December 16th, 2014 by admin
Busy year-end holidays will be marked by more travelers than ever on record
ORLANDO, Fla., (December 16, 2014) – AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. (AAA data dates back to 2001.) The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.
Highlights from 2014/2015 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast:
- Holiday travel is expected to total 98.6 million, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million who traveled last year.
- Travel volume for the year-end holidays will reach the highest peak recorded by AAA (since 2001).
- Nearly 91 percent of all travelers (89.5 million) will celebrate the holidays with a road trip, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2013.
- Air travel is forecast to grow one percent from 2013, with 5.7 million travelers taking to the skies.
- Low gas prices continue to help boost disposable income this holiday season, with today’s national average price of gas at $2.53 per gallon, 70 cents less than a year ago.
“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will join with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President and Chief Operating Officer. “While the economy continues to improve at an uneven pace, it seems more Americans are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence, rather than looking back at the recession. This is helping to drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have seen for the year-end holidays.”
“Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2009,” continued Doney. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”
The calendar is having a positive effect on the number of travelers expected this year. This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.
With more than 90 percent of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA urges everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in eight of all licensed drivers 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.
The survey also reveals 91 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 42 percent reporting that drunk drivers are a bigger problem today versus three years ago. “Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving, especially during the holiday season, an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes,” said Doney.
AAA works year-round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
Today’s national average price of gasoline is at the lowest level in five years and 70 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 82 days in a row, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel.
Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year.
Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers
Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.
AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season
Between December 23 and January 4, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at AAA.com.
AAA offers travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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 collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.
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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Year-End Travel Forecast can be found here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.
December 15th, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, December 15, 2014) Holiday cheer has come early for the motoring public, with the average for retail gasoline at its lowest level in more than five years. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.55 per gallon. The average price at the pump is more than a dime (-12 cents) less than one week ago and more than a quarter (-36 cents) less than a month ago. The national average is down 69 cents from this same date last year and has now dropped on 81 consecutive days for a total of 80 cents during this stretch. Motorists are paying $1.15 less than the peak 2014 price, which was $3.70 on April 8. AAA estimates drivers are saving more than $400 million dollars each day compared to the high prices paid earlier this year.
The average price at the pump has fallen nearly 25 percent since the start of the year, and if the global price of crude continues to register new multiyear lows, these lower prices are likely to persist. Barring any unexpected spikes in global prices, or declines in domestic production, the price at the pump should remain relatively low approaching the New Year and into 2015.
Every state in the continental United States is posting an average price below the $3.00 per gallon benchmark. Hawaii ($3.70) and Alaska ($3.39), as is often the case, are the nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline and of the lower 48 states drivers in the northeast are paying the most per gallon: New York ($2.98), Connecticut ($2.90) and Washington, D.C. ($2.90). The nation’s least expensive markets are the Midwestern states of Missouri ($2.25) and Oklahoma ($2.29), closely followed by the Gulf Coast states of Texas ($2.33) and Mississippi ($2.33).
The impact of falling global oil prices for consumers is abundantly clear in the retail gasoline market with prices lower nationwide on the week, month and year. The price at the pump is down by a nickel or more week-over-week in every state and Washington, D.C. Forty-one states are registering savings of a dime or more, and the most dramatic savings are in Idaho (-22 cents), Michigan (-20 cents), Ohio (-19 cents) and Indiana (-19 cents). Drivers in Michigan (-56 cents), Idaho (-54 cents) Indiana (-51 cents) and South Dakota (-50 cents) are saving the most on a month-over-month basis. The price in every state has dropped by twenty cents or more during this span.
Yearly comparisons continue to reflect even more extreme discounts at the pump, largely due to the price of crude setting new multi-year lows. With the exception of Hawaii (-22 cents) and Alaska (-29 cents), the price at the pump is down in every state and Washington, D.C. by more than 35 cents versus this same date last year. Forty-two states are posting a discount of 50 cents or more per gallon year-over-year and drivers in 20 states are saving 70 cents or more. The largest savings are in Florida (-80 cents), Maine (-79 cents) and Kentucky (-79 cents).
