Posts Tagged ‘Fuel Gauge Report’

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014) The national average price of gas has fallen for 24 consecutive days due to abundant refinery production, even as geopolitical tensions gain global attention. Russia and Ukraine returned to the forefront this past week when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.  Additionally, intensifying violence between Israeli and Hamas forces in Gaza has drawn headlines and concerns that the conflict could have a broader regional impact.   Despite these issues, oil markets remain relatively unaffected because there has not been an impact to supply or distribution.  Meanwhile, domestic refinery utilization reached its highest level of the year last week, which has helped to push gas prices lower.

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.57 per gallon, which is the lowest price since April 4. Today’s price is four cents less than one week ago, 11 cents less than one month ago, and the national average has now declined for 24 straight days. In comparison to this same date last year, drivers are saving nearly a dime per gallon at the pump. Today marks the seventh consecutive day with gas prices cheaper than a year ago. This streak comes after prices remained higher than last year for 52 straight days.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

Pacific states continue to lead the market with the highest prices per gallon, led by Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.14) and California ($4.04). Despite the high cost in many states, drivers across the country have seen gas prices finally move lower over the past several weeks. Prices have fallen over the past fourteen days in 47 states and Washington D.C., led by ten states – mainly in the Midwest – where prices are at least ten cents lower. None of the states where motorists are paying a two-week premium have seen an increase of more than two cents: Wyoming and Hawaii (up fractions of a cent) and Idaho (+2 cents).

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Year-over-year and month-over-month comparisons also show overall savings in the retail prices paid by many motorists. Compared to the same date last year, consumers in 40 states and Washington D.C. are paying less at the pump. In 25 states, drivers are saving a dime or more per gallon, with the biggest savings once again occurring in Midwestern states, led by six states where prices have tumbled 20 cents or more: Illinois (-32 cents), Kansas (-24 cents), Minnesota (-24 cents), Indiana (-23 cents), Missouri (-21 cents) and Michigan (-21 cents). Month-over-month comparisons show that drivers in 42 states and Washington D.C. are experiencing some relief at the pump.  Prices in eight states have increased during this span, led by Idaho (+8 cents), Utah (+6 cents) and Wyoming (+5 cents).

Top10 Weekly Decreases-7-14

Prior to the crash of flight MH17, the Obama Administration announced a new round of sanctions against Russia’s energy and financial sectors. Members of NATO and the European Union are also debating stronger sanctions against Russia, which could potentially impact global markets. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have increased over the last several trading sessions after falling to a multi-month low below $100 last Tuesday. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled $1.46 higher at $104.59 per barrel.

Yolanda CadeAAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 16, 2014) – “AAA is encouraged by the recent Wall Street Journal report that the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a requirement that carmakers use on-the-road data to support their advertised mileage claims. While some automakers already do this, AAA believes all companies should use this sort of real-world test to validate the mileage numbers they calculate from laboratory tests and computer simulated estimates. For most Americans, a new vehicle is the second largest investment they will make and it’s imperative they have accurate information to inform their purchase. While reports show that many consumers actually experience better fuel economy than promised, it is important for the ratings to be as accurate as possible and not overstate real-world performance.  The EPA testing process was significantly improved in 2008 to better reflect real-world conditions, and AAA looks forward to again working with the Agency to identify opportunities and provide data to further improve the information for consumers.”

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(WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014) Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.61 per gallon. This price is four cents less than one week ago and five cents less than one month ago. Drivers continue to pay higher prices in comparison to a year ago ($3.60), but the difference has narrowed to just a penny compared to 19 cents to begin July. Today is the 17th consecutive day the national average has decreased.

As predicted by AAA, the retail price at the pump continued to tick lower following the Independence Day holiday due primarily to lower crude oil costs as the situation stabilizes in Iraq, The national average may continue to slide or remain flat, barring any geopolitical concerns, major hurricane or refinery disruptions.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

Hawaii leads the market with the most expensive price per gallon at $4.34, followed by Alaska ($4.19) and California ($4.10). While prices in many states remain elevated, the price at the pump in 45 states and Washington D.C. has fallen over the past week with the biggest savings occurring in the Midwest: Indiana (-13 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents) and Illinois (-8 cents). This downward trend is also reflected over the past two weeks with drivers in 42 states and Washington D.C. experiencing savings at the pump, including six states where consumers are saving a dime or more per gallon: Michigan (-22 cents), Ohio (-16 cents), Kentucky (-16 cents), Indiana (-14 cents), Illinois (-13 cents) and  Missouri (-10 cents).

