December 14th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, December 14, 2015) U.S. drivers are paying the lowest average price for regular unleaded gasoline since 2009, and the national average is one cent away from dropping below $2 per gallon. These lower gas prices have been largely driven by the falling price of crude oil, which begins this week at its lowest mark in more than five years. U.S. average gas prices are 79 per gallon less than the 2015 peak, and the national average has moved lower for 33 of the past 38 days for a total savings of 21 cents per gallon. The average price at the pump is down two cents on the week, 16 cents on the month and 54 cents on the year.
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, closed out last week with a Friday settlement of $35.62 per barrel, a price not seen since the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Crude oil has tumbled approximately 60 percent compared to June 2014 as global supply continues to outpace demand. This imbalance is likely to continue into 2016, which should keep a ceiling on oil prices. Barring any disruptions in supply, consumers are expected to continue to benefit from noticeable fuel savings.
Retail averages are below $2 per gallon in 26 states. South Carolina ($1.79), Missouri ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79) are the nation’s least expensive markets, and drivers in these states are saving nearly $1 per gallon compared to the state with the highest average, which is Hawaii ($2.75). California ($2.65), Nevada ($2.49), Washington ($2.42) and Alaska ($2.39) round out the top five most expensive markets for gasoline.
Gas prices are holding relatively steady and have moved by +/- 3 cents or less in 29 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices fall over this same period, and averages are down a nickel or more per gallon in six states, led by: Delaware (-8 cents), Minnesota (-6 cents) and North Dakota (-6 cents). Averages in seven states have moved higher on the week, led by Michigan (+8 cents).
Averages have fallen nationwide month-over-month, and with the exception of Alaska (-1 cent), consumers are benefitting from monthly savings of more than a nickel per gallon in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are down double-digits in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one month ago, and drivers in eight states are saving a quarter or more per gallon. The largest monthly discounts are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-36 cents), Minnesota (-30 cents) and Michigan (-30 cents).
Pump prices typically fall during the winter months due to reduced demand for gasoline. Motorists nationwide continue to experience year-over-year savings, though today’s average is the smallest year-over-year savings of 2015. Alaska (-99 cents) and Hawaii (-96 cents) are the only two states where averages are down by more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year. Consumers in 42 states and Washington, D.C. are saving 50 cents or more per gallon versus this same date last year, and California (-23 cents) is the only state posting a yearly savings of less than a quarter per gallon.
With both Brent and WTI reaching their cheapest levels since the global economic crisis, attention is now focused on the Federal Reserve’s potential action to raise interest rates. A strong U.S. jobs report has contributed to rumors that the Fed may increase its rate for the first time since 2008, which could further impact the global oil market. An increase in interest rates would be expected to result in a stronger U.S. dollar, which in turn makes oil (priced in U.S. dollars) a relatively more expensive investment for those holding other currencies, making it a less attractive investment. This could further exacerbate the market’s current oversupply and keep downward pressure on the global price of crude oil.
The U.S. oil rig count fell by its largest weekly increment in nearly three months (28 rigs), though strong production continues to oversupply the market. Members of Congress are also working on a budget deal that could include an end to the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. An end to the ban would allow unprocessed crude oil produced in the U.S. to enter the global oil market, which could impact both domestic production and global supply.
WTI opened the trading session below $35 per barrel. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.14 and settled at $35.62 per barrel. This closing price represented a loss of nearly ten percent on the week.
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.
December 7th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON – December 7, 2015) The national average is less than a penny higher than the 2015 low (January 26), and should soon fall below the $2 per gallon mark for the first time since 2009. Pump prices have fallen for 29 of the past 31 days, and today’s average price of $2.03 represents a savings of one cent per gallon on the week and 19 cents on the month. Significant yearly savings persist, and gas prices are discounted by 65 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.
During the winter months demand for gasoline typically declines, and pump prices tend to move lower as a result. Following a busier than usual fall maintenance season at refineries, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that refinery production is outpacing both 2014 and current demand. U.S. crude oil stocks are also within striking distance of an all-time high, and as a result, questions about continued production and storage capacity are beginning to arise. This combination of ample production and increasing gasoline inventories are likely to keep gas prices relatively low, and barring any unforeseen shifts in market fundamentals, averages are likely to continue to decline leading into 2016.