Concerns of sluggish global oil demand combined with abundant supply continue to leave global oil markets searching for a bottom. Just two months ago market watchers were divided on the likelihood that the prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) would fall below $80 per barrel. Last week, for the first time since 2009, the price of WTI dropped below $60. WTI is now approximately 40 percent cheaper than the start of the year and nearly 50 percent below the high in June ($107.26). The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continues to maintain production levels, and the cartel’s three biggest members are reportedly ramping up exports to Asia in an effort to sustain market share in that region. Reductions in global oil prices have ultimately meant a welcome savings at the pump for motorists; however sustained low prices could impact U.S. production, which is more expensive than its global counterparts. Market watchers are also beginning to consider the potential for geopolitical instability in countries that are heavily dependent on oil exports to balance their budgets, including Venezuela and Nigeria. WTI was down $2.14 to settle at $57.81 per barrel on Friday at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.
October 27th, 2014 by admin
ORLANDO, Fla., (October 27, 2014) – Rear-view camera systems improved rear visibility an average of 46 percent in AAA’s tests. These systems are intended to improve driver awareness of the area immediately behind the vehicle in order to reduce the instance of back-over fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires a rear-view image in all passenger vehicles beginning in 2016, with full compliance by May 2018.
- AAA evaluated 17 vehicles across 11 manufacturers with factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems on a variety of vehicle body styles.
- The increased visibility ranged from a 36 percent improvement in smaller sedans to a 75 percent improvement in hatchbacks. Large trucks and sport utility vehicles scored in the mid-range of vehicles evaluated.
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Report: Evaluating Technologies Relevant to the Enhancement of Driver Safety
- Infographic: What’s in your blind zone?
- Infographic: What’s in your blind zone? (Halloween version)
“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering. “Cameras don’t replace the need to check around your vehicle for obstacles before getting in to back up, but they do dramatically improve rear visibility. These systems are especially helpful for viewing the first 10 feet behind the vehicle, which are the most hazardous in terms of back-over risk for young children.”
AAA evaluated 17 vehicles across 11 manufacturers with factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems, testing a variety of vehicle body styles to measure the reduction in blind-zone areas as a direct result of using a rear-view camera system. AAA’s research – conducted with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center – found that:
- A rear-view camera system increased visibility of the rear blind-zone area by an average of 46 percent for the vehicles tested. This ranged from a 36 percent improvement in smaller sedans to a 75 percent improvement in hatchbacks.
- Although these systems dramatically improve rear-view visibility, they do not show 100 percent of the space behind the vehicle. AAA recommends drivers always walk behind their vehicle to visually confirm that there are no obstacles, and use the rear-view camera to confirm that nothing has entered the area immediately behind the vehicle since the driver’s walk-through inspection.
- Rain, snow or slush can cloud the rear-view camera lens, delivering blurry imagery. Motorists will need to resort to manual methods of confirming that the rear blind zone is clear during inclement weather. Wiping the camera during the pre-drive inspection is a good habit that ensures the camera is ready to capture a clear image.
- All of the systems tested met – and many exceeded – the minimum specifications for image quality per the NHTSA guideline.
“As Halloween approaches, we know that neighborhoods will be filled with small trick-or-treaters that could easily be missed when the driver turns his head to look behind the vehicle,” says Nielsen. “When used appropriately, a rear-view camera offers a bright, clear view directly behind the vehicle where small children are most difficult to see.”
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also has provided an assessment of back-up cameras, along with six other advanced technologies, in the August 2014 report Evaluating Technologies Relevant to the Enhancement of Driver Safety. Conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, the study details a data-driven system for rating the effectiveness of new in-vehicle technologies intended to improve driver safety. Motorists can review the AAA Foundation’s rating for new in-vehicle technologies, along with extensive informational material, at https://www.aaafoundation.org/ratings-vehicle-safety-technology.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
AAA conducts proprietary research to better understand implications of automotive technology, design and functionality for consumers. Additional information regarding AAA’s research on rear-view camera systems is available on the AAA Newsroom.
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 200 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.
October 7th, 2014 by admin
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 7, 2014) – With three out of four drivers believing that hands-free technology is safe to use, Americans may be surprised to learn that these popular new vehicle features may actually increase mental distraction, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This research can serve as guidance to manufacturers who increasingly market hands-free systems as safety features. The good news for consumers is that it is possible to design hands-free technologies that are less cognitively distracting, according to the research.