10 Most Expensive Avg Gas Prices-7-14

The month-over-month comparison is more evenly split – the price per gallon has decreased in 27 states and increased in 23 states and Washington DC.  The largest price drops have been in the Midwestern states of Ohio (-41 cents), Indiana (-36) and Michigan (-28 cents) and Illinois (-23 cents), while drivers in four states are paying a dime or more per gallon: Idaho (+14 cents), Utah (+13 cents), Alaska (+12 cents) and Colorado (+12 cents). Year-over-year averages have increased in 36 states and Washington D.C. led by: Nevada (+18 cents), Pennsylvania (+18 cents) and Alaska (+15 cents).

Top10 Weekly Decreases-7-14

Although the situation in Iraq remains unresolved, the possibility of disruptions to supply is increasingly viewed as unlikely. Oil production has returned in Libya, following the labor disputes and violence that resulted in the closing of national oil fields and ports. Market watchers will continue to monitor the instability in Iraq and Libya, with a watchful eye to Ukraine, Venezuela and Nigeria, but after rising to a multi-month high ($107.26 per barrel on June 20), the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has now fallen over three straight weeks.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled eight cents higher at $100.91.  Should WTI prices fall below $100 in the coming days it would be the first time since May 9 that prices have dipped below this threshold.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014) The national average price of gas has fallen for ten straight days, but remains the highest price for this calendar date since 2008.  Yesterday, for the first time since June 11, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reflected a month-over-month discount.  Today’s average is $3.65 per gallon. This price is two cents less than one week ago and fractions of a penny less than one month ago, but it remains 18 cents more than this date in 2013.

National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011-2014 July 7 2014

With Independence Day in the books, this year’s holiday registered the highest price since 2008 at $3.66.  This surpassed the price per gallon for the holiday from each of the previous five years: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62), but was still well below the all-time-high for the date of $4.10 in 2008.

The pump price in four states continues register above $4.00 per gallon: Hawaii ($4.33), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.14) and Washington State ($4.01). While prices in all but three states (Idaho, Wyoming and Utah) are higher than the same date last year, prices in 38 states have dropped over the past week, led by a handful of Midwestern states: Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-7 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Illinois   (-5 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents).  Prices over the past two weeks have been more evenly split.  Prices in 23 states and Washington, DC have increased – led by Alaska (+7 cents), Utah (+6 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents) – while prices in 27 states have fallen – led by Ohio (-17 cents), Indiana (-12 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents). With high wholesale gasoline prices beginning to subside in many parts of the country, AAA expects pump prices for many US motorists to continue to tick lower over the coming week.

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Violence in Iraq continues to impact global oil prices, but as production in the south of the country remains unaffected, the fear of a disruption to supply has abated. Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation, but the risk premium that had pushed oil prices to 2014 highs has subsided in recent trading sessions. These elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, but as oil prices have eased retail gas prices have finally started to follow suit.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 53 cents lower at $103.53.

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

AAA Monthly Gas Price Report
(WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014)

Drivers Stuck Paying Highest Gas Prices in Six Years for Independence Day

  • U.S. drivers will pay the most expensive Independence Day gas prices since 2008, primarily because Iraqi violence has increased global petroleum costs. AAA predicts that 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more by car during the holiday weekend despite high gas prices.
  • “Most drivers are paying about 15-20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home.”
  • With Independence Day only a few days away, today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon. This average is considerably more expensive than recent years for the holiday. The national average on July 4 in previous years was: $3.48 (2013); $3.34 (2012); $3.57 (2011); $2.74 (2010); $2.62 (2009); and $4.10 (2008).
  • AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA’s full Independence Day forecast can be found here.
  • The monthly average price of gas in June was $3.67 per gallon, which was the most expensive for June since 2011, and it was the highest average for any month since March 2013. Last year gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in June.
  • Gas prices often decline in June as refineries complete maintenance and increase gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season. During the previous three years, the national average price of gas declined in June by an average of 21 cents per gallon. A month ago, AAA predicted the national average could decline 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but this did not happen due to the unexpected events in Iraq.
  • On June 10, insurgents known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city. Following this attack, there were concerns in the market that the rebels would take Baghdad or disrupt the southern oil producing regions of the country. These concerns helped drive up global oil prices, which made it more expensive to produce gasoline. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, and any decline in exports could impact global oil supplies.