Hawaii ($2.79) leads the nation and is the only state where drivers are paying an average price above $2.75 per gallon. Regional neighbors California ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.44) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. South Carolina ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Oklahoma ($1.83) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline, and consumers in a total of 23 states are paying an average below $2 per gallon.
Pump prices have been relatively steady over the past week, moving by +/-3 cents in the vast majority of states (45) during this span. Averages are down in 41 states and Washington, D.C. versus one week ago; however, prices declined at smaller increments than in recent weeks. Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-6 cents) are posting the largest savings on the week and are the only two states where drivers are experiencing weekly savings of more than a nickel per gallon. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in nine states are paying more to refuel their vehicles compared to one week ago, led by Ohio (+6 cents).
Drivers nationwide are benefiting from monthly savings at the pump, largely due to gasoline production returning to levels not seen since the beginning of the seasonal turnaround. Gas prices have fallen by double-digit increments in 35 states and Washington, D.C. since one month ago, and motorists in 14 states are saving more than a quarter per gallon in the price at the pump over this same period. The largest month-over-month drops in the price of retail gasoline have been in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-53 cents), Wisconsin (-44 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-36 cents).
The relatively low price of crude oil is helping to sustain year-over-year discounts in the price of gasoline nationwide. Retail averages are down more than 50 cents per gallon in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in a dozen states are saving at least 75 cents per gallon versus this same date last year. Alaska (-$1.05) and Hawaii (-$1.00), two of the nation’s most expensive markets, are also the only two states where drivers are saving $1 or more per gallon compared to one year ago.
OPEC’s decision at its meeting last week to sustain its current production levels sent ripples through the global oil market and has contributed to lower oil prices. The cartel is not scheduled to reconvene until June 2016, and in the interim the imbalance between supply and demand will likely persist. Market watchers will remain focused on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates on the heels of a strong U.S. jobs report. A higher interest rate typically leads to a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes oil relatively more expensive for those holding foreign currencies. The combination of these factors has the ability to further exacerbate the global oil market’s state of oversupply and keep downward pressure on prices.
The domestic oil market is also reflecting signs of oversupply. Both crude oil and gasoline inventories are approaching record levels even as lower prices impact exploration and production. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic oil and gas extraction sector lost upwards of 2,400 jobs during the month of November. This follows the October report which showed the sector shedding approximately 2,700 jobs.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.11 and settled at $39.97 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.
November 30th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(Washington – November 30, 2015) Drivers this year paid the lowest gas prices for Thanksgiving since 2008, and the national average has now fallen for 24 straight days. Today’s average price of $2.04 per gallon is within fractions of a penny of the multi-year low reached this January, and the national average remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas. Gas prices are down three cents per gallon for the week, 14 cents over the last month and 74 cents compared to a year ago.
The national average has dropped for 24 of the past 30 days, largely due to the resolution of unplanned and planned refinery maintenance. The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration points to rising refinery runs and output reaching its highest rates since September. Demand for gasoline typically declines during the winter months and the gasoline market may become even more oversupplied in the near term, which should keep gas prices relatively low. Barring any unanticipated disruptions in supply, or swings in the price of crude oil, retail averages are expected to continue to fall leading into 2016.
Pump prices in nearly half (22) of the states are now below $2 per gallon, and drivers in the Midwestern states of Michigan ($1.81), Missouri ($1.81) and Ohio ($1.82) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump. Hawaii ($2.81) leads the market and is joined by regional neighbors California ($2.70), Nevada ($2.53), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.38) as the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.
Retail averages are down in the vast majority of states (46) week-over-week; however, prices have fallen more slowly than in recent weeks. Drivers in a dozen states are saving a nickel or more per gallon on the week, led by Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), North Dakota (-7 cents) and Wisconsin (-7 cents). Michigan is the only state where prices have moved lower by double-digit increments over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, pump prices have moved higher in four states, with Indiana (+6 cents) the only state posting an increase of more than fractions of a penny.
