Posts Tagged ‘Gas Buddy’

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014) Just in time for next week’s start to the busy holiday travel season, motorists across the country are finally feeling some relief at the pump.  Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65 per gallon. This is two cents less expensive than one week ago but it remains more than one month ago (two cents) and the same date last year (eight cents). Prices remain higher than last year; however the year-over-year gap has closed to its narrowest margin in more than a month and the national average remains below the price for the same date in 2011 ($3.98) and 2012 ($3.73).

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Gasoline prices have been declining since the beginning of the month, which is typical for this time of year, following the conclusion of refinery maintenance leading up to the May 1 deadline to begin producing summer-blend fuel.  With this transition now complete, falling averages are increasingly likely to reflect that gas prices have reached their peak for the spring in many parts of the country.

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The national average has now fallen for 14 straight days, which is the longest streak since prices dropped 36 days in a row from September 1-October 7 of last year.  The country’s record high stockpile of gasoline has the potential to keep downward pressure on prices entering this summer. Due to the increased supplies and relative absence of disruptions to production or distribution, drivers in many states are likely to see prices continue to fall as we approach the Memorial Day holiday.  In comparison, over the same seven day period (May 5-12) last year, the national average increased six cents and continued to rise until following Memorial Day.

Drivers in 43 states and the District of Columbia saw the price at the pump drop over the past week, including five states where prices fell by at least a nickel: Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska (-5 cents), California (-6 cents) and Delaware (-7 cents).  Among those seven states where prices increased only drivers in Ohio and Indiana are paying a nickel more and these two states have also posted two-week declines of 5 and 7-cent respectively.  This is consistent with the trend in recent years where pump prices in the Midwest have often been among the most volatile in the country due to refinery issues, supply bottlenecks and logistical issues.

While prices in many states have fallen over the past week, the majority still reflect a month-over-month premium. Pump prices in 29 states and DC are higher than a month ago and 13 states post an average that has surged by double-digits, led by:  Utah (+26 cents), Idaho (+21 cents), and Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania and Connecticut (+14 cents).

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Political tensions between in Russia and the Ukraine have kept oil prices elevated, and following a recent vote in eastern Ukraine that yielded reported support for the separatist movement, market analysts suggest it is unlikely that the tensions will ease in the near future.  At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed 60 cents higher at $100.59 per barrel.  Today marks WTI’s first settlement above $100 after back-to-back settlements below this threshold.  Including today’s settlement WTI has now registered 45 settlements above $100 in 2014 and 45 settlements below.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.67 per gallon. This is two cents less expensive than one week ago, but it is 10 cents more than one month ago and 15 cents more than the same date last year.  Gasoline prices may have reached a springtime peak of $3.70 per gallon last week, though it is too early to know for certain.

After widening to a 20-cent premium last Monday — the largest difference since July 22, 2013 — the gap has closed each day for the past week and will likely continue to narrow in coming days. While prices this year are falling, prices at the same time in 2013 were increasing from a spring low. Today’s price remains lower than the same date in both 2011 and 2012. In 2011, on this same calendar date, the national average peaked at $3.98 per gallon.  In 2012 the peak was $3.94 per gallon on April 5 and 6.

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After increasing for 77 of 80 days, the national average has now fallen for seven straight days, which is the longest stretch since January. Domestic crude inventories are beginning to build, and data from the US Energy Information Association (EIA) is showing stockpiles at an all-time high.  Some of the biggest builds are occurring in the Gulf Coast region, and gasoline from this region remains some of the cheapest in the nation. This increase in supply is partly due to refineries coming back online, following the completion of maintenance projects scheduled in anticipation of the May 1 deadline for refineries to produce summer-blend gasoline, and is also attributed to output outpacing demand.