Gas Prices to Remain Expensive During Summer Driving Season

  • Gas prices this July likely will remain expensive due to high crude oil costs and rising summertime demand. AAA expects the national average price of gas in July will range from $3.60-$3.70 per gallon, though prices could climb higher if there are new developments in Iraq or a major hurricane. Last year gas prices averaged $3.58 per gallon nationally in July.
  • “It is shaping up to be a hot and expensive summer for gas prices, and we have not even hit the busiest time of the year yet,” continued Ash. “It is clear that most drivers will pay high prices as they fill up for their summer road trips.”
  • AAA expects the national average price of gas likely will remain relatively flat in the near future and could even decline a few cents as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. Price increases from recent ISIL attacks in Iraq already are reflected in current prices, and it would take major new developments, such as ISIL moving into southern oil producing regions, for prices to rise significantly higher in the days ahead.
  • Gas prices have increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July during the previous three years as strong summer demand pushed up prices. July is typically the second busiest month of the year on the roads behind August. Last year Americans drove a total of 263.2 billion miles in July.
  • From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013, gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon. Gas prices have averaged $3.67 per gallon so far this summer.

National Average Price of Gas Has Remained Flat This Week

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago. Gas prices nationally have stopped increasing and have remained relatively flat in recent days as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is unlikely to send gas prices significantly higher unless there are major developments in Baghdad or in the southern oil producing regions.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.13), Washington ($4.00) and Oregon ($3.98). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.39), Alabama ($3.42), Mississippi ($3.45), Tennessee ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.48).
  • Despite high gas prices in most parts of the country, drivers in four states are paying less than a year ago. These four states include Utah (-8 cents), Idaho (-6 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Colorado (-0.1 cents). The states with the largest price increases compared to a year ago include Michigan (42 cents), Kentucky (37 cents) and Ohio (32 cents).
  • The most expensive metro area in the continental United States is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.24 per gallon. The least expensive metro area in the United States is Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C. at $3.33 per gallon.

Michael Green( WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014) The national average price of gas has stopped increasing as we approach the Independence Day holiday, though prices remains at a six-year high for this time of year. Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon. The price has remained relatively stable over the past seven days, and the current price is just a penny more than one month ago.

Consumers have seen little fluctuation in the national average for the month of June; however the current price at the pump is 19 cents more than at this time last year ($3.49). In comparison to previous Independence Day holidays, motorists will face prices that are the highest since 2008, with today’s average ($3.68) surpassing the holiday’s price per gallon from: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62).

The situation in Iraq continues to put pressure on global oil prices, as markets weigh the potential for supply disruptions from OPEC’s second largest producer. These elevated oil prices have ultimately meant stubbornly high retail gasoline prices for motorists.

Avg Gas Prices 2011-2014

This past Friday (June 27), the price at the pump reached the $4.00 mark in the state of Washington ($4.00 today) for the first time since 2013 (May 24). The Evergreen State joins Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.21) and California ($4.13) with prices at or above $4.00 per gallon. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the last week in 43 states and Washington, D.C.,  and consumers in just four states have seen prices either rise or fall more than a nickel over this same period: Alaska (+7 cents), Illinois (- 6 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents). Prices over the last 30 days have been more universally volatile with consumers in 31 states and Washington, D.C. posting averages that have moved either up or down over a nickel, led by Alaska (+21 cents), Ohio (-23 cents) and Indiana (-25 cents).

