Posts Tagged ‘Michael Green’

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington, February 8, 2016) Domestic crude oil inventories reached their highest level for this time of year in nearly eight decades, and barring any major disruptions in supply, gas prices are likely to remain near their lowest price point since the Great Recession in the near term. Today’s average price of $1.74 per gallon reflects a savings of $1.07 per gallon versus the 2015 peak price reached this past June, and gas prices have fallen for 31 of the past 33 days. Pump prices are down six cents per gallon on the week, 24 cents per gallon on the month, and consumers are saving 44 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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Gasoline demand typically begins to increase starting in February, reaching its peak in August, and this month also marks the beginning of the spring refinery maintenance season. The combination of increased demand and reduced supply often leads to upward swings in the price at the pump, and historically as a result averages have climbed higher during this seven-month period (February –August). Unlike previous years, both gasoline and crude oil supplies are at record levels and two of the nation’s more volatile markets, the Midwest and the West, are both reporting ample supply. The convergence of these factors may point to a possible shift in the status quo, provided crude oil prices remain relatively low and absent any major disruptions in supply or production.

Drivers in the majority (44) of states continue to pay gas prices below $2 per gallon. Oklahoma ($1.42) and Missouri ($1.43) are the nation’s least expensive markets and a total of 30 states are posting averages at or below $1.75 per gallon. Hawaii ($2.63) leads the market with a pump price that is double-digits above second-place California ($2.50). Regional neighbors Alaska ($2.34), Nevada ($2.20) and Washington ($2.09) join in the rankings and round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.

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Pump prices are down in nearly every state (49) week-over-week and consumers in 20 states are saving a nickel or more per gallon at the pump. The largest weekly discounts in price are in the Midwestern states of Ohio (-14 cents), Indiana (-14 cents) and Michigan (-13 cents). Gas prices in this region are known to fluctuate and these same three states were posting the largest weekly increases in last week’s report. Delaware (+1 cent) is the only state to buck this trend of weekly savings.

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Monthly savings for motorists are universal, as gas prices are down in every state and Washington, D.C. over this period. Drivers in the Midwestern states of Indiana (-40 cents), Illinois (-40 cents), Ohio (-38 cents), and Michigan (-38 cents) are saving the most month-over-month and averages are down more than a quarter per gallon in a total of 13 states. Hawaii (-5 cents) is the only state where drivers are not benefiting from double-digit discounts in the price to refuel their vehicles on the month.

This time last year (February 2015) retail averages climbed higher for 40 consecutive days and as a result the magnitude of year-over-year savings is beginning to widen again. Gas prices are down in nearly every state (49) and Washington, D.C, versus this same date last year. Averages in 12 states are down 50 cents or more, and pump prices in 43 states and Washington, D.C. are down a quarter or more per gallon on the year. The largest yearly savings are seen by drivers in the Midwestern states of Indiana (-79 cents), Ohio (-75 cents), Michigan (-72 cents) and Illinois (-72 cents). Idaho (+6 cents) is the only state where prices are up year-over-year. This is in contrast to last week’s report where prices were down by 50 cents or more in only one state, and prices in handful (5) of states were up on the year.

Slower-than-expected growth in China, a strengthening U.S. dollar, and ongoing speculation about what, if any, deals the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may attempt broker on production are all weighing on the global oil market. Market fundamentals remain skewed due to oversupply and geopolitical tensions, even when between OPEC member countries, have had little impact on price due to the market’s current imbalance.

Domestic gasoline and crude oil supply are at record levels. The year’s refinery maintenance ramp up is expected to reduce gasoline inventories, which could help bring a bit of balance to the gasoline market; however, this will likely not have the same impact on crude oil. The lower price environment has yet to lead to any real cuts in U.S. production, and to date has only contributed to reports of falling rig counts and the oil and gas sector shedding jobs.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 83 cents and settled at $30.89 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.

