Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Gas Prices’

Gas Prices Ease Approaching July 4 Holiday

June 29th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 29, 2015) Despite rising prices over the past several months, drivers are poised to pay the lowest prices at the pump over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in at least five years. Today’s average price of $2.77 per gallon is down two cents versus one week ago and down three cents from the peak price to date for 2015, which was set on June 15. While pump prices are down on the week, they are up four cents per gallon month-over-month, largely due to regional refinery issues that put upward pressure on the national average over the last 30 days. Gas prices continue to reflect considerable yearly discounts with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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Pump prices often fall leading up to the Independence Day holiday. However, a seasonal decline in the national average this year has been offset by supply shortages due to localized refinery issues and global crude prices that have recovered from multi-year lows this spring.

Drivers in the Pacific Northwest are paying some of the nation’s highest prices for retail gasoline. After 16 consecutive weeks, Alaska ($3.47) has unseated California ($3.45) as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and is followed by regional neighbors – Hawaii ($3.37), Washington ($3.19) and Nevada ($3.19) – as the five most expensive markets. A total of seven states are registering averages above $3 per gallon. Consumers in South Carolina ($2.45) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.

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State level gas prices have been relatively stable over the past week, moving by +/- 3 cents in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in 39 states are experiencing weekly savings in the price at the pump, led by Illinois (-7 cents), Delaware (-6 cents) and Minnesota (-6 cents). Pump prices are up in 11 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest increases in price seen in the Midwestern state of Ohio (+8 cents).

The majority of drivers (44 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying more at the pump than one month ago, primarily due to the lingering effects of localized refinery issues. Retail averages are up by double-digits in ten states, led by the Midwestern states of Michigan (+21 cents) and Ohio (+18). On the other end of the spectrum, monthly comparisons reflect discounts in the price of retail gasoline in six states. Prices on the West Coast are recovering from a string of refinery issues, and motorists in California (-26 cents) and Nevada (-11 cents) are finally experiencing some price relief as production returns to normal.

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Drivers nationwide are paying considerably less at the pump to refuel their vehicles compared to a year ago. Retail averages are discounted by more than $1 in three states: Kentucky (-$1.02), Connecticut (-$1.02) and Michigan (-$1.01), and motorists in 45 states and Washington D.C. are saving more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year.

Concerns of oversupply continue to characterize the global oil market. The pending June 30 deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal could contribute further to the market’s oversupply if current sanctions are removed and Iranian oil returns to the global market. However, a string of attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait have been closely watched for any impact on geopolitical instability in crude-producing regions in the Middle East and North Africa. Escalating tensions in these regions have the potential to cause supply disruptions, which could contribute to price volatility in the near term.

Market watchers are also paying close attention the European Union, where Greece may default on its debt obligations this week. This sets up a Greek referendum for this coming weekend on whether the country should accept a bailout deal offered by international creditors. This news sent global oil prices lower this morning on worries of reduced global demand and the potential for instability in global financial markets.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down seven cents and settled at $59.63 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Average U.S. Gas Prices Holding Steady Near 2015 High

June 22nd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 22, 2015) After reaching a new high for 2015 last week ($2.80), the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped slightly to $2.79 per gallon. Today’s price is five cents higher than one month ago and remains significantly discounted from this time last year with drivers saving an average of 89 cents per gallon year-over-year.

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Pump prices in recent days have stabilized or even dropped in many areas as refineries solve productions issues. For example, ExxonMobil’s refinery in Joliet, Ill. and PBF Energy’s refinery in Toledo, Ohio are reportedly operating at normal rates following recent malfunctions, which should further support the region’s gasoline supplies. Gasoline production typically increases this time of year in anticipation of summer demand, and high profit margins should incentivize refineries to produce more gasoline in the near future, which may help lower gas prices.

Drivers in California ($3.49) are paying the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline, though prices have dropped significantly as refineries increase production and the supply situation in the region improves. The Golden State is joined by its regional neighbors: Alaska ($3.44), Hawaii ($3.36), Nevada ($3.21) and Washington ($3.18) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. A total of seven states are posting averages above $3 per gallon. Consumers in South Carolina ($2.48) are paying the lowest price at the pump, and are saving more than $1 per gallon compared to California.