Motorists continue to experience significant monthly savings in the price at the pump, largely due to the completion of seasonal refinery maintenance. Averages are down in 45 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month, and consumers in the majority of these states (34) are saving a nickel or more per gallon. Drivers in a total of 15 states are enjoying savings of a quarter or more per gallon with the largest monthly discounts in the Midwestern states of Michigan (-47 cents), Wisconsin (-38 cents), Ohio (-36 cents) and Illinois (-35 cents). Pump prices moved higher in five states over this same period, all by less than a nickel per gallon, led by Oregon (+4 cents), New Jersey (+3 cents) and Washington (+3 cents).
Consumers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of retail gasoline, thanks to the relatively low price of crude oil. Averages in 22 states have dropped 75 cents per gallon or more year-over-year, and motorists in Alaska (-$1.13), Michigan (-$1.06) and Hawaii (-$1.05) are saving more than $1 per gallon over this same period. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-45 cents) remain the only two states where drivers are not saving at least 50 cents per gallon versus one year ago.
Oversupply and a strengthening U.S. dollar continue to impact global oil markets, keeping downward pressure on the price of crude oil. Geopolitical tensions between Russia and Turkey have yet to lead to any sustained increases in prices, and early reports indicate that tensions between the two countries will have little impact on production in the Middle East. OPEC is scheduled to meet this Friday, and analysts expect that the cartel is unlikely to reduce production despite the relatively low price of crude oil.
Domestic crude oil inventories remain elevated compared to previous years, and talks are now shifting toward the potential impacts of a surplus in gasoline inventories. WTI opened this week’s formal trading posting gains after closing out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down $1.33, settling at $41.71 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.
November 23rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, November 23, 2015) Approximately 42 million Americans are expected to take a road trip this Thanksgiving, and drivers should pay the lowest pump prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2008. Retail averages have fallen for 17 consecutive days for a total savings of 15 cents per gallon, and the national average remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by the Christmas holiday. Already, more than half of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon. Today’s national average price of $2.07 per gallon represents a savings of nine cents per gallon versus one week ago, and 14 cents per gallon on the month. Significant yearly savings persist and pump prices are down 75 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.
Midwestern refineries continue to come back online following both planned and unplanned maintenance work. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, production in the region reached its highest rates in nearly two months, which has also helped gas prices recover in the region following recent spikes due to unexpected outages. As a result of more supply entering the regional market, the largest weekly and monthly declines in the price at the pump are localized to this region and drivers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana are benefitting from noticeable savings in the price of retail gasoline.
Demand for gasoline typically declines during the month of November, and barring any unexpected disruptions in supply, the national average is expected to move lower leading into 2016.
The list of states with retail averages below $2 per gallon has added seven new members since one week ago, for a total of 18 states. Pump prices have moved markedly lower in the Midwest week-over-week, and Indiana ($1.82), Ohio ($1.83) and Oklahoma ($1.85) edged out Alabama ($1.85) and South Carolina ($1.85) as the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline. Hawaii ($2.83) is the market leader, where drivers are paying more than $1 per gallon more than the nation’s least expensive market Indiana. Regional neighbors California ($2.73), Nevada ($2.59), Washington ($2.48) and Alaska ($2.40) join Hawaii in the rankings as the top five most expensive markets.
With the exception of Alaska (+2 cents), drivers nationwide are enjoying weekly discounts in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages in the majority (36) of states are down a nickel or more per gallon, and consumers in a dozen states have seen prices fall double-digits from one week ago. The largest savings over this same period are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin (-24 cents), Michigan (-23 cents), Indiana (-20 cents) and Ohio (-18 cents).
Pump prices are down in the vast majority of states (47) month-over-month and motorists in 36 states and Washington, D.C., are enjoying savings of a nickel or more per gallon over this same period. Averages have fallen by at least ten cents in more than half of the states (26), with the largest monthly savings experienced by drivers in Michigan (-43 cents), Illinois (-35 cents), Wisconsin (-35 cents) and Indiana (-34 cents). Consumers in a total of 14 states are saving a quarter or more at the pump over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in Oregon (+2 cents), Washington (+2 cents) and New Jersey (+1 cents) are paying monthly premiums in the price of gas.