U.S. Average Gas Prices Under $2 for 25 Days and Counting

January 25th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington, January 25, 2016) Gas prices have spent 25 consecutive days below $2 per gallon and could head lower still as reduced seasonal demand and falling crude oil costs combine to send pump prices to the lowest mark in six years. Today’s average price of $1.83 per gallon is the cheapest price since January 2009, and retail averages have fallen for 69 of the past 80 days for a total savings of 40 cents per gallon over this span. Crude oil supply continues to outpace demand, which has helped push gas prices down by seven cents on the week, 18 cents on the month and 21 cents on the year.

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A historic blizzard hit the Northeast over the weekend. The Mid-Atlantic was the hardest region hit, and a number of states in the area received more than two feet of snow. Severe weather can make it difficult for refiners to produce gasoline and can create hurdles for getting the product to market. However, storms also keep drivers off of roads, which can limit demand. Early reports indicate that PBF Energy shut down its Delaware City refinery, citing power failure due to the blizzard conditions. Averages in the region could possibly move higher in the coming days if refinery and distribution problems persist.

Motorists in just 11states and Washington, D.C. are paying an average above $2 per gallon. California ($2.67) continues to lead the market, however the resolution of refinery issues in the state has narrowed the difference between the Golden State and second-place Hawaii ($2.63). Regional neighbors Alaska ($2.44), Nevada ($2.34) and Washington ($2.24) round out the top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. Consumers in Oklahoma ($1.53) and Missouri ($1.54) are paying the nation’s lowest averages at the pump, followed by the Midwestern states of Indiana ($1.55), Ohio ($1.56) and Michigan ($1.59).

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Weekly price comparisons reflect that consumers nationwide are enjoying savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down in the majority of states (29) by a nickel or more per gallon, and prices in four states located in the Midwest: Michigan (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents) are down double-digits. With refinery utilization rates reportedly running at upwards of 98 percent and gasoline inventories also building, drivers in the region are likely to continue to benefit from noticeable savings at the pump. Nevertheless, gas prices in the region are often unpredictable and changes in the market can happen quickly.

Consumers in nearly every state (49) are benefitting from more than a nickel per gallon in savings month-over-month. Retail averages are down double-digits in 46 states and Washington, D.C., and prices are down a quarter or more per gallon in a total of five states. Similar to week-over-week comparisons, the largest discounts are in the Midwest: Ohio (-36 cents), Indiana (-36 cents), Michigan (-33 cents) and Illinois (-29 cents). Alaska is the only state to buck this trend, and prices are up by a nickel per gallon on the month.

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Pump prices remain discounted year-over-year in the majority of states (45), though the magnitude of yearly savings continues to narrow because retail averages had already fallen dramatically in January 2015. Consumers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump and prices are discounted by more than 50 cents per gallon in two states: Hawaii (-63 cents) and Indiana (-52 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are higher on the year in California (+21 cents), Idaho (+17 cents), Nevada (+13 cents), Utah (+7 cents) and Washington (+7 cents).

Global oversupply and the anticipation that additional oil will soon enter the market with the lifting of sanctions on Iran, contributed to both benchmarks—Brent and West Texas Intermediate—trading last week at lows unseen since 2003. Market fundamentals remain unchanged and a “lower-for-longer” sentiment is beginning to prevail amongst speculators. Talks are now shifting to whether the market has reached its bottom and if, or when, the necessary adjustments in supply will occur in order to help bring the crude oil market more into balance.

To the surprise of many and despite this bearish sentiment, both benchmarks closed out the week with a two-day rally.  This shift is likely the result of trading volatility and is not attributed to any correction in the imbalance between supply and demand. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up nearly 9.5 percent, with a gain of $2.66 to settle at $32.19 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 TileBad Weather a Factor in More than 2,000 Road Deaths Every Winter According to New Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 21, 2016) – Dangerous winter storms and bad weather are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than two thousand road deaths every winter, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As a potentially historic winter storm approaches the East Coast this weekend, AAA is urging motorists to be prepared and to remain cautious if driving.