- AAAFTS Cognitive Distraction Phase II Report
- AAAFTS Cognitive Distraction Phase IIa Report
- Infographic – Mental Distraction Levels by Task
- Infographic – Mental Distraction Levels by System
- Video – Research Overview (2:47)
- Video: AAA National Spokesperson Interview
- Video: Researcher and Participant Interviews
- B-Roll with audio
The results, which build on the first phase of the Foundation’s research conducted last year, suggest that developers can improve the safety of their products by making them less complicated, more accurate and generally easier to use – a point AAA hopes to use in working with manufacturers to make hands-free technologies as safe as possible for consumers. While manufacturers continue their efforts to develop and refine systems that reduce distractions, AAA encourages drivers to minimize cognitive distraction by limiting the use of most voice-based technologies.
“We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies because their minds are not fully focused on the road ahead,” said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive officer of AAA. “We now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.”
Using instrumented test vehicles, heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure reaction times, Dr. David Strayer and researchers from the University of Utah evaluated and ranked common voice-activated interactions based on the level of cognitive distraction generated. The team used a five-category rating system, which they created in 2013, similar to that used for hurricanes. The results show:
- The accuracy of voice recognition software significantly influences the rate of distraction. Systems with low accuracy and reliability generated a high level (category 3) of distraction.
- Composing text messages and emails using in-vehicle technologies (category 3) was more distracting than using these systems to listen to messages (category 2).
- The quality of the systems’ voice had no impact on distraction levels – listening to a natural or synthetic voice both rated as a category 2 level of distraction.
The study also separately assessed Apple’s Siri (version iOS 7) using insight obtained from Apple about Siri’s functionality at the time the research was conducted. Researchers used the same metrics to measure a broader range of tasks including using social media, sending texts and updating calendars. The research uncovered that hands- and eyes-free use of Apple’s Siri generated a relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction.
To put all of this year’s findings in context, last year’s research revealed that listening to the radio rated as a category 1 distraction; talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone resulted in a category 2 distraction; and using an error-free speech-to-text system to listen to and compose emails or texts was a category 3 distraction.
“Technologies used in the car that rely on voice communications may have unintended consequences that adversely affect road safety,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The level of distraction and the impact on safety can vary tremendously based on the task or the system the driver is using.”
To assess “real-world” impact, Dr. Joel Cooper with Precision Driving Research evaluated the two most common voice-based interactions in which drivers engage – changing radio stations and voice dialing – with the actual voice-activated systems found in six different automakers’ vehicles. On the five point scale, Toyota’s Entune® system garnered the lowest cognitive distraction ranking (at 1.7), which is similar to listening to an audio book. In comparison, the Chevrolet MyLink® resulted in a high level of cognitive distraction (rating of 3.7). Other systems tested included the Hyundai Blue Link (rating 2.2), the Chrysler Uconnect™ (rating 2.7), Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch® (rating 3.0) and the Mercedes COMAND® (rating 3.1).
“It is clear that not all voice systems are created equal, and today’s imperfect systems can lead to driver distraction,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA is confident that it will be possible to make safer systems in the future.”
This phase of the research highlights the variability in demands across all the systems tested.
AAA is calling for developers to address key contributing factors to mental distraction including complexity, accuracy and time on task with the goal of making systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. AAA also plans to use the findings to continue a dialogue with policy makers, safety advocates and manufacturers.
To view the full report, “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Vehicle II: Assessing In-Vehicle Voice-based Interactive Technologies,” and other materials on distracted driving, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com. This study builds upon groundbreaking research conducted last year, which found that drivers can be dangerously distracted even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. AAA promoted the study in the release: Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again, Says AAA.
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 200 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 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
July 7th, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014) The national average price of gas has fallen for ten straight days, but remains the highest price for this calendar date since 2008. Yesterday, for the first time since June 11, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reflected a month-over-month discount. Today’s average is $3.65 per gallon. This price is two cents less than one week ago and fractions of a penny less than one month ago, but it remains 18 cents more than this date in 2013.
With Independence Day in the books, this year’s holiday registered the highest price since 2008 at $3.66. This surpassed the price per gallon for the holiday from each of the previous five years: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62), but was still well below the all-time-high for the date of $4.10 in 2008.
The pump price in four states continues register above $4.00 per gallon: Hawaii ($4.33), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.14) and Washington State ($4.01). While prices in all but three states (Idaho, Wyoming and Utah) are higher than the same date last year, prices in 38 states have dropped over the past week, led by a handful of Midwestern states: Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-7 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Illinois (-5 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents). Prices over the past two weeks have been more evenly split. Prices in 23 states and Washington, DC have increased – led by Alaska (+7 cents), Utah (+6 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents) – while prices in 27 states have fallen – led by Ohio (-17 cents), Indiana (-12 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents). With high wholesale gasoline prices beginning to subside in many parts of the country, AAA expects pump prices for many US motorists to continue to tick lower over the coming week.
