prediction, while unexpected refinery problems, strong demand and higher oil costs could result in more expensive gas prices.
  • AAA expects gas prices this year to be less expensive than in 2013 due to the fact that many refineries have increased capacity to take advantage of the recent boom in North American crude oil production. The most recent data from the Energy Information Administration shows U.S. gasoline supplies at 230.6 million barrels, which is above the five-year average for this time of year.
  • Gas prices in March may also rise because of the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. While this process can take place at different times of year depending on local regulations, the majority of refineries and pipelines must switchover by April 1. Summer-blend gasoline is less likely to evaporate and cause warm-weather air pollution such as smog, but it can increase costs by 5-15 cents per gallon.
  • Gas prices on average decreased 15 cents per gallon in March 2013, but this was unusual and due to an early peak in prices. Gas prices in March have increased four out of the previous five years at an average of 11 cents per gallon.
  • In 2012 the national average increased 56 cents per gallon over a 70 day period before peaking at $3.94 per gallon on April 5. In 2011 national average increased 89 cents per gallon during a 94 day period before peaking at $3.98 per gallon on May 5.

Drivers in 49 States are Paying Less Expensive Gas Prices than a Year Ago

  • Drivers in every state but Wyoming are paying less than a year ago for gasoline. The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.08), California ($3.84), Alaska ($3.77), Connecticut ($3.75) and New York ($3.74). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.17), Montana ($3.18), Alabama ($3.21), Mississippi ($3.22) and Tennessee ($3.22).
  • The highest state average in the continental U.S. a year ago was California at $4.24 per gallon, while the cheapest was Wyoming at $3.29 per gallon.
  • Every state in the country is more expensive than a month ago due to recent refinery maintenance and increased crude oil costs. The largest increases include: Michigan (39 cents), Indiana (34 cents), Ohio (34 cents), Colorado (33 cents) and South Dakota (27 cents).
  • Less than one percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon today, which compares to more than one in four stations selling below that price in November.

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, February 24, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.42 per gallon. This price is six cents more expensive than one week ago and 13 cents more than one month ago; however national prices remain 36 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.  Despite an average that has moved higher for 17 straight days – the longest streak since May of last year – and the largest one-month increase registered since August, the national average still reflects a substantial year-over-year discount and today’s price is the lowest for this date since 2011.

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National pump prices have started to exhibit the seasonal increase motorists are familiar with to begin the calendar year.  While geopolitical tensions or domestic refinery issues exacerbated this run up each of the last three years, the absence of such catalysts has resulted in a less dramatic increase thus far in 2014.  Cold weather and limited demand across the country has helped to keep a lid on prices for motorists, even with crude oil prices near a multi-month high.  In 2011 pump prices surged 29 cents per gallon through the end of February.  In 2012 the national average spiked 45 cents higher through the first two months of the year.  In 2013 prices were up 49 cents during the same span.  With four days left in February, the national average has increased just nine cents to begin 2014.

The rising national average is mirrored at the state level, where pump prices are universally moving higher.  Only drivers in Washington, D.C. are paying less to fill their cars than a week, two-weeks or month ago.  In a number of interior states, the increase has been dramatic.

Motorists in 14 states have seen prices jump by at least 15 cents per gallon over the past 14 days. Coloradans are experiencing the most severe sticker shock as prices today are more than a quarter higher than two weeks ago, due to many of the same factors at the regional level that have pressured prices higher across the country: refinery maintenance and the approaching switch to summer-blend fuel.  On January 1 pump prices in Colorado were 14 cents per gallon below the national average and today they are five cents higher.  However, even given this recent surge, prices in Colorado still average 12 cents less than a year ago.  The state’s average has historically trended slightly below the national price at the pump, although in recent years motorists have seen this gap widen early in the year before returning in line with the national average. In 2012 Colorado prices averaged 38 cents less than the national price during the first quarter (Q1) before recording a nine-cent premium in Q2.  In 2013 the state average was 26 cents lower in Q1 than the national average, compared to eight cents higher in Q2.