10 Most Expensive Avg Gas Prices-6-30

Regardless of geographic location, motorists in nearly every state are paying more at the pump than one year ago. Motorists in 40 states and Washington, D.C., are experiencing a bit of sticker shock, with prices up a dime or more compared to this time last year. This largest increases are in Michigan (+42 cents), Kentucky (+37 cents) and Ohio (+30 cents). However, four states are outside of this trend and have posted year-over-year declines: Colorado (-0.1 cent), Montana (-1 cent), Idaho (-6 cents) and Utah (-8 cents).

Top10 Monthly Increases-6-30

Energy market analysts continue to monitor the situation in Iraq and the movements of the group ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).  After capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, it was rumored that ISIL would enter Baghdad or the country’s southern oil producing. These concerns caused global prices to rise, but, many analysts now see this action as unlikely in the near term barring a major offensive move by ISIL.

The conversation regarding domestic production was revived this week when two Texas energy companies received permission to export ultra-light oil to foreign buyers. The decision relates to a decades long ban on crude exports, enacted in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the historic gasoline shortages of the 1970s.  The move falls short of relaxing the ban on oil exports, which oil producers have called for, and will remain a topic of discussion in the coming months.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 37 cents lower at $105.37.

Washington, D.C., (March 23, 2012) – With prices climbing more than 60 cents a gallon since January 1, President Barack Obama discussed energy and rising gas prices—a top-of-mind issue for motorists across the country including AAA’s more than 53 million members—in a meeting with AAA yesterday.

Following his speech on energy issues in Cushing, Oklahoma, the President spoke to a representative of the nation’s largest auto club that serves one-in-four American households.

As an advocate of motorists nationwide, AAA asked the President questions likely to be foremost in the minds of drivers feeling the pain at the pump.

Additional Resources

When asked by AAA to comment on the frustration and confusion that U.S motorists are experiencing with rising gas prices, the President said, “I understand what folks are going through because it wasn’t that long ago that I was having to fill up my gas tank and drive to work, shuttle the kids back and forth to school or events. It takes a big bite out of folks’ paychecks.”  The President went on to say that the U.S. has experienced cyclical gas prices for decades and stressed the importance of America having more control over its own energy security.

AAA also inquired about the role of the President in addressing prices at the pump given the global forces and political tensions abroad that drive the oil and energy markets.  The President elaborated on points from his earlier speech, saying, “The most important thing I can do as the President is not to simply focus on tomorrow.  It’s focusing on getting America properly aimed toward our goal of continuing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”  The President also highlighted the importance of maintaining growth and productivity while further reducing U.S. oil consumption.  Mr. Obama noted that pressure on oil prices in the coming two decades will be difficult to reverse.

Even as a 110-year old organization whose origins date to the earliest days of the motor vehicle, AAA continues to explore new vehicle technologies to offer enhanced and improved services to members. Responding to member interest, AAA began testing a roadside service vehicle capable of providing charging assistance to electric vehicles.

As to public acceptance of new technologies, the President said, “People need to feel confident that when they get into an electric car they’re not going to get stuck. To the extent that we start having both more efficient batteries and distribution capacity, people can feel confident that they’re never going to get stuck, or at least not any more stuck than they do when they forget to fill up and then call AAA.”

The President also shared insight about the role of alternative-fuel vehicles as a possible solution to current high fuel costs.  Mr. Obama noted that fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks have doubled, which will result in fewer trips to the gas station and a savings for the average family of about $8,000 over the life of the car. As to the future, Mr. Obama is optimistic. “If we unleash American creativity, if we properly incentivize people to think about fuel economy as part of overall design, Americans can make great cars.”

While Mr. Obama is no longer able to do his own driving, AAA couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask President Obama about his first car.  Noting he had been a AAA member for years , he said, “I have to confess, my first car was my grandfather’s car, which was a Ford Granada. It rattled and it shook, and I don’t think the girls were particularly impressed when I came to pick them up in a Ford Granada.  But you know what?  It moved, and so I have fond memories of the fact that it got me to where I needed to go.”

AAA is a non-partisan organization providing unbiased reporting of gas prices through its popular weekly Fuel Gauge Report, and supports the national dialogue on gas prices by offering objective and accurate perspective to the media and motorists year-round.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

Full Transcript:

AAA EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (Cushing, Oklahoma – March 22, 2012) 

President Obama sat for an exclusive interview with Yolanda Cade, AAA’s managing director of public relations, in Cushing, Oklahoma to speak directly to AAA’s 53 million members on the topic of high gasoline prices. 