Violence in Iraq continues to impact global oil prices, but as production in the south of the country remains unaffected, the fear of a disruption to supply has abated. Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation, but the risk premium that had pushed oil prices to 2014 highs has subsided in recent trading sessions. These elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, but as oil prices have eased retail gas prices have finally started to follow suit.
At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 53 cents lower at $103.53.
June 30th, 2014 by admin
AAA Monthly Gas Price Report
(WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014)
Drivers Stuck Paying Highest Gas Prices in Six Years for Independence Day
- U.S. drivers will pay the most expensive Independence Day gas prices since 2008, primarily because Iraqi violence has increased global petroleum costs. AAA predicts that 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more by car during the holiday weekend despite high gas prices.
- “Most drivers are paying about 15-20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home.”
- With Independence Day only a few days away, today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon. This average is considerably more expensive than recent years for the holiday. The national average on July 4 in previous years was: $3.48 (2013); $3.34 (2012); $3.57 (2011); $2.74 (2010); $2.62 (2009); and $4.10 (2008).
- AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA’s full Independence Day forecast can be found here.
- The monthly average price of gas in June was $3.67 per gallon, which was the most expensive for June since 2011, and it was the highest average for any month since March 2013. Last year gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in June.
- Gas prices often decline in June as refineries complete maintenance and increase gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season. During the previous three years, the national average price of gas declined in June by an average of 21 cents per gallon. A month ago, AAA predicted the national average could decline 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but this did not happen due to the unexpected events in Iraq.
- On June 10, insurgents known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city. Following this attack, there were concerns in the market that the rebels would take Baghdad or disrupt the southern oil producing regions of the country. These concerns helped drive up global oil prices, which made it more expensive to produce gasoline. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, and any decline in exports could impact global oil supplies.
Gas Prices to Remain Expensive During Summer Driving Season
- Gas prices this July likely will remain expensive due to high crude oil costs and rising summertime demand. AAA expects the national average price of gas in July will range from $3.60-$3.70 per gallon, though prices could climb higher if there are new developments in Iraq or a major hurricane. Last year gas prices averaged $3.58 per gallon nationally in July.
- “It is shaping up to be a hot and expensive summer for gas prices, and we have not even hit the busiest time of the year yet,” continued Ash. “It is clear that most drivers will pay high prices as they fill up for their summer road trips.”
- AAA expects the national average price of gas likely will remain relatively flat in the near future and could even decline a few cents as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. Price increases from recent ISIL attacks in Iraq already are reflected in current prices, and it would take major new developments, such as ISIL moving into southern oil producing regions, for prices to rise significantly higher in the days ahead.
- Gas prices have increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July during the previous three years as strong summer demand pushed up prices. July is typically the second busiest month of the year on the roads behind August. Last year Americans drove a total of 263.2 billion miles in July.
- From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013, gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon. Gas prices have averaged $3.67 per gallon so far this summer.
National Average Price of Gas Has Remained Flat This Week
- Today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago. Gas prices nationally have stopped increasing and have remained relatively flat in recent days as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is unlikely to send gas prices significantly higher unless there are major developments in Baghdad or in the southern oil producing regions.
- The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.13), Washington ($4.00) and Oregon ($3.98). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.39), Alabama ($3.42), Mississippi ($3.45), Tennessee ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.48).
- Despite high gas prices in most parts of the country, drivers in four states are paying less than a year ago. These four states include Utah (-8 cents), Idaho (-6 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Colorado (-0.1 cents). The states with the largest price increases compared to a year ago include Michigan (42 cents), Kentucky (37 cents) and Ohio (32 cents).
- The most expensive metro area in the continental United States is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.24 per gallon. The least expensive metro area in the United States is Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C. at $3.33 per gallon.
June 30th, 2014 by admin
( WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014) The national average price of gas has stopped increasing as we approach the Independence Day holiday, though prices remains at a six-year high for this time of year. Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon. The price has remained relatively stable over the past seven days, and the current price is just a penny more than one month ago.