The only state where prices today are higher than this date last year is Wyoming (two cents higher) and drivers in 16 states are paying at least 40 cents less per gallon.

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From October 21 through February 7 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices spent just one day above $100 per barrel and traded as low as $91.80 on January 13.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled up 62 cents at $102.82 per barrel, which begins the third consecutive week above the $100 threshold.  As noted above, cold weather and limited demand have kept a lid on gasoline prices; however as the weather warms and refineries begin the switchover to produce more expensive summer-blend gasoline, pump prices are likely to continue higher, especially if crude oil prices remain elevated.

Michael Green( Washington, February 18, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.37 per gallon. While this price is six cents more expensive than one week ago and eight cents more than one month ago, national prices still average 36 cents less than the same date last year.  Despite prices that have ticked higher on 11 straight days – the longest such streak since December 20 through January 3 – the year-over-year discount is the largest since October 18.

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While the average price of gasoline has jumped nearly a dime during this recent run, it is just four cents above where it started the year.  This is a departure from the last several years when surging prices to begin the year have frustrated motorists.  In 2011 escalating violence in Egypt and then Libya spurred pump prices 29 cents higher by the end of February.  In 2012 growing tensions with Iran propelled the national average 45 cents higher through the first two months of the year.  In 2013 domestic production issues led to a 49-cent spike during the same span.

Pump prices have historically trended higher in springtime due to seasonal factors including rising demand, refinery maintenance and the change-over to more expensive summer-blend gasoline.  This seasonal increase was amplified in both 2011 and 2012 by the aforementioned international unrest and subsequent global oil production concerns that sent crude oil prices higher.  In 2013 the spring increase was even more pronounced but, instead of international catalysts, was attributed to domestic issues at regional refineries, which raised domestic gasoline production worries and sent retail prices sharply higher.

AAA expects national gas prices to continue to rise this spring, however, with more than half of February already in the books and barring a similar unexpected market moving event (or series of events), it is likely that sticker-shock in 2014 will be less severe for motorists than in recent years.

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The rising national average is a product of prices that are universally higher at the state level.  Only drivers in Washington, D.C. are currently paying less to fill their cars than two weeks ago.  Motorists in 15 states have seen prices jump by at least 10 cents over the past 14 days, and, as has often been the case over the last several years, a handful of interior states – particularly in the Midwest – headline the list of the most dramatic price changes.  While drivers in center of the country have seen the most increases, those in Hawaii, Alaska, California and a number of Northeast states continue to ultimately face the highest pump prices.

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Crude oil prices had been relatively stable to begin the year; however West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled above $100 per barrel for the first time since October last Monday.  This trend continued today as WTI settled up $2.13 at $102.43 per barrel, which is the highest close since October 10.  The AAA national average price for regular unleaded gasoline on October 10 was $3.81 per gallon.  In October both oil and gasoline prices were in the process of moving lower on weak demand and comfortable regional gasoline supplies.

Michael Green Contact Tile(February 10, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.29 per gallon. This is two cents more expensive than one week ago but two cents less than one month ago and 29 cents less than the same date last year.  Yesterday, for the first time in more than a month, the national average reflected a week-over-week increase. While pump prices have ticked higher each of the last three days, the year-over-year discount is just shy of the 30-cent margin registered on Saturday, which was the largest gap since October 24.

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In a departure from recent years, national gas prices have been largely flat to begin 2014.  This can be attributed in part to cold temperatures keeping drivers off of roads but also to the absence of the looming production concerns overseas or regional refinery issues that have propelled retail gasoline prices higher out of the gate the last several years.  In 2011 escalating violence in Egypt and then Libya spurred pump prices higher, in 2012 the catalyst was growing tensions with Iran.  In both of these instances global production concerns linked to geopolitical issues sent crude oil prices and ultimately gas prices higher.  In 2013 the early-year gas price increase was not a product of surging crude prices globally but of production issues domestically. Regional refinery issues leading up to the seasonal switchover to summer-blend gasoline production raised domestic supply concerns and sent retail prices sharply higher.