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Retail averages were relatively stable week-over-week, moving by +/- 3 cents per gallon in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in 21 states are experiencing weekly savings at the pump, with the largest savings in the Midwest: Indiana (-15 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Michigan (-9 cents), largely due to refineries coming back online following production issues. On the other end of the spectrum, averages in 29 states and Washington D.C. climbed higher over this same period, although in a less dramatic fashion. The price is up by more than a nickel per gallon in four states: Washington (+8 cents), Oregon (+8 cents), Alaska (+6 cents) and Delaware (+6 cents).

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Motorists in the majority of states (45 and Washington, D.C.) are paying more than a month ago for gasoline. The average price per gallon is up by a nickel or more in 40 states and Washington, D.C. and by a dime more per gallon in 17 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period. Month-over-month, the largest increases in price have been in Montana (+19 cents), Alaska (+17 cents), North Dakota (+17 cents) and South Dakota (+13 cents). Outside of this trend, averages are down in five states versus one month ago. Consumers in California (-28 cents), Nevada (-10 cents) and Arizona (-6 cents) are saving the most per gallon.

Yearly price comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts for motorists nationwide. Four states are posting savings of $1 or more per gallon: Ohio (-$1.02), Kentucky (-$1.02), Connecticut (-$1.01) and Michigan (-$1.00). Drivers in a total of 45 states and Washington D.C. are saving more than 75 cents per gallon at the pumps.

Crude oil prices moved lower late last week due to a stronger U.S. dollar amid concerns about Greece’s financial instability. Eurozone leaders are continuing to negotiate in hopes of preventing a Greek default. A default or Greece’s exit from the Euro group would likely impact financial markets and could reduce global energy demand. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported its largest production levels since October 2012, and the U.S. also continues to produce at record levels. This means the global market is likely to remain oversupplied in the near term and any reductions in demand are expected to put downward pressure on price and exacerbate the current dynamic of oversupply.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 84 cents and settled at $59.61 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Gas Prices Make Unexpected Jump

June 15th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015) Pump prices have climbed higher during the previous week, even though many market experts continue to believe that gas prices are nearing a seasonal high due to the completion of seasonal refinery maintenance and abundant crude oil supplies.  The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline moved higher each of the past six days reaching today’s average of $2.80 per gallon. Today’s average price represents a new 2015 high, and the national average is five cents more than one week ago and 10 cents more than one month ago. Gas prices unexpectedly have jumped in many areas over the previous week due to a decline in gasoline stocks caused by high fuel demand and persistent refinery problems, which has limited gasoline production. Despite the rise in pump prices, drivers continue to experience significant year-over-year savings with today’s average price about 86 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

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California ($3.53) is one of four states where motorists are experiencing weekly savings at the pump, yet it remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. The Golden State is followed by Alaska ($3.37), Hawaii ($3.34) and Nevada ($3.23). A total of eight states are posting averages above $3 per gallon. The West Coast continues be the nation’s most expensive region for gasoline, but is closely followed by the Midwest, where  a drawdown in gasoline stocks and issues at regional refineries have combined to push prices dramatically higher.  Drivers in South Carolina ($2.49) and Mississippi ($2.52) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.

On the whole, pump prices are trending higher week-over-week. Averages have moved higher in 46 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, and drivers in 19 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a nickel or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles. The largest jumps in price were in the Midwestern states of Indiana (+28 cents), Michigan (+25 cents) and Ohio (+13 cents). The only states with weekly declines include California (-8 cents), Nevada (-3 cents) and Arizona (-2 cents) and New Mexico (fractions of a penny).

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Monthly price comparisons also reflect higher averages for American drivers. Consumers in 47 states and Washington, D.C., are paying more at the pump, and the price is up by a nickel or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C. The states posting the most dramatic month-over-month increases in price include: Michigan (+33 cents), Illinois (+25 cents), Montana (+24 cents), Indiana (+21 cents) and Ohio (+21 cents). Drivers in a total of 34 states and Washington, D.C. are paying monthly premiums of a dime or more per gallon. The only three states where the price has moved lower over this same period are the Western states of California (-28 cents), Nevada (-6 cents) and Arizona (-4 cents).

Retail averages remain significantly discounted year-over-year, with the majority of drivers (45 states and Washington, D.C.) saving more than 75 cents per gallon. The largest discounts in the price at the pump are in Ohio (-$1.04), Hawaii (-$1.02) and Kentucky (-$1.01).