The relatively low price of crude oil continues to provide consumers with noticeable yearly savings in the price of retail gasoline. Pump prices are discounted by 75 cents per gallon or more in 26 states, and drivers in Alaska (-$1.15) and Hawaii (-$1.08) are saving more than $1 per gallon year-over-year. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-42 cents) are the only two states where drivers are not saving at least 50 cents per gallon at the pump compared to one year ago.
Crude oil supply from a number of production countries including Russia and Saudi Arabia is expected to sustain the global oil market’s current oversupply and keep market fundamentals bearish in the near term. Projections of slower than expected economic growth from China, combined with the impact of a strengthening U.S. dollar, are also likely to keep the market out of balance and put a ceiling on global oil prices. When the value of the U.S. dollar increases, West Texas Intermediate crude oil, priced in U.S. dollars, becomes a relatively less attractive investment for those holding currencies overseas.
The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration points to crude oil inventories being up more than 100 million barrels from this time last year. Domestic inventories are nearing all-time record levels, which contributed to WTI falling temporarily below $40 per barrel last week. WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 15 cents settling at $40.39 per barrel.
November 17th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla. (November 17, 2015) – AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase over the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most since 2007. With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.
“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones.”
Despite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain cautious about their finances. However, gas prices remain well below 2014 levels, providing an early holiday bonus to the more than 89 percent of holiday travelers who will drive to their destinations.
“One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway,” continued Doney.
Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving
Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.
Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years expected
Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $265 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving. Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.15, 65 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).
Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.
#AAAToTheRescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway
Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.
September 3rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: Sept. 3, 2015
Americans to Pay Lowest Labor Day Gas Prices Since 2004
- Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices since 2004 for the busy Labor Day weekend. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.44 per gallon, which is 99 cents per gallon less than a year ago. U.S. consumers should save more than $1 billion on gasoline over the holiday weekend compared to 2014, with many drivers saving about $15-$25 on every trip to the gas station.
- “Americans should find good deals on gas prices in most parts of the country heading into the busy Labor Day weekend,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is unbelievable that drivers are ending their summer vacations with the lowest gas prices for this time of year in more than a decade.”
- Average U.S. gas prices have dropped about 37 cents per gallon since hitting a 2015 peak price of $2.80 on June 15. Average gas prices have dropped due to lower crude oil costs and abundant petroleum supplies.
- Gas prices averaged $2.60 per gallon in August, which was the lowest average for the month since 2005. The average price in August was about 15 cents per gallon less than in July.
- Gas prices remain relatively high compared to the cost of crude oil. WTI oil prices closed at $46.25 per barrel yesterday, which was similar to the cost of oil in January. Nevertheless, average gas prices are about 41 cents per gallon more expensive than the lowest daily average in January. Gas prices are higher than would otherwise be expected due to high demand and ongoing refinery problems, along with the higher cost to produce summer-blend gasoline that is required in many areas. When the market is running smoothly, gas prices generally drop about 2.4 cents per gallon for every $1 per barrel change in the cost of crude oil.
- Summer is the busiest time of the year for driving and millions of Americans are taking advantage of lower gas prices to travel more this year. New estimates by the Federal Highway Administration showed that U.S. driving topped 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of 2015, which was an all-time high. Increased driving results in higher fuel demand, which can lead to higher gas prices.
- A number of major refineries have experienced production problems this year, which has led to significantly higher regional prices when combined with high fuel demand. In August, BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. was forced to shut its largest crude distillation unit temporarily. Gas prices across the Midwest jumped in response with averages in some Great Lakes states up more than 50 cents per gallon in less than a week. BP was able to repair the facility faster than expected, and prices have returned nearly all of those gains, though at a much slower pace than the initial price spike.
- Gas prices remain relatively high on the West Coast, in part because ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, Calif. is still not operating at normal levels. The refinery experienced an explosion in the spring that sent gas prices in parts of California above $4 per gallon. Gas prices have since declined as supplies enter the market form other areas, yet gas prices in California and neighboring states remain near or above $3 per gallon. The refinery reportedly will ramp up in production in October as it completes repairs.
- Oil prices have experienced dramatic price swings in recent weeks. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at a high for the year of $61.43 per barrel on June 10. On August 24, the cost of crude oil dropped to $38.24 per barrel, which was the lowest closing price since early 2009. Oil prices have since moved upwards on updated domestic production data and rumors that OPEC may curtail production.