 AAA: As you know, AAA proudly serves 53 million members, many of them, like most Americans are confused and they’re frustrated about the rising gas prices. So what would you say to drivers that are feeling that pain in the pocketbook when they’re filling up at the pump?

President Obama: Well, first of all, I understand what folks are going through, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was having to fill up my gas tank and drive to work, shuttle the kids back and forth to school and their events, and it takes a big bite out of folks’ paychecks. The challenge is that we’ve been going through this kind of cycle of ups and downs in gas prices for decades now.  We don’t have the control over our own energy security the way we need to. And so what we talked about today was an all of the above strategy that involves higher oil production here in the United States but also involves making our cars more fuel efficient, expanding biofuels, using all the resources we can to try to lessen our demand for foreign oil, which makes us less vulnerable to price spikes over the long term.

Right now the key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world’s oil markets and uncertainty about what’s going on in Iran and the Middle East, and that’s adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices, and that affects obviously gas prices. What’s also driving it, and this is something that’s not going to reverse, is increasing demand in countries like China and India.  In 2010, for example China added 10 million cars just in that one year. So as more and more people around the world see their standards of living rising, they purchase cars, they have demand for oil, that creates a greater demand worldwide and that raises the price.  That’s why we’ve got to make sure that we don’t just focus on production.  We’ve also got to focus on fuel efficiency; we’ve also got to focus on alternatives.  If we don’t, we’re going to continue to be subject to these kinds of price spikes anytime something happens around the world.

AAA: And just to pick up on that thread, talking about global forces – and you alluded to that today – given the global forces that are driving the oil and energy markets, what is the role of the President, if any, in addressing the price of gasoline that Americans are paying at the pump? 

President Obama: Well, there are a couple of things that we can do right now.  There are some bottlenecks in distribution that we’re trying to impact, and building this pipeline from Cushing down to the Gulf is an example of where you get more oil to refineries faster that can hopefully be distributed more efficiently across the country.  We are looking at making sure that we’re enforcing laws preventing illegal speculation in the oil markets.  That can have some modest impact potentially, if something is going on there that shouldn’t be going on.  But the most important thing I can do as a President is not to simply focus on tomorrow; it’s focusing on getting America properly aiming towards our goal of continuing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And we’ve had success over the last three years, we’ve actually seen every year our oil imports decline even as we climbed out of a recession so the economy was growing.  We’ve now doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and by the middle of the next decade we can expect the average car to be getting 55 miles per gallon.  And that’s going to mean you only take one trip to the gas station instead of two, and could end up saving the average family about $8,000 during the life of their car.  That would obviously be a big help.  So, those are the kinds of strategies that I have the most control over, not the day-to-day spikes in the oil market.

AAA: And you talked about the economy, and if I can follow up on that there are signs that the American economy is improving.  Do you have any concerns that the rising gas prices may at some point stifle the recovery?

President Obama: Well we saw that happen last year, where consumer confidence was building and then suddenly pulled back sharply.  People are very sensitive to oil prices.  The one thing that I think is important for us to remind voters, and I know this is a small consolation, but the payroll tax cut that we passed at the beginning of this year and then we’ve now extended to the end of the year, saves the average family about $1,000 a year. And that is helping to buffer some of these rising gas costs.  So some of this we anticipated, and we said to ourselves: that’s part of the reason why we’ve got to make sure we continue to extend this tax cut at least through the end of this year so that we don’t see as much of an impact on what people actually have in their pockets as there would have been if they were socked with both a tax increase and rising gas prices at the same time.

AAA: Mr. President, you’ve advocated increased fuel economy and you talked about the fact that it is really an integral part of the solution to our overall energy needs.  And then today we heard you talk about the importance of infrastructure and continued innovation.  But speaking of balance: how do you effectively balance fuel efficiency and ensure there is appropriate infrastructure and at the same time preserve consumer vehicle choice?