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Even though regional refinery issues have driven the recent increase in the national average for retail gasoline, the cost of crude oil remains the underlying factor in the price motorists pay at the pump. Market analysts continue to suggest that ample crude oil supply will outpace global demand and characterize oil markets in the near term. Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading crude exporter, is reportedly prepared to increase its production to meet strong demand, which likely would keep a ceiling on the price of crude. Domestic production also remains elevated and is expected to remain at or near current levels, despite the reduction in U.S. oil rig counts.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 81 cents and settled at $59.96 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 8, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has remained steady over the past week and continues to hover near at what many expect to be the highest average of the year. Today’s price of $2.75 per gallon is fractions of a penny higher than a week ago and is nine cents per gallon higher than one month ago. While pump prices across the country have increased since April, consumers are saving 90 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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Gas prices likely are poised for a seasonal decline given that refineries generally complete maintenance by this time of year and gear up production for the busy summer driving season. In addition, the cost of crude oil is unlikely to rise significantly in the near term given that OPEC decided not to cut production at its most recent meeting. Nevertheless, a number of factors could cause prices to inch higher during the summer driving season, such as geopolitical issues in the Middle East, unexpected problems at major refineries or a major hurricane that disrupts production, refining and distribution.

Pump prices in the Midwest recently surged due to a series of a refinery issues in the region that have limited production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gasoline production in the Midwest during the most recent week fell to its lowest levels since late March. Meanwhile, prices on the West Coast are stabilizing due to a surge in imports that have helped to offset supply issues stemming from refinery problems.

California ($3.61) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. A total of seven states, all located in the Western United States, have averages above $3 per gallon, including Alaska ($3.37), Hawaii ($3.31), Nevada ($3.26), Washington ($3.06), Utah ($3.02) and Oregon ($3.02). The nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline are South Carolina ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.47) and Arkansas ($2.50).

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Week-over-week prices have been relatively stable, moving just +/- 3 cents in more than half of the states (31). Consumers in 37 states and Washington, D.C. are paying more at the pump versus one week ago, with averages in eight states reflecting increases of a nickel or more per gallon. The largest increases in price over this period were in Minnesota (+8 cents), Alaska (+7 cents) and Montana (+7 cents). Prices moved lower in 13 states versus one week ago, and the largest savings in the price at the pump were in Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents) and California (-9 cents).

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The majority of drivers nationwide (49 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying more per gallon than one month ago. Averages moved higher by a nickel or more per gallon in 43 states and Washington, D.C., and drivers in 19 states and Washington D.C. are paying a dime or more per gallon month-over-month. Drivers in Montana (+27 cents), Alaska (+21 cents), Wyoming (+21 cents) and Illinois (+20 cents) have seen prices move dramatically higher over this same period, largely due to regional refinery issues. California is the only state outside of this trend, and motorists in the state are seeing monthly savings of 11 cents per gallon as prices have retreated following a substantial run-up.

Pump prices continue to be significantly discounted versus one year ago and motorists are poised to pay the lowest prices during the summer driving season since 2009. Retail averages are down in every state and Washington, D.C., with consumers 45 states and Washington, D.C. saving at least 75 cents per gallon year-over-year. The Midwestern states of Indiana (-$1.25) and Michigan (-$1.24) are posting the largest savings over this same period, and the price at the pump is down by $1 or more in a total of nine states.

As expected, OPEC opted to maintain its current production levels during its June 5 meeting in Vienna, and the global oil market is likely to remain oversupplied in the near term. The oil cartel explained its decision by citing expectations of increased demand from emerging economies and the fact that recent increases in the global price have made the market favorable for both producers and consumers. OPEC plans to continue to monitor developments in the coming months and could reassess their decision at their next meeting scheduled for December 4.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX on Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased $1.13, settling at $59.13 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Cheapest Summer Gas Prices since 2009 on the Way