In each of the these recent years the seasonal increase in gas prices, triggered by increasing demand, seasonal maintenance and the approaching switchover to summer-blend gasoline, was exacerbated by unexpected supply concerns or production issues. AAA does expect gas prices to rise this spring due to seasonal factors, however without the impact of geopolitical issues overseas or significant regional refinery issues here at home, AAA expects the national average to rise to $3.55-3.75 before heading lower into the summer.  There is always the potential that this increase could be more dramatic if unexpected issues rear their heads; however the peak price during the first half of 2014 is likely to be lower than 2011 ($3.98), 2012 ($3.94) and 2103 ($3.79).

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Prices at the state level, like the national average, have been relatively flat to begin the year, and many states are reflecting lofty year-over-year discounts for motorists. Drivers in 18 states are paying at least 30 cents less per gallon at the pump than the same date last year and Californians are paying an average of 41 cents less.  Only prices in Wyoming register a yearly increase (seven cents).  While the yearly savings is welcome, prices have recently turned higher in some states as wholesale gasoline prices have rallied.  Prices in three states (Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) have seen pump prices jump more than a dime over the past two weeks, perhaps signaling a start to the anticipated seasonal increase.

Crude oil prices had been relatively stable to begin the year; however prices moved higher to end last week, settling on Friday just short of the $100 per barrel threshold.  This trend continued today and, despite increasing just 18 cents on the day, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $100.06 per barrel.  This marks the first time since October 18 that WTI has settled above the $100 threshold.

Michael GreenNational Average Price of Gas Could Peak at $3.55-$3.75 per Gallon

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 6, 2014) – Many drivers may pay rising gas prices this spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, but the peak may be less expensive than last year. The national average price of gas could reach an estimated $3.55-$3.75 per gallon, according to AAA.

“Winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies have kept gas prices relatively low recently, but this trend may not last much longer,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Driving to the gas station could be a lot more frustrating as prices increase this spring.”

Prices generally rise in the spring because many refineries cut production to conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline supplies and cause market uncertainty. This maintenance generally takes place between strong demand periods for heating oil in the winter and gasoline in the summer, and before the regulated switchover to summer-blend gasoline. This switchover process itself can further limit supplies and increase pump prices.  Last year the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over 41 days before peaking at $3.79 per gallon on Feb. 27. Gas prices similarly increased 56 cents per gallon in spring 2012 and 86 cents per gallon in 2011.

“There is a good chance that average gasoline prices this year will cost less than in 2013, but it is not going to be cheap,” continued Darbelnet. “The expected springtime rise in gas prices likely will be temporary, but that will not make it any easier to pay $60 or more to fill up your car.”

After a springtime peak, gas prices generally fall as the refinery maintenance period ends and production returns to normal rates, though there could be temporary price increases because of unexpected problems. By late June the national average could drop to $3.30-$3.40 per gallon, which likely would be the lowest price until late autumn. Last year the national average reached a summer low of $3.47 per gallon on July 7. Gas prices declined 61 cents from springtime peaks in summer 2012 and 44 cents in 2011.

Strong demand and the risk of hurricanes can lead to higher gas prices during the second half of the summer.  “Few other products can rise in price so suddenly,” continued Darbelnet. “Just imagine if a cup of coffee or a hamburger changed its price daily like gasoline. The average American driver is forced to demonstrate a good deal of tolerance whenever they buy gas.”

By October, gas prices should start a long decline towards the end of the year due to weakening demand and the switchover to less expensive winter-blend gasoline. The national average last year reached a low of $3.18 per gallon on Nov. 12 and similarly averaged $3.22 per gallon in December 2012 and $3.21 per gallon in 2011.

Prices along the Gulf Coast and in the central part of the country likely will be the least expensive due to lower taxes and access to abundant supplies of cheaper North American crude oil. Gas prices in some parts of the region may drop below $3.00 per gallon before the year is over.