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“There are a disproportionate number of crashes this time of year involving bad weather and winter storms,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Snow and sleet can cause significant safety problems by reducing visibility and making it difficult to maneuver or stop.”

About 46 percent of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, making this the worst time of year for driving in treacherous conditions. The highest proportion of crashes involving bad weather happen overnight from 6:00 PM until 5:59 AM, when visibility is limited and roads are most likely to freeze. Previous research also has found that the rates of fatal crashes are higher during the first snowfall of the year than on subsequent days with snow.

“This weekend’s winter storm has great potential to create havoc on major roads used by millions of drivers every day,” said William Van Tassel, AAA’s manager of driver training programs. “Drivers braving the bad weather should remain cautious and slow down to keep from being in a crash.”

The new AAA Foundation research report (Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Weather Conditions), analyzed bad weather and crashes throughout the year. The study found that rain, snow, sleet and fog are a factor in more than 1.1 million police-reported crashes, 425,000 injuries and 5,100 traffic deaths per year. The average crash data for various types of bad weather includes:

Crashes Injuries Deaths
Rain 518,303 206,474 2,239
Snow 189,416 51,267 523
Sleet 36,491 11,644 143
Fog 21,616 8,167 374

 

The study did uncover surprising news. Crashes in bad weather are generally less severe than crashes taking place in clear weather. For example, crashes that occur on snow-covered roads result in 31 percent fewer injuries per crash and 47 percent fewer fatalities per crash than on dry roads. While the new study was unable to examine the impact of bad weather on the risk of being involved in a crash in the first place, other studies have found that rates of all types of crashes generally increase in bad weather, but that the increases in minor crashes are larger than the increases in more severe crashes.

AAA recommends the following eight tips to remain safe while driving in snowy and icy conditions:

  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning –  give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Far too many drivers become stranded on the roadside this time of year. AAA handles an average of 600,000 emergency roadside assistance calls per week in the winter with the most common problems being dead batteries, extractions, towing and flat tires. AAA recommends keeping the following items in your “emergency kit” for winter driving:

  • Bag of abrasive materials such as sand, salt or cat litter for gaining traction in snow and ice
  • Snow shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Jumper cables
  • Blanket
  • Warning flare or triangles
  • Cellular phone and emergency charger
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(January 11, 2016) Gas prices continue to drop to multi-year lows, with today’s average price of $1.97 per gallon representing the cheapest average price at the pump since March 23, 2009. Gas prices have fallen for 55 of the past 66 days for a total savings of 26 cents per gallon and should remain relatively low because there is more than enough oil and gasoline around the world to meet demand.  Drivers are saving three cents per gallon on the week, five cents per gallon on the month and 17 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.

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California continues to weather ongoing refinery issues and remains the most expensive state for gasoline. The Golden State ranks third in the nation in refining capacity and refineries in the state typically operate at higher-than-average levels to meet demand. Disruptions in production generally lead to noticeable spikes in the price at the pump, which are often exacerbated due to the market’s relative isolation and specific fuel requirements. Consumers in the region will likely experience price swings in the near term due to both planned and unplanned maintenance, and this could increase the national average price of gas even as prices drop in other parts of the country.

As a result of these supply challenges, California ($2.86) remains the most expensive market for gas ahead of second-place Hawaii ($2.67). Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.49), Alaska ($2.47) and Washington ($2.42) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. On the other end of the spectrum, Missouri ($1.66) and Oklahoma ($1.70) are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline. Motorists in 36 states are paying an average of less than $2 per gallon at the pump, and retail averages in 10 states are at or below the $1.75 per gallon benchmark.

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The vast majority of drivers are experiencing weekly savings at the pump. Discounts in the price of gas are less dramatic than in previous reports, and Oregon (-6 cents) is the only state where averages are down by more than a nickel per gallon week-over-week. Alaska is the only state where consumers are paying more to refuel their vehicles in comparison to one week ago, and retail averages moved higher by fractions of a penny over this same period.