June 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile

Lower Gas Prices Inspiring Summer Road Trips

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $2.75 per gallon, which is the highest average of the year. There is a good chance that average U.S. gas prices will drop soon due to stabilizing crude oil costs and as refineries complete seasonal maintenance, which would result in the cheapest summertime gas prices since 2009.
  • “This could be the year of the summer road trip with lower gas prices motivating millions of people to travel,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Many drivers are likely to save hundreds of dollars this summer as gas prices remain more affordable than in recent years.”
  • Summer travel is expected to be busy, in part due to lower gas prices. About 6 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip of 50 miles or more in 2015 if gas prices remain near recent levels, according to a AAA survey. AAA forecast that 33 million people would drive for Memorial Day weekend, which was the highest total in a decade.
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently estimated that gasoline demand for the week leading up to Memorial Day was the highest weekly total since August 2007, which may also indicate that many people are taking advantage of lower gas prices to travel.
  • Supplies of both oil and gasoline remain abundant, which should help keep gas prices much lower than in recent years. U.S. commercial crude oil stocks are about 22 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks are about four percent higher than last year, according to the EIA.
  • Gas prices often drop or remain flat in June as refineries complete seasonal maintenance and gear up production for the busy summer driving season. Gas prices have declined by an average of 12 cents per gallon in June over the past five years. This production trend likely will continue this year, which means gasoline supplies could soon grow even more plentiful.
  • S. oil production may have reached a balance in supply and demand given that many producers reportedly can break even with oil at $50-$60 per barrel. Domestic oil prices may not rise significantly in the near term because any further increase in price could lead to a rise in production, which likely would return prices lower.
  • OPEC is scheduled to meet on June 5 to determine production quotas going forward. Most analysts do not expect the organization to announce major changes during the meeting, but any surprises could have a significant impact on gas prices.
  • Despite expectations for lower prices, there are a number of factors that could send summertime gas prices even higher than today, such as increased fighting in the Middle East, unexpected problems at major refineries or strong Atlantic hurricanes.

Average Gas Prices Jump at Fastest Seasonal Pace in Three Years

  • Average U.S. prices have increased by 71 cents per gallon since late January, which is the largest seasonal increase since 2012. Average prices increased 26 out of 31 days in May for a total of 17 cents per gallon, making it the largest increase for the month since 2009.
  • “Gas prices have jumped much faster this spring than we typically see because of seasonal refinery issues and rising oil costs,” continued Ash. “The pain has been less costly than in the past though because gasoline remains a relative bargain in most areas compared to recent years.”
  • Gas prices have increased since January due to a combination of rising crude oil costs, seasonal refinery maintenance, unexpected refinery problems and the switchover to summer-blend gasoline.
  • The cost of crude oil has increased by about $15 per barrel since reaching a six-year low in the middle of March. Oil is the primary cost associated with producing gasoline and any increase in the cost of oil generally leads to higher gas prices. Crude oil prices have increased this spring primarily due to slowing U.S. production and continued risks associated with conflict in the Middle East.
  • Many refineries conduct maintenance in the spring to prepare equipment for production during the busy summer driving season. Refineries conducting maintenance generally produce less gasoline, which can lead to tighter supplies and higher prices. In addition, unexpected refinery problems at this time of year can make the supply situation even worse and lead to a surge in regional prices.
  • Gas stations in many parts of the country switch to summer-blend gasoline by June 1. This blend reduces smog and improves air quality at higher temperatures, but it costs slightly more to produce.
  • The average price of gas in May was $2.69 per gallon, which was the lowest average for the month since 2009. By comparison, the average price of gas in May 2014 was nearly $1 per gallon more expensive at $3.66 per gallon.
  • Gasoline costs less than in recent years because of significantly lower crude oil costs. Despite recent increases, crude oil remains about $50 per barrel cheaper than the highs reached in summer 2014. Crude oil prices dropped during the second half of 2014 due to abundant global supplies and production. The most recent settlement price for WTI crude was $60.30 per barrel.
  • Gas prices on the West Coast continue to be the highest in the nation due to regional refinery problems. California’s average has been the most expensive in the country for almost every day since February 26, when California’s average climbed above Hawaii for the first time since October 2012. California’s prices began to jump in February following an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., which has helped limit fuel production across the region. The region likely will continue paying among the highest prices in the country this summer, though California’s average has dropped about 12 cents per gallon since the middle of May.

$3 per Gallon Gasoline Far Too Common in the Western United States

  • The only states in the country with average gas prices above $3 per gallon are in the western United States. The states with average prices above $3 per gallon include: California ($3.70), Hawaii ($3.30), Nevada ($3.30), Alaska ($3.30), Washington ($3.06), Oregon ($3.03) and Utah ($3.03).
  • In the central and southeastern United States it is still relatively common to find gas for under $2.50 per gallon. The states with average prices below $2.50 per gallon include: Mississippi ($2.44), South Carolina ($2.44), Oklahoma ($2.46), Arkansas ($2.47), Louisiana ($2.48), Missouri ($2.48), Tennessee ($2.49) and Alabama ($2.49).
  • About 87 percent of U.S. stations are still selling gas for less than $3 per gallon. A year ago, 99.99 percent of stations were selling gas above that price. About 25 percent of U.S. stations are still selling gas for less than $2.50 per gallon.
  • The most common price in the country today is $2.599 per gallon, which compares to $3.599 per gallon a year ago.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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.