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Drivers in 32 states saw the price at the pump decline over the past 7 days, with the largest decreases in:  Indiana (-13 cents), Michigan and Ohio (-11 cents), and Illinois (-7 cents). Pump prices in the Midwest have often been the most volatile in the country as refinery issues, supply bottlenecks and logistical issues have caused sometimes dramatic fluctuations.   

While prices in many states are beginning to fall, virtually every state still registers a month-over-month premium and many still reflect sizable increases. Prices in 24 states and Washington D.C. increased by double digit increments during this span, headlined by California and Utah (+22 cents), and Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Idaho (+19 cents).

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Tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain front of mind, and the latest round of sanctions is sustaining the geopolitical “risk premium” that is factored into the market. Additionally, disappointing economic data from China and the expectation that delays in oil supplies from Libyan ports will persist, continue to influence the global market. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed 28 cents lower at $99.48 per barrel.  After 17 consecutive settlements above $100 per barrel, WTI has now finished below that threshold on four straight days.  

 

 

 

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

(WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014)

Americans Paying Highest Gas Prices in More than a Year

  • The national average price of gas this week reached a high of $3.70 per gallon, which was the most expensive price since March, 20, 2013. Gas prices have increased an average of 42 cents per gallon (13 percent) since early February with the national average up 76 out of 82 days.
  • “Drivers can’t seem to catch a break with gas prices rising nearly every day since February,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Spring is generally the worst time of year to fill up the car, and high gas prices are hard on people hoping to take advantage of the warmer weather.”
  • The national average increased about 14 cents per gallon in April, which was the largest increase for the month since 2011. Gas prices have increased primarily due to relatively tight supplies caused by significant refinery maintenance, the regulated switchover to summer-blend gasoline and rising springtime demand. Total gasoline stocks increased last week to 211.6 million barrels, according to today’s Energy Information Administration report.
  • Gas prices averaged $3.64 per gallon in April. In comparison, gas prices averaged $3.55 per gallon in April 2013, $3.89 per gallon in April 2012 and $3.79 per gallon in April 2011.
  • The national average price of gas is about 18 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, and has been more expensive for 22 consecutive days. Nevertheless, the national average remains less expensive than peak springtime prices from recent years including $3.79 in 2013, $3.94 in 2012 and $3.98 in 2011.
  • The price of domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil has remained around $100 per barrel all month, despite historically high supplies of crude oil and growing domestic production.

 

Gas Prices Likely to Fall Before Onset of Busy Memorial Day Holiday

  • The national average price of gas likely is at or very near its peak for this spring, and AAA expects prices to remain less expensive than last year’s high of $3.79 per gallon. AAA predicts that gas prices should decline in advance of the summer driving season as the refinery maintenance season ends and gasoline production increases.
  • “It is possible that gas prices may rise somewhat higher in the coming days, but a little relief could be in sight,” continued Ash. “With any luck most of us will pay lower gas prices by the time everyone hits the road for Memorial Day.”
  • Gasoline supplies nationally remain relatively low, yet prices should soon peak as refinery production increases in advance of the summer driving season. This increased production should outpace demand in May, lead to higher gasoline supplies and help reduce prices for most drivers.  Unexpected developments, such as major refinery problems or international concerns, could result in higher than predicted prices.
  • Gas prices have decreased in May two out of the previous three years for an average decline of eight cents per gallon. The national average typically declines through early summer after reaching a peak in mid-spring.

Drivers in 49 States Paying Higher Gas Prices than a Month Ago

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.69 per gallon. Drivers in every state except Colorado are paying higher gas prices than a month ago.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.38), California ($4.26), Connecticut ($3.95), New York ($3.92) and Alaska ($3.90). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Montana ($3.38), Missouri ($3.44), New Mexico ($3.46), Oklahoma ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.47).
  • Approximately nine percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $4.00 per gallon today, while 74 percent of stations are higher than $3.50 per gallon.
    • The most expensive metro area in the continental U.S. is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.36 per gallon. The least expensive metro area is Great Falls, Mont. at $3.28 per gallon.