- Oil remains much cheaper than in recent years because of abundant supplies. Growing concerns about the Chinese economy, the likelihood of Iranian oil entering the market and strong domestic production have helped lower oil prices since June. The dramatic growth in the Chinese economy helped drive commodity prices higher in recent years, while the recent economic slowdown has helped to lower prices. Iran promises to unleash as much as a million barrel per day of oil into the market if economic sanctions on the country are lifted. Meanwhile, domestic crude oil production remains nearly 13 percent higher than a year ago, and U.S. commercial supplies are about 27 percent higher than a year ago.
- The average price of diesel was cheaper than gasoline for six days in August for the first time since 2009, due to seasonal factors and the elevated cost of gasoline. Today’s average price of diesel is $2.57 per gallon.
Gas Prices Could Fall Below $2 per Gallon by Christmas
- “Gas prices in many parts of the country could fall below $2 per gallon by Christmas if the cost of crude oil remains low,” continued Ash. “There is good reason to believe that cheaper oil costs, a seasonal decline in driving and the switchover to less costly winter-blend gasoline will continue to push down prices through the end of the year.”
- Gas prices generally drop after Labor Day, which is considered the end of the summer driving season. People typically drive less in the autumn and winter, which is when gas prices usually reach a low for the year.
- Refinery maintenance this autumn could slow, but not stop a decline in gas prices. Refineries typically conduct maintenance in the autumn and spring when demand for gasoline, diesel and heating oil is relatively low. Even as refineries conduct maintenance, gasoline supplies should continue to outstrip demand unless there are unexpected problems.
- Many parts of the country can switch over to less expensive, winter-blend gasoline on September 16. The EPA requires that parts of the country use summer-blend gasoline during hot-weather months to improve air quality, but this fuel is unnecessary once temperatures begin to cool. Occasionally, gas prices can increase temporarily in the days leading up the switchover deadline as supplies of remaining summer-blend gasoline tighten.
- Crude oil remains the primary wildcard in determining future gas prices. If OPEC cuts production, the Chinese economy grows stronger or if Iranian oil is unable to enter the market, then oil prices could rise and push up the cost of gasoline. There also is a possibility that oil prices could drop further in the coming months given the weaknesses in the global economy and because refineries conducting maintenance will need less crude oil.
- The price of oil briefly dipped below $40 per barrel last week. Historically, sustained oil prices below $40 per barrel have resulted in a national average price of gas below $2 per gallon.
- There is always the possibility that gas prices could rise due to a number of factors, such a major hurricane striking the U.S. Gulf Coast, higher crude oil prices or unexpected refinery problems.
Gas Under $2 per Gallon Growing More Common in the Southeast
- More than five percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon and those numbers are growing every day. Last year at this time there were zero stations selling gas under $2 per gallon.
- The average price of gas in South Carolina is $2.00 per gallon, and will likely fall below that mark before Labor Day weekend begins. Average prices in Alabama and Mississippi also may fall below $2 per gallon over the next week. The last time any state had an average below $2 per gallon was on February 26, when both Idaho and Utah were below that mark.
- The five most expensive state averages include: Alaska ($3.40), California ($3.31), Nevada ($3.11), Hawaii ($3.08) and Washington ($2.92). The states with the lowest average gas prices include South Carolina ($2.00), Alabama ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.06), Tennessee ($2.14) and Louisiana ($2.16).
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, email@example.com.
August 24th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, August 24, 2015) Average U.S. gas prices today are at the lowest levels for this time of year since 2004 due to the steep decline in the cost of crude oil. Gas prices have dropped recently despite ongoing refinery problems, and prices should continue to fall this autumn due to declining demand and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.59 per gallon, which is eight cents less than a week ago and 84 cents less than a year ago. Pump prices are now 21 cents per gallon below the 2015 peak price reached on June 15.
BP’s largest crude distillation unit at its Whiting, Indiana refinery remains out of commission, due to a malfunction reported on August 8 that triggered dramatically higher prices in the Great Lakes region. Repairs to the unit are reported to be ongoing, and the company has yet to release a date they expect the unit to return to production. However, BP has purchased additional fuel supply and met all of its contractual requirements to date. Although regional supply is still uncertain due to the outage, prices in the region have moved lower over the past week as speculation has built that supply issues might not be as dire as first worried.