National Pump Prices Likely Near a Seasonal Peak

June 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015) After a steady increase in recent months, it is possible that national pump prices may be near a seasonal peak. Gas prices surged this spring due to a rally in crude oil prices from multi-year lows, seasonal refinery maintenance, the changeover to summer-blend gasoline and domestic refinery issues that have impacted regional production. Today’s national average of $2.75 per gallon is fractions of a penny higher than one week ago and 14 cents more per gallon than one month ago.

While pump prices have been rising, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline remains significantly discounted versus this same date last year (-92 cents) and consumers are on target to pay the lowest prices at the pump during the summer driving season since 2009. Relatively low prices at the pump, combined with a recovering economy, have contributed to drivers traveling more during the first quarter of the year than any other year on record.

There is the possibility that some consumers could see prices temporarily climb higher later this summer if severe weather impacts refinery production. The Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway and spans from June 1-November 30.  This year’s season is expected to be below-normal, meaning between three to six tropical storms have a 70 percent chance of becoming hurricanes. These storms have the potential to disrupt production, refining and distribution. Shortages in supply could lead to regional price spikes and/or shortages in select markets should any tropical storms or hurricanes make landfall.

Midwestern drivers continue to face higher prices as a result of supply issues in the region. Another major refinery located in Toledo, Ohio is expected to be offline for two to three weeks while the fluid catalytic cracking unit is replaced, and prices in surrounding states will likely be impacted. This latest outage is in addition to ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. refinery and Citgo’s refinery in Lemont, Ill., which are both running at reduced rates.

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While Midwest prices are pointed higher, West Coast prices continue to lead the market by posting the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline. California ($3.69) leads the market and is approximately 40 cents more per gallon than second place Hawaii ($3.30). Nevada ($3.30), Alaska ($3.30) and Washington ($3.06) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices in the coastal states of Mississippi and South Carolina are the lowest in the nation, both at $2.44 per gallon.

Pump prices are relatively stable week-over-week, with averages moving by +/- 3 cents per gallon in 44 states and Washington, D.C. Weekly comparisons show that drivers in 37 states and Washington, D.C. are paying more to refuel their vehicles; however the increases were less dramatic than recent Fuel Gauge Reports. The average price is up by a nickel or more per gallon in four states: Ohio (+8 cents), Montana (+6 cents), Delaware (+6 cents) and Georgia (+5 cents). Of the 13 states where the price has fallen since one week ago, California (-7 cents) is the only state posting a discount at the pump of more than a nickel per gallon.

Consumers nationwide are paying more to refuel their vehicles month-over-month, and with the exception of California (+1 cent), the price has climbed by a nickel or more per gallon in every state. Retail averages have jumped by more than a dime per gallon in 36 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, with the largest premiums per gallon paid by consumers in Ohio (+36 cents), and Illinois (+30 cents).

Yearly price comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts in the price at the pump and drivers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. are saving more than 50 cents per gallon. The only two states outside of this trend are the West Coast states of California (-43 cents) and Nevada (-50 cents) where the price for retail gasoline has recently climbed due to regional refinery issues. Averages are down by $1 or more in 12 states and Washington, D.C. versus this same date last year, with motorists in Michigan (-$1.16), Indiana (-$1.16) and Ohio (-$1.15) saving the most per gallon.

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Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rallied to close out this past week, following reports of violence in Saudi Arabia and weekly U.S. rig counts falling by double-digits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, domestic gasoline demand is trending higher than in previous years but the impact of this increase on retail gasoline prices is uncertain. Additionally, it is generally expected that OPEC will sustain its current output levels when it meets on June 5 in Vienna, keeping the global market oversupplied in the near term and placing a ceiling on how high crude prices could move.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $2.62 higher at $60.30 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Memorial Day Gas Prices Highest of the Year