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, April 28, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.70 per gallon. This is three cents more than last week, and 16 cents more than one month ago. The national average is up nearly 20 cents compared to the same date last year, which is the largest year-over-year premium since July 22, 2013.  Despite this differential, today’s price is lower than the same date in both 2011 and 2012. The national average has now increased on 76 of the past 80 days, but remains in line with AAA’s projection for spring gas prices which expected a peak between $3.55 and $3.75.

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During the second half of April, drivers in the Northeastern corridor have experienced some of the largest increases in retail prices.  Connecticut (+8 cents), Massachusetts (+8 cents), New Hampshire (+7 cents), and Rhode Island (+7 cents) all rank in the top ten of the largest weekly price increases. Meanwhile, over the last seven days, prices in some Southeastern and Midcontinent states have declined with the biggest savings seen in Kentucky (-4 cents), Nebraska (-2 cents), Arkansas (-2 cents) and Florida (- 2 cents).

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While the most dramatic increase in price over the last seven days occurred in Utah (+ 11 cents), followed by Connecticut and Massachusetts (+8 cents), retail prices in 11 states did fall – albeit slightly – during this span: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Texas. The majority of motorists are continuing to pay more at the pump. Drivers in 37 states and the District of Columbia continue to pay a year-over-year premium in the double digits, led by California (+35 cents), Delaware (+32 cents) and Georgia (+32 cents).

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Ongoing geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain a central reason for crude oil prices remaining elevated, which has contributed to higher gas prices. Additional sanctions on Russia were issued this morning by the Obama Administration, and market watchers will continue to monitor the situation closely for any signs of further escalation that could impact global oil supplies.  At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed 24 cents higher at $100.84 per barrel.  This marks the 24th consecutive settlement above $100 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact Tile

(WASHINGTON, April 21, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.67 per gallon. This is three cents more than last week, and 15 cents more than both one month ago and the same date last year. The national average is just below the peak price paid by motorists last summer ($3.67 on July 19), but it is well below the registered high of $3.79 per gallon last spring (February 27). The national price at the pump continues to approach the forecast made by AAA at the beginning of the year.

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Refineries are required to start producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1, 2014, and in anticipation of this date often go offline for scheduled maintenance at this time of year. This decrease in supply can cause prices in certain areas to rise, but fluctuations have been minimal thus far this season. Over the past few days, a number of refineries had to temporarily shut down or restart in order to perform unscheduled maintenance. These supply disruptions during the planned changeover have the potential to put additional upward pressure on prices, and are worth monitoring as we approach the switchover deadline and enter peak driving season.

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Although inventories in the US are beginning to increase, pump prices jumped in all but nine states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and New Mexico. The most dramatic increases in prices were seen in Delaware (+9 cents), Oregon (+9 cents) and New Jersey (+8 cents). Drivers in the majority of states continue to pay a year-over-year premium, and many states are experiencing double digit increases, with the most significant premiums in Florida (+29 cents), Kentucky (+29 cents), Delaware (+28 cents) and Alabama (+25 cents).

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Global crude oil price remain elevated as Russian and Western powers attempt to broker a deal over the situation in Ukraine. Tensions remain as both sides exchange accusations about which side first violated last week’s perceived deal, and today Vice President Biden arrived in Kiev warning of new sanctions. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is moving with less certainty about changes in price. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed up 7 cents per barrel at $104.37.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, April 14, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.64 per gallon.  This is six cents more expensive than one week ago, 12 cents more than one month ago, and 11 cents more per gallon than the same date last year.  Last Wednesday, for the first time since January 17, the national average registered higher than the same date the year prior, and today marks the most dramatic year-over-year premium since August 1, 2013.  On this date in 2013 prices were still tumbling from a February 27 peak, while this year prices continue to tick higher approaching the May 1 deadline to switch to summer-blend gasoline production.  Considering these opposite trends, the yearly premium will likely continue to increase in the coming days.