Consumers have seen little fluctuation in the national average for the month of June; however the current price at the pump is 19 cents more than at this time last year ($3.49). In comparison to previous Independence Day holidays, motorists will face prices that are the highest since 2008, with today’s average ($3.68) surpassing the holiday’s price per gallon from: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62).
The situation in Iraq continues to put pressure on global oil prices, as markets weigh the potential for supply disruptions from OPEC’s second largest producer. These elevated oil prices have ultimately meant stubbornly high retail gasoline prices for motorists.
This past Friday (June 27), the price at the pump reached the $4.00 mark in the state of Washington ($4.00 today) for the first time since 2013 (May 24). The Evergreen State joins Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.21) and California ($4.13) with prices at or above $4.00 per gallon. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the last week in 43 states and Washington, D.C., and consumers in just four states have seen prices either rise or fall more than a nickel over this same period: Alaska (+7 cents), Illinois (- 6 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents). Prices over the last 30 days have been more universally volatile with consumers in 31 states and Washington, D.C. posting averages that have moved either up or down over a nickel, led by Alaska (+21 cents), Ohio (-23 cents) and Indiana (-25 cents).
Regardless of geographic location, motorists in nearly every state are paying more at the pump than one year ago. Motorists in 40 states and Washington, D.C., are experiencing a bit of sticker shock, with prices up a dime or more compared to this time last year. This largest increases are in Michigan (+42 cents), Kentucky (+37 cents) and Ohio (+30 cents). However, four states are outside of this trend and have posted year-over-year declines: Colorado (-0.1 cent), Montana (-1 cent), Idaho (-6 cents) and Utah (-8 cents).
Energy market analysts continue to monitor the situation in Iraq and the movements of the group ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). After capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, it was rumored that ISIL would enter Baghdad or the country’s southern oil producing. These concerns caused global prices to rise, but, many analysts now see this action as unlikely in the near term barring a major offensive move by ISIL.
The conversation regarding domestic production was revived this week when two Texas energy companies received permission to export ultra-light oil to foreign buyers. The decision relates to a decades long ban on crude exports, enacted in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the historic gasoline shortages of the 1970s. The move falls short of relaxing the ban on oil exports, which oil producers have called for, and will remain a topic of discussion in the coming months.
At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 37 cents lower at $105.37.
June 23rd, 2014 by admin
( June 23, 2014) As we approach the end of the first full month of the 2014 summer driving season, the national price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon, which is the highest price for early summer in six years. The average price at the pump has increased for 12 consecutive days for a total of four cents per gallon, narrowing the gap between the current retail price and the 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon reached on April 28. Today’s average is two cents more than one week ago, three cents more than one month ago, and motorists are paying 11 cents more per gallon than a year ago.
Violence keyed by the militant group known as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has continued to expand toward southern Iraq, where the majority of the country’s oil production is located. These concerns have helped to increase global oil prices, which makes it more expensive to produce gasoline. AAA had previously predicted that the national average price of gas would fall 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but that now appears unlikely due to higher oil costs. This means that even though the national average has only increased a few cents per gallon since the Iraq violence intensified, drivers are likely to pay substantially higher gas prices than they would have otherwise.
For more than a month, drivers in three states have paid more than $4.00 dollars per gallon at the pump: Hawaii (currently $4.34), California (currently $4.15) and Alaska (currently $4.10). Prices in 43 states and the District of Columbia have increased during the previous week and prices in 18 states are up by a nickel or more. Motorists in only five states have seen pump prices fall by a penny or more: Indiana (-14 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Illinois (-4 cents) and Kentucky (-3 cents).
In 41 states and Washington, D.C., drivers are paying more at the pump in comparison to this date last year, and 33 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a dime or more per gallon. Of the eight states with lower prices at the pump, only the drivers in North Dakota (-13 cents) and Utah (-12 cents) are experiencing savings in the double-digits.
After a run-up to a new nine-month high to end last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices moved slightly lower today. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 66 cents lower at $106.17.
June 16th, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.66 per gallon. Today’s average is fractions of a penny more than a week ago, a little over a cent more than a month ago, and a nickel per gallon more than the same date last year. After falling for nine straight days, the national average has increased for five consecutive days for a total of about two cents per gallon as violence in Iraq has intensified.
AAA has predicted that drivers will pay relatively high prices this summer, ranging from $3.55 – $3.70 cent per gallon, however this range may be higher if unrest in Iraq escalates or disrupts oil production in the region. Given the increase in crude oil prices to nearly a nine-month high, retail gas prices are likely to rise to or near the current 2014 high ($3.70 on April 28) in the coming days.