Motorists in the Pacific Northwest continue to pay the nation’s highest averages, with five of the six states with averages above $3 per gallon located in this region. California ($3.47) leads the market, and is followed by regional neighbors Alaska ($3.43), Nevada ($3.18), Hawaii ($3.17) and Washington ($3.04) as the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.11) are paying the lowest average at the pump.
Weekly price comparisons continue to reflect volatile fluctuations in the balance between regional supply and demand. Just a week after Midwestern drivers were reeling from sharply higher pump prices, motorists in these same states have seen prices plummet week-over-week: Indiana (-19 cents), Ohio (-19 cents), Michigan (-19 cents), and Illinois (-13 cents). Consumers in 30 states are experiencing weekly savings of at least a nickel per gallon at the pump and a total of seven states are posting double-digit savings over this same period. Prices in every state are lower today than one week ago.
Retail averages are down in 44 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. The largest discounts in the price of retail gasoline were in California (-36 cents) and New Jersey (-25 cents). Consumers in 33 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying monthly savings of a dime or more per gallon at the pump. On the other end of the spectrum, retail averages have moved higher in six states over this same period. Prices are double-digits higher in five Midwestern states compared to one month ago: Indiana (+30 cents), Illinois (+26 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+16 cents), and Wisconsin (+16 cents).
Year-over-year discounts in the price of retail gasoline persist, largely due to the price of crude being significantly discounted from this date in 2014. Pump prices in nearly every state (48 and Washington, D.C.) are more than 50 cents per gallon lower than this same date last year. Motorists in 12 states are saving $1 or more per gallon in the average price to refuel their vehicles.
Crude oil prices have continued to sag, due to persisting global oversupply and concerns about the health of the Chinese economy. China is one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing economies. Evidence of slower than projected growth in the Chinese economy is rippling through global markets and has put additional downward pressure on the price of crude. Both crude oil benchmarks (Brent and West Texas Intermediate) ended last week at their lowest levels since March 2009, and the market is expected to remain volatile in the near term. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled at its lowest close since March 2, 2009 down 87 cents at $40.45 per barrel. These losses accelerated today as WTI opened the week trading $1.50 per barrel lower, well below the $40 per barrel threshold.
August 17th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, August 17, 2105) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline ended a 27-day streak of daily declines last week and has since increased for six straight days. Today’s average price of $2.67 per gallon is an increase of eight cents per gallon versus one week ago, due largely to a new refinery problem in the Midwest. Despite recently rising prices, drivers are saving nine cents per gallon month-over-month and continue to enjoy significant yearly savings with today’s average discounted 79 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.
Motorists in the Midwest are familiar with volatile prices during the summer driving season, yet it is very rare to see the magnitude of the price jumps that occurred over the past week, particularly in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Prices in the region moved markedly higher on the heels of news that BP had unexpectedly shutdown the largest of its three crude distillation units (CDU) at its Whiting, Indiana refinery on Saturday, August 8 for unscheduled repair work. The refinery is capable of producing 430,000 barrels of refined product per day, and the shutdown of the facility’s CDU has noticeably impacted supply within the region. BP is reportedly working to meet its fuel supply obligations and has yet to report when it expects the unit to resume production, though initial reports indicate it may take a month or longer to repair. While the Great Lakes region has experienced the largest price increases, drivers in neighboring states and in the Central United States also have seen prices rise over the past week in response to this latest refinery problem.
Retail averages on the West Coast also remain volatile due to changes in the balance between supply and demand. California ($3.58) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and is joined by Alaska ($3.47), Nevada ($3.22), Hawaii ($3.20) and Illinois ($3.16) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets. Consumers in South Carolina ($2.18) and Alabama ($2.21) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump.
Week-over-week the average price at the pump has climbed higher in 20 states. Pump prices in the Midwest have skyrocketed due to the aforementioned refinery issues. Motorists in Indiana have seen prices jump by 59 cents per gallon over this period, and similar price surges occurred in the neighboring states of Illinois (+56 cents), Michigan (+51 cents), Ohio (+44 cents) and Wisconsin (+39 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are down in 30 states and Washington D.C., and have fallen in a less dramatic fashion with the largest declines in New Jersey (-5 cents), Rhode Island (-5 cents) and Delaware (-5 cents).