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With slightly more than two weeks remaining before refiners must switch to producing summer-blend gasoline, the national average is at the midpoint of AAA’s forecast made in the beginning of the year.  Each spring, approaching the May 1 deadline for refineries to start producing summer-blend fuel, seasonal refinery maintenance and the changeover itself increases the chances that an unplanned disruption to production may take place. The increased incidence of disruption puts upward pressure on prices, and can send prices sharply higher in an area that is supplied by an impacted facility.  These sorts of issues have been minimal so far this spring but should be watched as we count down to the switchover deadline.  Also, suppliers tend to drawdown their supplies of gasoline at this time of year so as not to be left with higher RVP fuel that they can no longer sell after May 1.  This has been on display in recent weeks, as gasoline stocks nationwide have dwindled.

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Declining inventories coupled with signs of rebounding demand have resulted in rising prices across the country.  Pump prices in every state but four (Wyoming, Alaska, Utah and Colorado) have moved higher over the last week, led by increases of more than ten cents per gallon in Illinois (+10 cents), Arkansas (+11 cents), Alabama (+11 cents) and California (+13 cents).  While drivers in 12 states and Washington D.C. continue to pay less than a year ago – including more than 15 cent discounts in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah – motorists in the majority of states are paying a year-over-year premium.  The most dramatic premiums in and around the Midwest, where drivers in four states pay an average price more than 20 cents per gallon above this date last year: Illinois +23 cents; Kentucky +25 cents; Indiana +25 cents; and Ohio +28 cents.

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International geopolitical issues continue to keep global crude oil prices elevated. Tensions remain heightened in Ukraine following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and there are concerns that sanctions imposed by Western countries might impact exports from Russia.  Additionally, while two Libyan ports have reopened in recent days, returning some of that country’s oil production to the global market, reports that Prime Minister Abdullah Theni has asked to resign following threats to his family are a reminder that significant tensions remain.  At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 31 cents higher at $104.05 per barrel.  Today’s WTI price is more than $15 higher than on April 15, 2013.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON – April 7, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.58 per gallon.  This is two cents more expensive than one week ago and nine cents more than one month ago, but it is still two cents per gallon less expensive than the same date last year.  While the national average remains below the same date 2013, the discount is the smallest since January 20.  Motorists have enjoyed a year-over-year savings at the pump for 80 consecutive days, but that discount could turn to a premium before the week is through. On April 7 last year prices had fallen for 33 of 39 days, today prices have increased for 53 of 59 days.

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The national average continues to edge higher, although it remains at the low-end of AAA’s forecast to begin the year.  Each spring refiners must switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1.  Leading up to this date seasonal refinery maintenance and the changeover to the new blend increases the chances of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in the area supplied by the impacted facility.  Peak pump prices are likely in sight for many drivers across the country, however temporary spikes are not out of the question for motorists in a region that might be affected by an unexpected disruption.  These sorts of issues have been minimal so far this spring, but the coming weeks will bear watching.

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Pump prices in 36 states and Washington D.C. have moved higher over the last week, led by increases in the Southeast and Gulf Coast.  These increases have been supported by just the type of maintenance outlined above, which has resulted in a number of Texas refineries being offline for planned or unplanned maintenance: Valero’s refinery in Sunray; Alon’s refinery in Big Springs; and Phillips 66’s refinery in Old Ocean.  Despite the consistent increases nationwide, California and Hawaii remain the only states above the $4 per gallon threshold.

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News that Libyan rebels have agreed to reopen two of four closed oil ports in that country added downward pressure to oil prices today.  Following an eight-month closure, the two ports will return a combined 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil supply to the global market.  Despite this news, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil continues to hover near or above $100 per barrel.  WTI settled at $100.44 per barrel, down 70 cents on the day.  Even with the slight decline, today’s WTI price is $7 per barrel higher than the same time last year.