Gas prices often decline in June with the national average falling the previous three years at an average of about 20 cents per gallon. The recent turmoil in Iraq is likely to prevent that trend from repeating this year. A year ago the national average was turning lower as domestic production and distribution issues eased, although market watchers were keeping a close eye on geopolitical tensions in Syria. While Syria is not a major oil producing nation, there was concern that fighting might spread to other countries in the region, which kept some upward pressure on crude oil prices.
Drivers in Hawaii ($4.35), California ($4.09) and Alaska ($4.06) continue to pay more than $4 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, a trend that has lasted for 23 days. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) in 34 states and the District of Columbia over the past week, however consumers in five states have seen prices climb a nickel or more: Montana and Ohio (+6 cents) and Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri (+5 cents).
The overall picture for the states is reflecting a bit of regional variation, especially when looking at the month-over-month and year-over-year averages. The biggest fluctuations in price are evident when comparing year-over-year averages, where prices in 29 states and the District of Columbia have swung by 10 cents or more. The biggest price drops have been in the Midcontinent and Mountain States: North Dakota (-26 cents), Colorado (-22 cents) South Dakota (-19 cents) and Utah (-18 cents). The biggest price increase is Pennsylvania (+23 cents).
The month-over-month picture reflects a similar picture of price volatility. Consumers in Michigan (+20 cents), Illinois (+16 cents), Montana (+14 cents) and Wisconsin (+14 cents) are paying the largest premiums per gallon. Meanwhile, drivers in parts of the South have watched pump prices fall: Alabama (-11 cents), Georgia (-8 cents), South Carolina (-7 cents) and Florida (-7 cents).
Much of the attention of global market watchers has shifted from Ukraine and Russia, to widespread violence in Iraq. According to the EIA, Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserve in the world and is the second largest producer of crude oil in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Markets will continue to monitor the conflict closely due to the potential for violence to spread to neighboring oil producing nations, and the overarching regional foreign policy implications associated with an Iraqi civil war.
After a run-up late last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices were relatively steady today. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $106.90, just a penny shy of Friday’s settlement, which was the highest since September 18.
June 10th, 2014 by admin
(WASHINGTON, June 9, 2014) A day before the 50th anniversary of the modern self-serve fueling station, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65 per gallon. Today’s average is two cents less than a week ago and fractions of a penny less than a month ago. This time last year consumers were paying two cents less at the pump ($3.63), and the national average was beginning to trend downward toward the summer low of $3.47 (July 7, 2013).
For the past three years, the national average has steadily declined to start the summer driving season. Although early data for summer 2014 is moving in this direction, it is too soon to say to what extent this pattern will persist for a fourth year.
For the past 16 days consumers in Hawaii, California and Alaska have all paid an average pump price of more than $4 per gallon – Hawaii is the only state within 25 cents of the state’s record price per gallon ($4.61 on April 11, 2012). The price at the pump in 35 states has remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the past seven days, and only two states are posting fluctuations of more than a nickel, both to the downside: Kentucky (-6 cents), and Ohio (-12 cents).
Consumers in 29 states and the District of Columbia are paying a bit less at the pump than a month ago, with the largest occurring savings in Alabama (-11 cents), Florida (-10 cents) and Georgia (-10 cents). For this same period, three states – Michigan (+22 cents), Indiana (+15 cents) and Wisconsin (+11 cents) – are posting double-digit increases. Motorists in 31 states are paying a year-over-year premium, and of this total more than half are paying an additional 10 cents or more per gallon, led by Pennsylvania (+25 cents), Nevada (+22 cents), South Carolina (+20 cents).
On the other side of the year-over-year spectrum, the price per gallon has dropped by a dime or more in 17 states. This time last year, the Great Lake States (Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana) were experiencing near record high prices due to supply and transportation challenges caused by unscheduled maintenance at local refineries. As a result, the largest year-over-year savings at the pump are posted by Midcontinent states, with drivers in North Dakota leading the way at 35 cents per gallon less than this date last year.
Market watchers continue to monitor the ongoing unrest in Libya and Ukraine, and its impact on global crude prices. Additionally, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has a meeting scheduled for this week and the proceedings will be closely monitored to see if there are any indications that production levels will be adjusted in the near future.
At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled $1.75 higher at $104.41 per barrel, which is the highest settlement since March 3.