Drivers in the majority of states are experiencing monthly savings at the pump. Retail averages have moved lower in 39 states and Washington, D.C., month-over-month, and price comparisons in 30 states and Washington, D.C., are reflecting double-digit savings. The largest discounts in price over this same period are in California (-30 cents), Delaware (-23 cents) and North Carolina (-21 cents). Motorists in 11 states are paying monthly premiums at the pump, led by Indiana (+38 cents), Illinois (+32 cents), Michigan (+26 cents), and Wisconsin (+25 cents).
The relatively low price of crude remains evident in the significant year-over-year savings at the pump. Pump prices are discounted by $1 or more in five states compared to this same date last year: Hawaii (-$1.11), Connecticut (-$1.06), Vermont (-$1.06), Alabama (-$1.00) and New Hampshire (-$1.00), and drivers in more than half of states (34 states and Washington, D.C.) are enjoying yearly savings of 75 cents or more per gallon.
Market fundamentals continue to support the price of crude moving lower in the near term due to global oversupply. In addition to reports confirming the likelihood of sustained production from both OPEC and higher cost production countries like the United States, which has kept downward pressure on the price of crude, the market is now responding to reports that the Japanese economy is shrinking. Both exports and consumer spending fell in Japan from April to June, which has been viewed as yet another signal that supply will likely outpace demand in the near term.
West Texas Intermediate opened the week trading at a six-year low due to this evidence of continued global crude oversupply and weakening economies. This comes on the heels of WTI closing out last week at $42.50 per barrel, up slightly on the day.
August 10th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, August 10, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 26 consecutive days, reaching today’s average of $2.59 per gallon. This is the longest streak of consecutive declines since January, and pump prices have moved lower by 19 cents per gallon over this period. Drivers are saving six cents per gallon week-over-week, and 17 cents per gallon month-over-month. The relatively low price of crude continues to provide consumers with significant yearly savings, and today’s average gas price is 89 cents per gallon lower than this same date last year.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the domestic benchmark for crude oil, has reached its lowest price since March 2015, and market fundamentals point to prices moving lower in the near term. Oversupply continues to characterize the oil market, and according to the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), refinery utilization rates are running at record highs. The monthly average price of crude oil currently accounts for approximately 40 percent of the price consumers pay at the pump, and with WTI posting its sixth consecutive week of losses, pump prices are likely to post notable declines leading up to the Labor Day holiday.
California ($3.58) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, though prices in that state have fallen for 14 consecutive days for a total savings of 23 cents per gallon. Regional neighbors Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.23), Nevada ($3.20), Washington ($3.13) and Oregon ($3.04) are the only other states posting averages above $3 per gallon, and this region remains the nation’s most expensive market. On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in South Carolina ($2.20) are paying the nation’s lowest prices at the pump.
Regional volatility is reflected in weekly price comparisons, with the largest movements in price occurring in states where refineries have completed repairs or are currently undergoing maintenance. With the exception of Ohio (+10 cents), consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are experiencing weekly savings in the price at the pump. While prices in Ohio have risen over the past week, Ohioan motorists are still enjoying significant savings (20 cents) compared to a month ago. Drivers in California (-15 cents), Minnesota (-11 cents), Oklahoma (-10 cents) and Iowa (-10 cents) are experiencing the largest weekly discounts in price, and drivers in a total of 36 states are saving at least a nickel per gallon in at the pump week-over-week.
The average price at the pump has moved lower in 48 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Motorists in 35 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices move lower by double-digit increments over this same period, with the largest drops in price seen in Michigan (-36 cents), Indiana (-32 cents) and Kentucky (-31 cents). Outside of this trend prices have climbed higher, although in a less dramatic fashion, in Colorado (+9 cents) and Alaska (fractions of a penny) compared to one month ago.
Yearly comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts in the average price for retail gasoline. The vast majority of drivers (47 states and Washington, D.C) are saving 75 cents or more at the pump, and retail averages are down by $1 or more in seven states over this same period. The largest year-over-year discounts in the price at the pump are seen in Indiana (-$1.13), Michigan (-$1.10) and Hawaii (-$1.10).