Michael GreenChange in Behavior Comes as Gasoline Grows Relatively Less Expensive Compared to Previous Years

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 3, 2014) – Americans have grown significantly less likely to change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices, according to a new survey by AAA. Only half of U.S. adults (53 percent) are doing something to offset gas prices, which is about 15 percent less than in spring 2013. This development comes as gas prices continue to be relatively less expensive compared to previous years.

“Many people seem to be feeling less pressure to make significant changes in their lives on account of high gas prices,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Less expensive gasoline may encourage people to drive more and worry less about the financial burden of filling up their tanks.”

Gasoline demand increased 1.1 percent in 2013, which was the largest annual increase since 2006, according to the Energy Information Administration. Vehicle miles travelled in 2013 similarly increased an estimated 18.1 billion miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Gas prices generally have remained less expensive than in previous years due to increased production and supplies. The national average price of gas may not even reach $3.65 per gallon this spring, which would be nearly 15 cents less than the peak in 2013 and about 30 cents less than in 2012.

“People may be less likely to change their habits, but they do not seem any happier at the pumps,” continued Darbelnet. “Many drivers grudgingly realize that paying more than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline is the new normal, but they remain frustrated with the price.”

Most people continue to believe that gas prices are too high with the results similar to a year ago. According to the survey:

  • 40 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.00 per gallon
  • 50 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.30 per gallon
  • 65 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.50 per gallon
  • 91 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $4.00 per gallon

Roughly half of Americans say they are changing their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices. Those doing so report:

  • Combining errands or trips: 85 percent
  • Driving less: 84 percent
  • Reducing shopping or dining out: 68 percent
  • Delaying major purchases: 52 percent
  • Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle: 49 percent
  • Putting aside less money for savings: 42 percent
  • Working closer to home: 41 percent
  • Carpooling: 30 percent
  • Using public transportation more regularly: 17 percent
  • Other: 15 percent

Younger adults ages 18-34 were significantly more likely to offset prices than older adults by working closer to home (60 percent vs. 34 percent), carpooling (49 percent vs. 23 percent) and using public transportation more regularly (32 percent vs. 11 percent).  These results show a potential generational gap regarding gas prices and behavior.

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,011 adults (508 men and 503 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted on March 6-9. The total included 610 interviews from the landline sample and 401 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±3.7 percent.

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, March 31, 2014)

Lowest Gas Prices for March in Four Years Despite Seasonal Price Hikes

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.555 per gallon, which is the highest daily average since September 11, 2013. Despite recent increases, the monthly average of $3.507 per gallon was the least expensive for March since 2010.
  • “Spring is the most frustrating time of year for drivers given that gas prices seem to jump every time you get in the car,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “We are seeing the same seasonal hikes this spring, but fortunately gas is not nearly as expensive as in recent years.”
  • Gas prices averaged $3.507 per gallon in March, which was 17 cents per gallon higher than the monthly average in February. Despite the increase, this was the least expensive monthly average for March since 2010. March prices averaged $3.695 per gallon in 2013, $3.829 per gallon in 2012, $3.533 per gallon in 2011 and $2.778 per gallon in 2010.
  • Average gas prices have increased 49 out of 52 days for a total of 29 cents per gallon. Prices are up primarily due to seasonal factors such as refinery maintenance, the switchover to summer-blend gasoline and rising demand. The rate of increase has slowed with the national average price of gas up only three cents per gallon total during the previous two weeks.
  • The national average has remained less expensive than a year ago for 73 consecutive days. Gas prices so far this year have averaged $3.38 per gallon, which is 17 cents per gallon cheaper than in 2013 and 20 cents per gallon less than in 2012 through the same period. Gas prices are less expensive than in recent years primarily because many refineries have increased capacity to take advantage of North American crude oil production. Also, gasoline demand was relatively weak during much of the winter due to strong storms and colder than normal temperatures.
  • The price of domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil has remained around $100 per barrel for much of the month, which is roughly $10 per barrel higher than a year ago despite lower gas prices. The most recent settlement price for WTI crude was $101.67 per barrel.