The West Coast and the Northeast likely will have the most expensive gas prices due to higher taxes and because local refineries must rely on more costly, imported crude oil and gasoline due to infrastructure and pipeline limitations.

“Unexpected developments and events overseas could change AAA’s price outlook considerably, but there is little doubt that gas will cost more than most of us would like in 2014,” continued Darbelnet. “The best advice for dealing with another tough year is to follow simple gas savings tips such as shopping around, maintaining your car and driving the speed limit.”

Gas prices averaged $3.49 per gallon in 2013 and could average at least five cents per gallon less in 2014. Many refineries have increased capacity to take advantage of the recent boom in North American crude oil production, which can limit peak prices and volatility. Gas prices in 2012 were the most expensive on record at $3.60 per gallon, followed by 2011 with an annual average of $3.51 per gallon.

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

Michael Green(February 3, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.28 per gallon. This is fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, four cents less than one month ago and 24 cents less than the same date last year.  The national average has now posted 28 consecutive weekly declines and today’s year-over-year discount is the largest since November 15.  After rising to a recent high of $3.33 on January 3 the national average has now declined for 24 of 31 days.

Recent history has seen pump prices charge higher to start the year, however cold temperatures across much of the country have led to weak demand and kept prices flat to begin 2014.  The national average drifted four cents lower last month, compared to a 17-cent increase in January 2012 and 13-cent increase in 2013.  This marked the first time prices had declined during the month since 2008.

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Despite the quiet start to the year, AAA expects the national average to move higher in the coming weeks and months due to the same seasonal factors that have historically led to rising prices during the first quarter of the year.  This includes increased demand; scheduled refinery maintenance, which often begins in February between strong demand periods for winter heating oil and summer gasoline; and the mandated switchover to summer-blend gasoline production in advance of the May 1 deadline. These final two processes can lead to unexpected issues, which can result in even sharper temporary price increases for areas supplied by affected facilities.

In 2013 the national average jumped 49 cents from January 1 and peaked at $3.79 on February 27. In 2012 pump prices surged 66 cents from the same date to a peak of $3.94 on April 5. In 2011 prices soared 91 cents to a peak of $3.98 on May 5.

Prices at the state level have generally followed the national average slightly lower to begin the year.  Prices in nine states, led by Hawaii +6 cents, currently reflect month-over-month increases; however motorists in 41 states and Washington, D.C. are seeing lower prices, including six states where prices have dropped by at least a dime: Delaware -16 cents, Maryland -13 cents, New Jersey -12 cents, Vermont  -11 cents, Massachusetts -10 cents and New Hampshire -10 cents.  As temperatures rise and refinery maintenance gets underway, it is likely motorists in these states, like most across the country, will pay more to fill their cars.

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Crude oil prices, like retail gasoline prices, have been relatively flat to begin the year.  This trend continued today as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled $1.06 lower at $96.43 per barrel at the close formal trading on the NYMEX.  After climbing to a new 2013 high of $98.23 last Thursday, WTI prices have fallen back to within $1 of where they began the year.

Michael Green Contact Tile

(January 31, 2014)

 

 

 

 

Frigid Weather Reduces Driving as Gas Prices Remain Flat

  • The national average price of gas ended the month of January about four cents cheaper than it began as many people curtailed driving due to extreme cold weather and icy road conditions. Today’s national average is $3.28 per gallon.
  • “The polar vortex and harsh winter weather have kept people off the roads and lowered gasoline consumption in many parts of the country,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. “Decreased gasoline demand has helped prices remain relatively flat nationwide the previous few weeks.”
  • The national average dropped 22 out of 31 days in January, yet the majority of these declines were extremely small. Gas prices began the month at $3.32 per gallon after holiday travel helped pushed prices up during the second half of December.
  • The average price of gas in January was $3.30 per gallon, which was about two cents less than a year ago and the least expensive for the month since 2011.
  • The weakest gasoline demand for the year typically is in January because many people choose to drive less when the days are short and the weather is cold. “Snow days” can further limit driving as people stay home rather than taking their car to work.
  • The four-week national average for gasoline demand is at the lowest level in nearly two years, according to the Energy Information Administration. Decreased demand can help improve gasoline supplies nationwide, which can lower prices even in warmer parts of the country.
  • More than a dozen refineries experienced problems due to extreme cold in January. Significant refinery problems typically lead to much higher gas prices, but this did not happen because reduced driving more than made up for the fall in gasoline production.