May 26th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reached its highest price of the year on Memorial Day ($2.74) after rising for 39 of 41 days. Today’s average price of $2.74 per gallon is fractions of a penny less than yesterday. Drivers are paying three cents more than one week ago, eight cents more than two-weeks ago and 21 cents more than one month ago to refuel their vehicles. Despite the overall trend of rising averages, consumers paid the lowest prices at the pump for the holiday since 2010. Significant yearly discounts remain, due to relatively low prices for crude oil, with today’s national average representing a savings of 92 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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Pump prices have recently trended higher due to an increase in the price of global crude and localized refinery issues, particularly in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Although West Coast states continue to post the nation’s highest state averages, the most dramatic weekly increases have been in the Midwest, largely attributed to production issues in that market. ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. refinery is continuing to operate at reduced production levels, and CITGO’s refinery in Lemont, Ill. is reportedly scheduled to conduct maintenance work in the coming days, which could also add additional volatility to the regional market. Motorists on the West Coast are not completely out of the woods, and the residual impacts of reduced supply could keep prices high in the coming weeks.

California ($3.76), Nevada ($3.32), Hawaii ($3.28), Alaska ($3.27) and Washington ($3.05) are the five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. A total of seven states, all in the western region, are posting averages above $3 per gallon. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.43), Mississippi ($2.44) and Oklahoma ($2.45) are paying the lowest prices at the pump, and their prices are discounted by more than $1.25 per gallon compared to California.

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The impact of refinery issues is seen in both weekly and bi-weekly price comparisons. Week-over-week, the average price for retail gasoline has moved higher in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The Midwestern states of Illinois (+13 cents) and Ohio (+10 cents), are the only two posting double-digit increases over this period and the price is up by a nickel or more in a total of 10 states. California (-5 cents), the nation’s most expensive market, is outside of this trend and is joined by Oklahoma and Arizona where the price has fallen by fractions of a penny since one week ago. Two-week price comparisons also reflect this trend of rising prices. The average price for retail gasoline has increased in every state and Washington D.C., over this same period, and the most dramatic increases in price are Ohio (+23 cents), Illinois (+21 cents) and Michigan (+20 cents).

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Monthly comparisons also reflect overall increases in the price of retail gasoline. With the exception of Florida (+9 cents), pump prices are up by a dime or more per gallon nationwide. The largest jumps in price are on the West Coast where refinery issues have impacted prices over a longer stretch, and drivers in Nevada (+39 cents), California (+38 cents) and Utah (+33) are paying the largest month-over-month premiums.

Compared to this same date last year, drivers nationwide are paying significantly less at the pump. The magnitude of savings has narrowed somewhat due to rising prices, and motorists in just 11 states and Washington, D.C. are now saving $1 or more per gallon – down 10 states since last week’s report. Ohio (-$1.13), Kentucky (-$1.12) and Michigan (-$1.12) are saving the most per gallon at the pump, while California (-37 cents) and Nevada (-46 cents) are the only two states with discounts below 50 cents per gallon.

Volatility is expected to continue to characterize global oil prices, with a number of variables potentially impacting the sensitive balance between supply and demand.  Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are persisting, largely due to violence by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which adds a level of risk to regional oil production. At the same time, the strength of the U.S. dollar is improving on the heels of improved inflation data. A stronger dollar makes crude oil relatively more expensive for those overseas, which puts downward pressure on prices. Both factors are likely to influence the global price in the near term and market watchers are closely monitoring the ultimate impact on the global price of crude.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $1 lower at $59.72 per barrel.

Pump Prices Surge Approaching Memorial Day Weekend

May 18th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015) One week from the Memorial Day holiday, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased on 32 of the past 34 days, reaching today’s price $2.71 per gallon. Consumers are paying a nickel per gallon more than one week ago and 26 cents more per gallon than one month ago. Despite the national average continuing to register new highs for 2015, drivers are still experiencing significant yearly savings at the pump and today’s price is discounted by 94 cents year-over-year, making it the lowest average for this date since 2009.

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Pump prices have moved higher nationwide in recent months, largely due to the global rally in crude prices. While consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. have felt the impact of more expensive crude oil, gas prices in several regions have seen more dramatic increases due to refinery problems.  The West Coast continues to lead the market with some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline due to localized refinery issues over the past several months, which have kept supplies tight and prices tilted higher. This region is relatively isolated from other markets and is more dependent on in-region production, making it harder for the market to adjust to supply disruptions.