 

AAA Expects a Springtime Peak for Gas Prices to Arrive in April

  • AAA has forecast the national average price of gas will peak in April at $3.55-$3.75 per gallon, yet the recent slowdown in price increases suggests the average may not even surpass $3.65 per gallon. AAA expects that the national average will remain less expensive than last year’s peak of $3.79 per gallon.
  • “Peak gas prices for the spring are likely in sight, but there is a good chance that it will cost a little more at the pumps over the next few weeks,” continued Ash. “People are likely to drive more as the weather warms, and refinery production will need to keep pace with demand.”
  • Various factors could push gas prices higher in the near term. Gasoline supplies have shrunk recently due to continued refinery maintenance, the switchover to summer-blend gasoline and an increase in demand. AAA expects that demand will continue to increase as the weather grows warmer and driving increases.
  • Despite an increase in demand, most refineries will have completed maintenance by the end of April, which should allow gasoline supplies to build in advance of the summer driving season. Unexpected developments, such as major refinery problems or geopolitical concerns could result in higher than predicted prices.
  • Gas prices have increased in April three out of the previous five years for an average of three cents per gallon.
  • In 2013, the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over a 41-day period before peaking at $3.79 per gallon on February 27. 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 48 States Paying Higher Gas Prices than a Month Ago

  • Drivers in every state, except Ohio and Pennsylvania, are paying higher gas prices than a month ago. The largest price increases during the previous month include: Oregon (25 cents), Washington (24 cents), Florida (21 cents), Kentucky (19 cents) and California (15 cents).
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.24), California ($4.00), Alaska ($3.82), New York ($3.77) and Connecticut ($3.77). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Montana ($3.28), South Carolina ($3.28), Louisiana ($3.31), Mississippi ($3.32) and Arkansas ($3.34).
  • The most expensive metro area in the continental U.S. is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.12 per gallon. The least expensive metro area is Great Falls, Mont. at $3.18 per gallon.
  • Today’s national average is about eight cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago, which is a significant difference from late February when the national average was about 39 cents per gallon cheaper than the same day in 2013. The gap has narrowed because prices continue to rise, while the national average a year ago had already fallen 15 cents per gallon from its peak high.

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, March 31, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.55 per gallon.  This is three cents more expensive than one week ago and 10 cents more than one month ago, but it is still eight cents per gallon less than the same date last year.  While the year-over-year discount remains, it is the narrowest it’s been since January 28.  At this time last year, pump prices were still tumbling from their late February peak, so the discount is likely to close and return to a premium in the coming days.

The national average continues to creep higher and today entered the range that AAA expects prices to peak: between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon.  Prices may move a little higher in the coming weeks; however the end is likely in sight for many drivers across the country. The exception to this trend could be motorists in regions where unexpected refinery or distribution issues cause prices to temporarily spike.  Every spring refiners are required to switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1.  This seasonal refinery maintenance and the actual changeover itself increases the possibility of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in an area that is normally supplied by a limited or offline facility.  These sorts of refinery issues have been minimal this spring, but the coming weeks will bear close attention.

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Pump prices in all but seven states have moved higher over the last week, led by an eight-cent increase in Florida and a seven-cent increase in Washington D.C.  Today, for the first time since September, drivers in California pay an average gas price above $4 per gallon.  California and Hawaii are the only states above this threshold.

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Weak global economic data and the growing consensus that geopolitical tensions with Russia are unlikely to disrupt crude oil distribution have kept a cap on crude oil prices. However the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has remained near or above $100 per barrel, which is $5-10 higher than the price last year. This trend continued today as the price of WTI settled at $101.58 per barrel, down nine cents on the day.

 

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