President Obama: Well look, one of the great things we’ve been doing with the auto industry over the last couple of years is not only are we producing more fuel efficient cars, but they’re better cars, more attractive cars, and safer cars.  What we’ve been arguing consistently is that if we unleash American creativity, design, we properly incentivize people to think about fuel economy as part of overall design, Americans can make great cars.  And if you look at the cars that are being built in Detroit right now, they’re getting more gas mileage, they’re safer than they were – they’re not compromising on styling – and part of that is everything from figuring out the aerodynamics, to tire drag, to air conditioning systems that are more efficient.  All those things, all those technological advances, are making a difference and we are continuing to spur advanced technology improvements in our auto vehicles.  That includes conventional cars, but it also includes electric and hybrid cars.

So, I’ll give you a small example.  We’ve recently provided a $4 million grant to a company that it appears may have gotten a breakthrough on battery technology that could actually reduce the cost and expand the power of the batteries that are used in electric cars two-fold.  That could bring down the price point.  That could make the capacity to run further on a single charge much greater.  It could reduce the amount of room that a battery takes up in a car.  So all of that could make a huge difference in terms of us and Detroit being able to produce the very best, most fuel efficient cars in the world.

AAA: And in anticipation of that, at AAA, we’re actually pilot testing delivering energy at the roadside, delivering an electric charge to electric vehicles.  And speaking of American creativity and design ingenuity in electric vehicles, you said that when you leave office, that you will buy and drive a Chevy Volt.  So what role then do you think that electric vehicles and other alternative vehicles help in preventing the kind of gas price fluctuations that we’re now seeing?  What role do you think they’ll play in the future?  Do you think they’ll play an integral role?

President Obama: Look, you identified the big challenge.  That is, people need to feel confident that when they get into an electric car that they’re not going to get stuck because of range anxiety – and so to the extent that we start having both more efficient batteries but also distribution capacity, so that people feel confident that they’re never going to get stuck, or at least not any more stuck than they do when they forget to fill up and then they call AAA.  Then I think that we can see a substantial expansion in the use of electric vehicles over the future, and anything that we’re doing to reduce oil consumption, while maintaining our growth and productivity, that’s all good.  Because frankly, the pressure on oil prices to go up over the coming two decades is going to be very difficult to reverse.  You’ve got hundreds-of-millions of people in China, hundreds-of-millions of people in India, billions of people around the world, who want the same stuff we’ve got.  They aspire to the same standard of living and having a car as we do.  Demand is going to outstrip supply.  We’ve got to come up with new technologies.  That’s what we’re going to be working on.

AAA:  Finally, Mr. President, and we’ve asked this of others in your Administration, tell us, what was your first car and do you have any fond memories of your driving experience that you’d like to share with us?

President Obama:  Well, first of all, I was a AAA member for years, up until they [Secret Service] told me I couldn’t drive anymore.  But I have to confess; my first car was my grandfather’s car, which was a Ford Granada.  Now Ford is doing great now.  The Ford Granada was not the peak of Detroit engineering.  It rattled and it shook, and I don’t think the girls were particularly impressed when I came to pick them up in a Ford Granada.  But you know what?  It moved and so I have fond memories of the fact that it got me to where I needed to go.  That’s about all I can say about the Ford Granada. 

AAA: Thank you, Mr. President, on behalf of our 53 million members.

 

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AAA Lists State-by-State Average Price per Gallon

(WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012) The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil increased by $2.60 per barrel today to settle at $105.84 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, after markets were closed yesterday for the Presidents’ Day holiday. This is the highest settlement price since May 4, 2011. Crude prices today were driven higher by bullish news overseas, as European finance ministers yesterday agreed to a Greek bailout package and Iran halted its oil exports to France and Britain.

An improving economy overseas would be expected to consume more oil, which exerts upward pressure on prices. At the same time, when economies strengthen overseas, the U.S. dollar weakens and the price of oil (traded in dollars) becomes relatively less expensive. Oil futures subsequently become a more attractive investment, which exerts upward pressure on prices, as was the case today. While Iran’s announcement that it would cut off oil exports to Britain and France is worth noting, as it continues the recent escalation of geopolitical tension and uncertainty in the market, the ultimate impact on supply is limited. Britain and France get the majority of their oil from the North Sea region, and Iranian imports account for only 3 percent of their daily needs.