While West Coast prices have surged higher for weeks, prices across the Midwest have posted among the most dramatic jumps in the past week. The Midwestern increase has been due to regional production issues, including a problem at ExxonMobil’s 248,000 barrel per day Joliet refinery in Channahon, Ill. While reports of reduced output from the facility sparked sharp increases at the pump for Midwestern drivers, wholesale gasoline prices were more stable today, though the refinery may operate at reduced rates for about two weeks.

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For the 12th consecutive week, California ($3.81) leads the market with drivers paying an average price that is more than $1 per gallon above the national average. Nevada ($3.30), Hawaii ($3.25), Alaska ($3.21), Oregon ($3.02) and Washington ($3.02) round out the most expensive markets and are the only states posting averages above $3 per gallon. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.38), Mississippi ($2.42) and Louisiana ($2.43) are paying the least to fill their tanks.

With the exception of Pennsylvania, where the price has moved lower by fractions of a penny, consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying more at the pump week-over-week. Ohio (+12 cents) and Michigan (+11 cents) are both posting double-digit increases over this same period, and 17 states are registering premiums of a nickel or more per gallon versus one week ago.

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Monthly comparisons reflect sizable movement in pump prices nationwide. The price at the pump has jumped by a quarter or more per gallon in 13 states, with the largest increases in California (+68 cents), Nevada (+50 cents), Arizona (+41 cents) and Utah (+37 cents).

Contrary to weekly and monthly price comparisons, motorists nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles year-over-year. The price is discounted by $1 or more in 21 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest savings in Michigan (-$1.13), Kentucky (-$1.13) and Indiana (-$1.12), despite the recent price spike in the Midwest.

The global oil market remains oversupplied, but market watchers are closely monitoring U.S. production and the recent outbreak of violence in the Middle East for any impact that could shift this balance. Volatility will likely continue to characterize the global market in the near term as traders closely watch the balance between supply and demand. In particular, more expensive crude could lead to an increase in production and supply, which could put a ceiling on the current rally in price.  Speculators are also interpreting the latest action by the so-called Islamic State, who seized control of the city of Ramadi, Iraq, as a reminder of regional instability in the near term.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 19 cents and settled at $59.69 per barrel.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased for 26 of the previous 27 days to $2.66 per gallon, which is the highest average of the year. Drivers are paying about four cents more per gallon than one week ago and 27 cents more per gallon than one month ago. However, relatively low crude costs continue to translate to significant savings at the pump for consumers. Today’s national average is about a dollar less than a year ago and is at the cheapest level for this date since 2009.

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AAA predicts that automotive travel this Memorial Day holiday will be up 5.3 percent (33 million travelers) compared to last year’s holiday weekend, which would be the highest volume in ten years. Gas prices may not change all that much by the holiday weekend, which would result in the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.

Regional refinery issues on the West Coast continue to push prices higher in a handful of states, with the majority of the nation’s most expensive markets located in the region. California ($3.72) is the nation’s most expensive retail gasoline market, and is joined by four other states posting averages of $3 or more per gallon: Hawaii ($3.23), Nevada ($3.22), Alaska ($3.15) and Oregon ($3.00). The price at the pump is above $2.50 per gallon in 36 states and Washington, D.C. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in South Carolina ($2.37), Missouri ($2.39) and Mississippi ($2.40) are the paying the lowest averages at the pump, although they too have seen prices inch upward since last week’s report.

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Drivers in 49 states and Washington, D.C. are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one week ago. Twenty-two states are paying a nickel or more per gallon, led by Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota with week-over-week increases of nine cents per gallon. The only state to buck this trend is Michigan, where the average price fell by six cents per gallon over this same period.

Month-over-month, the price has moved higher in every state and Washington, D.C. by a dime or more per gallon.  Pump prices are up by a quarter or more in 22 states, with the largest monthly increases taking place in the western United States. Consumers in California (+61 cents), Nevada (+44 cents), Utah (+39 cents) and Arizona (+39 cents) have seen the largest increases over this period, due largely to the refinery issues in the region.

Although motorists nationwide continue to pay significantly lower gas prices, rising averages are beginning to erode savings in a number of states.  Prices are lower by a dollar or more in 30 states and Washington, D.C. year-over-year, which is 11 states fewer than one week ago. Consumers in Ohio (-$1.23), Michigan (-$1.18) and Kentucky (-$1.15) are saving the most per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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The price of crude has moved higher since the middle of March due to slowing U.S. production, a weakening U.S. dollar and speculation of demand growth from China. Despite the price increase, many market watchers believe that the recent rally may be nearing an end due to oversupply continuing to characterize the global market, effectively putting a ceiling on how high the price can go. The global oil cartel OPEC appears to be maintaining its strategy of high production levels and is scheduled to convene in June to reassess supply quotas, but in the meantime all eyes remain on U.S. production levels based on its new position as swing producer.