Motorists in 45 states and Washington, D.C. are paying less to refuel their vehicles month-over-month. Drivers in Montana (-22 cents), North Dakota (-16 cents), Missouri (-15 cents) and South Dakota (-14 cents) are benefiting from the largest monthly savings in the price to refuel their vehicles. Averages are down by a dime or more per gallon in a total of 13 states, and drivers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. are benefiting from monthly discounts of a nickel or more per gallon. Consumers in five states are paying more at the pump versus one month ago, though California (+20 cents) and Alaska (+6 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than a nickel.

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Yearly savings are growing smaller because gas prices also were relatively low in January 2015, though the drivers in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are still saving because the cost of crude oil is lower today than a year ago. Hawaii (-75 cents) is the only state where prices are lower by  more than 50 cents per gallon versus this same date last year, and motorists in a total of 20 states and Washington, D.C. are savings a quarter or more per gallon at the pump. Consumers in four states: California (+25 cents), Idaho (+14 cents) Nevada (+14 cents) and Washington (+5 cents) are paying more for gas than a year ago.

Both oil benchmarks have posted losses for every day of trading in 2016, and as a result, closed out the week at lows unseen in more than a decade. Expectations that prices will continue to hover at multi-year lows are beginning to surface and market watchers are paying close attention to both China and the Middle East. Growth in China’s economy was once seen as a factor that could offset some of the market’s imbalance, though there is more uncertainty now that concerns over its economy continue to grow. Additionally, unlike historical trends where geopolitical instability in the Middle East has led to reductions in supply, the severing of diplomatic ties between Iran and other nations may lead to even more oil production within the region.

WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX down 11 cents, settling at $33.16 per barrel. This represents a loss of approximately 10 percent on the week and was the benchmark’s lowest settlement since February 9, 2004.

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 Begin 2016 Under $2 per Gallon

January 4th, 2016 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(Washington – January 4, 2016) Gas prices rang in the New Year by reaching the lowest average price ($1.997) for the holiday since 2009.  Today’s average price of $1.99 per gallon is the cheapest average since March 25, 2009, and the national average has moved lower for 50 of the past 59 days, largely due to an abundance of crude oil. Pump prices are discounted by fractions of a penny on the week, by five cents per gallon on the month, and are down by 22 cents on the year.

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In 2015, consumers paid an annual average of $2.40 per gallon, which was the lowest annual average since 2009. Market fundamentals are positioned to continue to support consumer savings in 2016, though retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring. These price increases are expected to be seasonal, and barring any unanticipated events that dramatically impact global or domestic supply, the national average price is expected to remain below $3 per gallon in 2016.

A heavier-than-expected refinery maintenance season this fall, combined with unexpected refinery outages, has helped maintain California’s ($2.87) position as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. Drivers in the Golden State are paying an average price that is 19 cents per gallon more than second-place Hawaii ($2.68), which is typically the market’s leader. Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.46) and Alaska ($2.46) round out the top five most expensive markets. Motorists in 34 states are paying averages below $2 per gallon. Missouri ($1.70), Oklahoma ($1.73), Arkansas ($1.74), South Carolina ($1.74) and Kansas ($1.75) are the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline.

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Pump prices have been relatively stable on the week, moving by +/-3 cents in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Averages are down in the majority of states (38) over this same period and drivers in North Dakota (-4 cents), Montana (-3 cents) and Delaware (-2 cents) are benefitting from the largest weekly savings in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska (+4 cents) and California (+4 cents) are the only two states where prices are up by more than fractions of a penny week-over-week.