Expectations that the global oil market will remain oversupplied in the near term are keeping downward pressure on the price of crude. The Chinese economy continues to show signs of weakness, which increases concerns that this expected driver of global consumption may not be poised to help counter the market’s oversupply. The global oil market is also paying close attention to the potential for Iranian oil to return to market as early as this fall, as well as high production from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s swing producer.
Domestic focus has shifted to the potential for a glut in gasoline due to strong refinery runs and the potential for demand to drop as the summer-driving season concludes. In addition, U.S. crude oil rig counts have added 32 rigs over the last six weeks. Combined with record refinery runs, it is increasingly likely that excess supply will characterize the domestic market and keep downward pressure on WTI.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 79 cents at $43.87 per barrel, which was a five-month low.
August 3rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro
(WASHINGTON, August 3, 2015) The resolution of localized refinery issues and lower prices for crude oil has kept downward pressure on the national average price at the pump, which has fallen for 19 consecutive days. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.65 per gallon, down six cents versus one week and 12 cents versus one month ago. Drivers are paying the lowest averages for this date since 2009, and today’s national average represents a savings of 85 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year. The national average is now 15 cents per gallon lower than the 2015 peak price of $2.80 on June 15.
The national average has steadily dropped, yet volatility continues to characterize several regional markets due to unexpected drawdowns in supply. While some states may not experience significant price drops as a result of regional supply and distribution issues, the national average is expected to keep moving lower leading up to the Labor Day holiday, barring any unexpected spikes in the price of global crude oil or unexpected disruptions to domestic production.
Pump prices west of the Rockies remain the most expensive in the nation and all seven states with averages above $3 per gallon are located in this region. Drivers in California ($3.74) are paying the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline and are followed by Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.28), Nevada ($3.24) and Washington ($3.17) as top five most expensive markets for motorists. Although prices on the West Coast appear to be easing, retail averages remain volatile based on shifts in supply and demand. Alabama ($2.266) is the nation’s least expensive market, unseating South Carolina ($2.269) by fractions of a penny.
With the exception of Indiana (+2 cents) and Alaska (+1 cents), pump prices are down in every state and Washington, D.C. over the past week. The largest discounts in price are seen in Ohio (-14 cents), Kansas (-11 cents) and Minnesota (-11 cents), while consumers in 24 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying weekly saving of a nickel or more per gallon.
The majority of drivers (39 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying less to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Averages are down by a dime or more per gallon in 30 states and Washington, D.C., with the most dramatic savings in the Midwest: Ohio (-41 cents), Michigan (-38 cents), Indiana (-37 cents) and Illinois (-31 cents). Production issues had driven prices higher in this region over the past several months, and following their resolution, prices have fallen as supply and demand have returned to balance. On the other end of the spectrum, prices in 11 states have moved higher over this same period due to the lingering impact of refinery issues. Motorists in California (+30 cents) and Colorado (+13 cents) are paying the largest premiums compared to one month ago.
The average price for retail gasoline remains significantly discounted versus this same date last year. Motorists nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles, and prices are down by 75 cents per gallon or more in the majority of states (41 and Washington, D.C.). Year-over-year prices are down by $1 or more in five states, with the largest savings at the pump being enjoyed by drivers in Ohio (-$1.17) and Hawaii (-$1.06).
The global price of crude oil continues to sink on expectations that the market will remain oversupplied in the near term. Recent reports suggest that Chinese manufacturing has fallen to its lowest level in two years, which may signal that this important driver of global consumption is poised for less than anticipated economic growth. Weaker growth means lower than projected oil demand, which could further increase the glut in global petroleum supplies. Reports that Iran is planning to increase oil output when sanctions are lifted, combined with the U.S. increasing its rig count, has also contributed to major crude benchmarks (Brent and West Texas Intermediate) opening this week’s trading session at multi-month lows.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed down $1.40 at $47.12 per barrel – a product of late selling on the heels of news that U.S. oil rig counts were up for the second week in a row. The market’s fundamentals are characterized as weak, and last week’s lows are expected to be tested over the next seven days.