 

Gas Prices Typically Rise in February as Refineries Conduct Maintenance

  • Gas prices typically increase in February as refineries reduce production to conduct seasonal maintenance. Last year the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over 41 days before peaking at $3.79 per gallon on Feb. 27.
  • A possible seasonal increase in gas prices may be delayed this year due to continued harsh weather and weak demand, but this trend may end as the forecast calls for warmer national temperatures.
  • Refinery maintenance often begins in February between strong demand periods for winter heating oil and summer gasoline. Refineries use this period to update equipment and improve operations before the onset of the summer driving season. This maintenance limits gasoline production, which can reduce supplies and cause market uncertainty. Prices can vary dramatically by region depending on local refinery concerns.
  • In 2012 the national average increased 56 cents per gallon over a 70 day period before peaking at $3.94 per gallon on April 5. In 2011 national average increased 89 cents per gallon during a 94 day period before peaking at $3.98 per gallon on May 5.

Drivers Paying Relatively Low Gas Prices in Many Parts of the Country

  • There is no state with an average below $3.00 per gallon today, but drivers in seven states are paying an average within a dime of $3.00. The only state above $4.00 per gallon is Hawaii.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.02), Connecticut ($3.64), Alaska ($3.64), New York ($3.63) and California ($3.59). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Montana ($3.02), Missouri ($3.03), Arkansas ($3.07), South Carolina ($3.08) and Texas ($3.09).

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(January 27, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.28 per gallon. This is fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, two cents less than one month ago and six cents less than the same date last year.  Today’s price marks the first time in 2014 that the national average has posted a monthly discount and the first day since December 1 that it has reflected a daily, weekly and monthly discount.  After rising to $3.33 on January 3 – a two-month high – the national average has now declined for 19 of 24 days.

top ten most expensive average gas prices

The national average has trended slightly lower in January; however pump prices at the state level have been a mixed bag.  Motorists in four states are paying more than a dime less per gallon than one month ago (Michigan -11 cents, Delaware -12 cents, Indiana -13 cents, and Ohio -14 cents) and lead the 29 states and Washington, D.C. where prices have fallen during this span.  This contrasts to the 21 states where prices per gallon have increased, led by Minnesota +7 cents, Arizona +8 cents and Hawaii +9 cents.

The disparity in changing state average prices is also on display when looking just at the last two weeks.  Motorists in 36 states and Washington, D.C. are paying less to fill their cars, including those in Indiana (-11 cents) and Ohio (-12 cents). Meanwhile, drivers in 14 states face prices that have increased during the same stretch, highlighted by two Central states: Minnesota (+3 cents) and Nebraska (+5 cents).

Top10-2-Week-Declines-1-27

Crude oil prices have been relatively flat to begin in the year – West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled today just 28 cents per barrel above where it began 2014 – and as a result gasoline prices have been largely left to take direction from regional and local factors.  This has resulted in prices, particularly in the center of the country, that have been influenced by extremely cold weather.  Frigid temperatures can cause refinery issues that pressure prices higher but can also decrease demand for gasoline, as motorists limit driving, which puts downward pressure on prices.

While retail prices have fallen slightly to begin the year, there is a good chance that prices will rise in February.  This increase is likely to be the result of refineries beginning to reduce production to conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline supplies and cause market uncertainty.

At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled 92 cents lower at $95.72 per barrel.

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