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Gas prices are discounted in 43 states and Washington, D.C. month-over-month. Retail averages have fallen by more than a nickel per gallon in 34 states and Washington, D.C. over this same time period, and 21 states are posting double-digit discounts.  The largest monthly savings are in Montana (-26 cents), Delaware (-19 cents), North Dakota (-18 cents) and Nebraska (-17 cents). Consumers in seven states are paying more to refuel their vehicles versus one month ago. Prices continue to move higher in a less dramatic fashion, and California (+18 cents) is the only state where prices are up double-digits on the month, due to ongoing supply challenges. Michigan (+5 cents) and Alaska (+5 cents) join California as the only three states where prices are up more than a nickel per gallon month-over-month.

Averages typically fall during the winter months, and despite relatively lower pump prices year-over-year, savings are becoming less pronounced compared to recent months. Consumers in the vast majority of states (47) continue to experience yearly savings in the price of gasoline, and prices are down more than 25 cents per gallon in 26 states and Washington, D.C. For the first time since 2014, yearly price comparisons are higher in multiple states—California (+22 cents), Nevada (+6 cents) and Idaho (fractions of a penny).

Both crude oil benchmarks, West Texas Intermediate and Brent, closed out the year posting yearly losses of nearly 30 percent, largely attributed to global supply continuing to outpace demand. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East appear to be influencing global oil prices, and both benchmarks opened the week posting increases related to worries about supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia has reportedly cut diplomatic ties with Iran, following an incident that occurred at the Saudi embassy located in Iran, and market watchers will likely be paying close attention to how this situation continues to develop.

The domestic oil market is also being closely monitored for a number of factors that could impact production. The lower price environment is believed to have been a cause of the U.S. rig count falling by nearly two-thirds versus one year ago, and Congress also recently moved to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Oversupply currently characterizes the domestic oil market, and traders remain focused on domestic production and the global energy landscape.

WTI closed out the year up 44 cents and settled at $37.04 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

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.

Julie HallNearly One in Three Americans to Take a Holiday Trip This Year

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 15, 2015) – AAA projects the number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record. Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season, with 100.5 million expected to journey 50 miles or more from home. This represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23, 2015 to Sunday, January 3, 2016.

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“The holidays are a time for joining with friends and family, and the record number of people traveling this holiday should make for a joyous travel season,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year, and more people than ever will choose to spend those savings on travel this year.”

The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by continued improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and low prices, including gas prices that remain well below last year’s levels. This is helping boost Americans’ disposable income, but some consumers continue to remain cautious about their finances as they head into the holiday season.

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for year-end holiday travel

More than 90 percent of travelers (91.3 million people) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.7 percent, with 5.8 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.4 percent, to 3.4 million travelers.

Lowest New Year’s gas prices in seven years expected

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline remains poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas. Today’s national average is $2.01, 53 cents less than last year. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year’s Day since 2009.

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent lower this holiday season, falling to an average of $174 roundtrip. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings will be four percent higher this year, with travelers spending an average of $150 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen 11 percent with an average nightly cost of $119. Daily car rental rates will average $68, three percent higher than last year’s holiday travel season.

#AAAToTheRescue for nearly 900,000 motorists this holiday season

AAA expects to rescue nearly 900,000 motorists during the 12-day year-end holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires for winter driving 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.

AAA cautions against impaired driving this holiday season

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five licensed drivers (21%) who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

“As we celebrate the holiday season, AAA urges travelers to be cautious about their safety and the safety of everyone sharing the roadways,” said Doney. “Ninety-seven percent of licensed drivers consider it unacceptable to drive when they may have had too much to drink, yet there is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death every 53 minutes.”

Download the AAA Mobile app before a year-end holiday getaway

Before setting out on a holiday 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 year-end 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.

Keeping Older Adults Driving Safely

December 8th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

 

New AAA Foundation Research Reveals Effective Ways to Extend the Driving Age
 
Michael Green Contact Tile

Additional Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 8, 2015) – Advanced automotive technologies and safe driving habits can help older motorists remain behind the wheel longer into their lives, according to two new studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. These findings are important because a record 36 million adults ages 65 and older drive in the United States, and this number is expected to increase substantially over the next decade. Recent Foundation research has found that seniors who give up driving are almost two times more likely to experience depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility.