The domestic benchmark WTI posted a weekly gain for the seventh consecutive week but remains significantly below the 2014 high of $107.95 per barrel. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled 45 cents higher at $59.39 per barrel.

Average Gas Prices Up 19 Days in a Row

May 4th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, May 4, 2015) The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline has moved higher for 19 consecutive days for a total of 23 cents per gallon, due to higher crude oil costs and a number of refinery issues. Today’s price of $2.62 per gallon represents the most expensive average price of the year. Motorists are paying eight cents more per gallon than one week ago and 22 cents more than one month ago to refuel their vehicles. Although the national average is currently moving higher, relatively lower crude prices continue to provide consumers with significant year-over-year-savings and today’s price is $1.06 per gallon less than a year ago.

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The price at the pump often increases in the spring due to seasonal maintenance, rising demand and the higher costs associated with producing more expensive summer-blend gasoline, which is required in many parts of the country to combat emissions in warmer temperatures. Unexpected refinery issues are also keeping upward pressure on the national average and consumers may see prices rise a bit higher over the next few weeks. Despite this trend, retail averages are expected to continue to post significant year-over-year discounts, and barring any major supply disruptions, the national average is expected to remain below $3 per gallon throughout 2015.

The West Coast continues to lead the nation in posting the highest prices for retail gasoline due to regional refinery issues that have caused prices to race higher. California ($3.71) remains the nation’s most expensive market and is joined by three other states with averages above $3 per gallon: Hawaii ($3.19), Nevada ($3.17) and Alaska ($3.09). The majority of states (28 and Washington, D.C.) are posting averages above $2.50 per gallon. Rising crude prices and increased seasonal demand are expected to keep upward pressure on the price at the pump in the short-term. South Carolina ($2.33), Missouri ($2.34) and Oklahoma ($2.36) are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline, but even these states have seen pump prices move higher over the last few days due to the aforementioned seasonal factors.

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With the exception of Ohio (-6 cents), drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying more for gas week-over-week. The price has climbed higher by a nickel or more in 40 states and Washington, D.C., and prices have increased by a dime or more per gallon in nine states over this same period. Weekly price comparisons show that drivers on the West Coast have seen the most dramatic moves in the price at pump, with the largest increases occurring in : California (+30 cents), Nevada (+23 cents), Arizona (+15 cents) and Oregon (+14 cents).

Monthly comparisons show that gas prices are up by a nickel or more in every state and Washington, D.C., and the majority of motorists (42 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying a dime or more per gallon. Motorists in California (+54 cents), Nevada (+38 cents), New Jersey (+34 cents) and Utah (+34 cents) are paying noticeably more at the pump versus one month ago. Gas prices have increased by a quarter or more per gallon over this same period in 12 states.

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Despite recent increases, consumers continue to benefit in the form of yearly savings at the pump. Retail averages are down nationwide year-over-year and the price at the pump is discounted by $1 or more in 41 states and Washington, D.C. The largest savings are in Ohio (-$1.22), Kentucky (-$1.21) and West Virginia (-$1.20).

The price of crude rallied to close out the month, due to a slowdown in U.S. production, a weakening dollar and growing instability in the Middle East. U.S. oil supplies remain at record highs, but the growth in production has reportedly slowed in recent weeks, which could indicate a new balance in supply and demand. The market also is focused on the Strait of Hormuz – a narrow waterway off the Iranian coast that provides access to major oil-exporting ports in the region. The U.S. is increasing its naval presence in the region after Iran unexpectedly seized a container ship attempting to pass through the strait. Historically this strait has often been at the center of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and with the two countries also attempting to reach a nuclear agreement by June 30, both sides are carefully weighing options and the perceived tension has put a bit of upward pressure on the global price of crude.

While WTI is at nearly a four month high, it is unclear whether oil prices will remain at this level. U.S. oil-drilling rigs have reached their lowest level since October 2010, and U.S. oil storage remains at an all-time high. Domestic oil production companies are keeping a watchful eye on the price and they could ramp up or resume production in order to capitalize on any upward movement.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down 50 cents and settled at $59.15 per barrel.

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