Despite continuing reports of historically anemic demand, crude prices last week were pressured higher by positive economic reports and increased tension with Iran. As Greece moved closer to securing the bailout necessary to prevent default on its sovereign debt, the U.S. economy continued to show signs of recovery, and WTI crude prices rose to end the week at a new 2012 high. At the same time, WTI continued to trade at a significant discount to Brent crude (the historic European benchmark) due to the bottleneck of WTI at its delivery location in Cushing, OK. With this in mind, many analysts have suggested that Brent may be a more accurate global benchmark for oil prices at this time. While refineries in the center of the country have access to these relatively cheaper crude products, refineries near the coast must purchase crude at more expensive global prices. This disparity is subsequently reflected in the price that motorists are paying at the pump, as those in the center of the country see relatively lower prices than those closer to the coast. Please see below for a state-by-state list of today’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline.

Motorists in Hawaii and California are paying on average more than $4.00 per gallon, while those in Colorado and Wyoming pay less than $3.10. Drivers in Hilo, HI pay the highest price of any metropolitan area nationwide ($4.44 per gallon) however the ten highest priced areas in the lower 48 states are all in California and are all above $4.00 per gallon as well. These areas with the top-ten highest prices are listed below.

  1. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompac, CA: $4.105
  2. San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, CA: $4.103
  3. San Diego, CA: $4.087
  4. LA-Long Beach, CA: $4.082
  5. San Francisco, CA: $4.079
  6. Ventura, CA: $4.077
  7. Orange County, CA: $4.071
  8. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA: $4.047
  9. (tie) Oakland, CA: $4.031 and San Jose, CA: $4.031

The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.57. Today’s price is six cents more expensive than one week ago, 18 cents more expensive than one month ago, and 40 cents more expensive than one year ago.

In US, ample oil supply continues while demand at multi-year low

Washington, Jan. 17, 2012 — The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was up $2.01 to settle at $100.71 at today’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX.  As has been the case for much of the new year, today’s price increase can be attributed to global economic and geopolitical news stories.  Today’s stories included bullish news of decreased euro zone inflation for December — raising speculation that this might allow the European Central Bank to lower interest rates to boost that economy — and reports that Saudi Arabia was urging other Arab countries not to increase oil production in response to global economic sanctions on Iran. Both a strengthening global economy that would be expected to demand more crude oil and the threat of decreased global oil production puts upward pressure on crude prices.

Last week’s trading saw crude oil prices decline on bearish economic news in Europe, predictions that tensions with Iran would be unlikely to result in an impact to global supply, and continued dismal demand data.  WTI settled at $101.31 per barrel to begin the week and finished at $98.70 — a decline of $2.61.

The struggling European economy received another blow late last week when Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) — created to fund rescue packages for euro zone countries facing sovereign debt crises — from AAA to AA+.  The EFSF credit rating is derived from the ratings of its sponsor countries, two of which (France and Austria) were downgraded last Thursday.  A downgraded credit rating means a higher interest rate must be paid to borrow money.

Reports last week that the European Union might delay planned sanctions on Iranian oil imports supported the assessment of many analysts that recent geopolitical tensions with Iran were likely to be limited to “saber-rattling” rather than an actual impact to the global oil supply. However, with Iranian naval exercises announced for January 27th in the Strait of Hormuz, the specter of a supply disruption remains and the associated uncertainty has kept some upward pressure on crude prices. Also contributing to this global supply uncertainty is the threat of continued labor strikes in Nigeria over the abolition of domestic fuel subsidies. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer.

While geopolitical developments have dominated headlines, the implication of the bearish U.S. oil data in recent months cannot be ignored. Last Wednesday’s weekly Department of Energy report continued the trend of ample supply and dismal demand.  According to that report, crude demand for the first week of 2012 was 17.8 million barrels per day, 200,000 barrels per day less than the same week last year and only the sixth time since 2000 that demand has been below 18 million. Gasoline demand was reported at just over 8 million barrels per day, a 400,000-barrel-per-day year-over-year decline and the lowest level since early 2003.