“Permanently giving up the keys can have severe consequences for the health and mental well-being of older adults,” said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s President and CEO. “New technologies and a focus on safe driving can help seniors remain behind the wheel for years to come.”

The researchers examined 16 advanced vehicle technologies and determined that six of these can provide high value for older adults by potentially reducing crashes and improving the ease and comfort of driving:

  • Forward collision warning / mitigation: These systems can help prevent crashes by warning drivers of a potential collision or by automatically applying the brakes. For older drivers, this technology can improve reaction times and reduce crashes by up to 20 percent.
  • Automatic crash notification: These systems automatically alert emergency services in the event of a crash. Older drivers are more likely to suffer from the serious effects of a crash because of their age, which means these systems can provide a greater safety benefit to seniors.
  • Park assist with rearview display: This technology includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which can help prevent crashes when pulling out of a parking space. About 95 percent of seniors want these systems in their next vehicle, while 55 percent reported that it can help reduce driver stress and workload.
  • Parking assist with cross-traffic warning: These systems utilize radar sensor technology to notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and on some vehicles, the systems automatically can apply the brakes to prevent a collision.
  • Semi-autonomous parking assistance: These systems take over steering while moving into a parallel parking space, which can reduce stress and make parking easier for older drivers.
  • Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS navigation systems can provide older drivers with increased feelings of safety, confidence, attentiveness and relaxation, which can help seniors remain focused on the road and comfortable behind the wheel.

“Seniors in the market for a new car may want to consider the potential long-term benefits of choosing a vehicle with advanced safety technologies,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety & Advocacy. “Equipping a new car with the right features can help an aging driver remain confident behind the wheel and out of crashes.”

Older adults also can extend their driving years by adopting strategies that reduce their risk on the road. The research finds that many seniors can improve their safety by avoiding challenging situations, such as driving at night, in bad weather, during rush-hour traffic, in unfamiliar areas or on the highway. In addition, seniors who successfully continue to drive are less likely to engage in potentially distracting behaviors, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, smoking or grooming in the car.  Many older drivers also are less likely to speed or frequently change lanes, which can further reduce crash risks.

In order to further help seniors chose the right vehicle, AAA has updated its Smart Features for Older Drivers tool to include 2015 makes and models. This resource can help seniors identify vehicles with features that optimize their comfort and safety. AAA provides comprehensive information on senior driving at SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

Driving is a skill that can and should be continually improved. AAA’s RoadWise online or RoadWise Driver classroom courses can help seniors get the most out of their vehicle, while reducing risk to them, their passengers and others on the road.  A comprehensive driving improvement course can help older drivers learn the most up-to-date driving techniques and understand the latest vehicle technologies.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is releasing this research during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which runs from Dec. 7-11, 2015.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2015) AAA’s President and CEO, Marshall Doney, has released the following statement in response to Congressional passage of a five-year transportation bill today.

“AAA is pleased to see Congress finally pass a multi-year transportation bill to ease congestion, improve safety and modernize our roads and bridges. Drivers have waited years for needed highway improvements, and there is now hope that we are on a path towards easing many of the problems that commuters face every day.

“The legislation is not perfect and long-term funding will remain a problem for Congress to address in the future. Despite those ongoing challenges, the current bill should help state transportation departments to make long-overdue improvements across the country.

“It is encouraging to see Congress come together make the compromises necessary to pass legislation of this magnitude.  Millions of Americans drive every day, and they deserve a highway system that safely moves people and goods as quickly as possible.  The passage of this bill should help make safe and efficient transportation a reality, and AAA is proud to have helped to make this happen.”

Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers, and it is North America’s largest motoring and travel organization with more than 55 million members.

AAA Statement on Renewable Fuels Standards for 2016

December 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact TileWASHINGTON, (Dec. 1, 2015) – AAA’s President and CEO Marshall Doney released the following statement today in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Renewable Fuels Standard mandates for 2016.

“AAA is pleased with the EPA’s decision to set realistic standards for ethanol consumption in our nation’s fuel supply. These levels should support the continued development of home-grown ethanol without forcing drivers to use E15, a fuel that can void warranties and damage vehicles not designed for its use.

“Today’s ethanol mandate is an effective compromise that balances the needs of consumers and producers. We look forward to working with the EPA and other regulators in the future to ensure that drivers continue to be protected going forward.”

National Average Eyes $2 for First Time Since 2009

November 16th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 16, 2015) Pump prices have fallen for ten consecutive days, reaching today’s national average price of $2.16 per gallon. AAA believes that average U.S. prices should continue to decline and could drop below $2 per gallon by Christmas for the first time since 2009.

Drivers are benefitting from relative savings in the price of retail gasoline with today’s average six cents less per gallon than one week ago and 11 cents less than one month ago. The price of crude oil remains noticeably low compared to previous years, and as a result, retail averages are down 74 cents per gallon year-over-year.

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Refinery production in the Midwest appears to be recovering, which should help improve prices in the region. For example, the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois, has reportedly concluded its scheduled maintenance and returned to production. This and other refinery restarts in the Midwest have led to large weekly and monthly price discounts in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions. Eleven states are posting averages below $2 per gallon, with motorists in South Carolina ($1.91) and Alabama ($1.92) paying the nation’s lowest averages to refuel their vehicles. The nation’s most expensive markets are located in states west of the Rockies, led by Hawaii ($2.86), California ($2.80), Nevada ($2.67), Washington ($2.52) and Oregon ($2.41).

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Averages in the vast majority of states (46) are down week-over-week. Drivers in 18 states are saving a nickel or more per gallon at the pump, and prices have fallen by double-digit increments in nine states with Ohio (-18 cents), Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-18 cents) and Kentucky (-15 cents) posting the largest weekly discounts. Pump prices moved higher on the week in four states including Florida, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey. However, Florida (+4 cents) is the only state where prices increased by more than fractions of a penny week-over-week.

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Monthly price comparisons are following the overall trend of falling prices. Motorists in 47 states and Washington, D.C. are enjoying savings at the pump month-over-month, and averages in nearly half of the states (23) have dropped by more than a dime per gallon. The largest savings are again seen in the Midwestern states of Ohio (-33 cents), Illinois (-32 cents) and Indiana (-32 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in three states, Oregon (+5 cents), Washington (+2 cents) and New Jersey (+2 cents) have seen higher prices over the past month.

Year-over-year, consumers nationwide are paying less to refuel their vehicles. Retail averages are discounted 75 cents or more in 28 states and Washington D.C., and motorists in Alaska (-$1.22) and Hawaii (-$1.10) are benefitting from yearly savings of more than $1 per gallon. California (-36 cents) and Nevada (-39 cents) are the only two states posting yearly savings of less than 50 cents per gallon.

A bearish sentiment prevails with global petroleum prices, and traders are following the recent terrorist attacks in France to determine what effects it may have on the market. Global supply continues to outpace demand, while a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes crude oil more expensive for buyers holding foreign currencies, is expected to keep a ceiling on prices into 2016.

U.S. crude oil inventories continue to build, and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, are within reach of hitting record levels set this past April. For the first time in more than two months, the U.S. oil rig count increased on Friday. While this measure is not the best indicator of production, it reportedly reinforced the expectation that U.S. production rates will remain high and keep the market oversupplied in the near term.

WTI opened this week’s trading session posting gains, though prices have since declined. This comes following a week of testing the $40 per barrel threshold, and closing Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, down $1.01, settling at $40.74 per barrel, a closing price that represents a loss of nearly 10 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.

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