Despite U.S demand for gasoline being at a multi-year low, high crude prices and reports of impending refinery shutdowns have seen the national average price at the pump increase ten cents to begin 2012. These scheduled refinery shutdowns come amid crumbling refining margins as global crude prices remain near multi-month highs and gasoline demand remains weak.  The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.38.  Today’s price is fractions of a penny cheaper than yesterday, but a penny more expensive than one week ago, 15 cents more expensive than one month ago, and 28 cents more expensive than one year ago.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Growing global economy is expected to demand more crude oil

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2012 — On the first trading day of 2012, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose $4.13 to settle at $102.96 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX — the highest settlement price since May 10of last year. Today’s price increase was attributed to positive reports on the U.S. and Chinese economies and continued supply concerns surrounding increasing tension between Iran and the U.S. in the Persian Gulf. A growing global economy is expected to demand more crude oil, which pressures prices higher, as does the possibility of future disruptions to global supply.

In response to the ongoing development of Iran’s nuclear program in 2011, the U.S. and European Union (EU) announced economic sanctions against Iran. Under these initial sanctions, the Iranian currency (the rial) declined steeply placing designed economic pressure on the Iranian government.  As the U.S. and EU publically considered enacting further sanctions, Iran began conducting military exercises last month in the Strait of Hormuz, raising the intended specter of possible supply disruptions.  About one-third of all global seaborne oil passes through the narrow channel of water which sits between Iran and Oman.  Tensions have continued to rise as President Obama on Saturday signed a new round of sanctions into law, European leaders announced that they will consider a full embargo of Iranian oil later this month, and Iran yesterday continued a week of missile tests designed to demonstrate its defensive capabilities — the same day that the rial lost 10 percent of its value and Iran’s central bank called an emergency meeting to discuss the tumbling currency.  While most analysts have classified the action to date as “saber-rattling” and there has not been a disruption to Middle Eastern oil production or distribution, the possibility of a future impact to global supply has kept upward pressure on oil prices and will bear close attention in coming weeks.

2011 enters the books as a year of oil supply concerns in the Middle East and Northern Africa, an unprecedented price spread between WTI and Brent crude, bearish global economic news, and subsequent U.S. gasoline demand destruction.  Escalation of violence in Libya in February saw crude prices surge higher, with a peak WTI price of $113.93 on April 29 and a peak national retail average gas price of $3.98 on May 5.  During this time, the price difference or “spread” between the U.S. crude benchmark (WTI) and the European benchmark (Brent) widened to a record level as WTI products became backlogged at their delivery point in Cushing, OK, and became relatively insulated from the upward price pressure seen on other crude products on the global market.  The price spread peaked at nearly $30 to begin September but has closed to less than $10 as the WTI backlog has been alleviated.  Prior to 2011, a spread of even a few dollars would have been considered significant.  At the same time, high crude oil and gasoline prices, along with bearish signs for a struggling global economy and sovereign debt concerns, have weighed on markets.  Last Thursday’s Department of Energy report showed U.S. October gasoline demand at 8.623 million barrels per day — the lowest October number since 2000 and a more than four percent decline from the same month in 2010.  WTI crude oil began 2011 at $91.55 per barrel and ended the year at $98.83.  The national average gas price began 2011 at $3.07 per gallon and ended the year at $3.28.

On an annual average basis, U.S. motorists paid the all-time highest price for gasoline in 2011, surpassing the former all-time record set in 2008.

National Annual Average Price for Regular Gasoline

2001 – $1.44

2002 – $1.35

2003 – $1.56

2004 – $1.84

2005 – $2.27

2006 – $2.57

2007 – $2.79

2008 – $3.25

2009 – $2.34

2010 – $2.78

2011 – $3.51

The all-time highest recorded daily national average price of $4.11 occurred on July 17, 2008. However, the daily national average price declined to less than $2 per gallon by November 21 of that year and retreated to $1.62 per gallon by late-December as the U.S and global economies were mired in the worst recession since the 1930s. While the daily national average price reached its all-time high in July 2008, the price declined significantly — by almost $2.50 per gallon — by the end of the year.

As crude oil prices today rose to their highest level in months, the price of gasoline remains near the multi-month low of $3.21 registered on December 21. The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.28. Today’s price is a nickel more expensive than one week ago, fractions of a penny more expensive than one month ago and 21 cents more expensive than one year ago.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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