Posts Tagged ‘Robert Darbelnet’

Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Mark Since 2009

December 14th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

National Average Nears Lowest Price Since 2009

December 7th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Drivers to Pay Lowest Thanksgiving Gas Prices Since 2008

November 23rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 Hall

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.”

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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.

Michael Green Contact TileSurprising Research Finds that Mental Distractions Can Persist Long after Completing a Task

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 22, 2015) – Potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands, according to surprising new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The results raise new and unexpected concerns regarding the use of phones and vehicle information systems while driving. This research represents the third phase of the Foundation’s comprehensive investigation into cognitive distraction, which shows that new hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.

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“The lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving.”

Researchers found that potentially unsafe levels of mental distraction can last for as long as 27 seconds after completing a distracting task in the worst-performing systems studied. At the 25 MPH speed limit in the study, drivers traveled the length of nearly three football fields during this time. When using the least distracting systems, drivers remained impaired for more than 15 seconds after completing a task.

“Drivers should use caution while using voice-activated systems, even at seemingly safe moments when there is a lull in traffic or the car is stopped at an intersection,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s President and CEO. “The reality is that mental distractions persist and can affect driver attention even after the light turns green.”

The researchers discovered the residual effects of mental distraction while comparing new hands-free technologies in ten 2015 vehicles and three types of smart phones. The analysis found that all systems studied increased mental distraction to potentially unsafe levels. The systems that performed best generally had fewer errors, required less time on task and were relatively easy to use.

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The researchers rated mental distraction on a five-point scale. Category one represents a mild level of distraction and category five represents the maximum.  AAA considers a mental distraction rating of two and higher to be potentially dangerous while driving.

The best performing system was the Chevy Equinox with a cognitive distraction rating of 2.4, while the worst performing system was the Mazda 6 with a cognitive distraction rating of 4.6. Among phone systems, Google Now performed best with a distraction rating of 3.0, while Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana earned ratings of 3.4 and 3.8. Using the phones to send texts significantly increased the level of mental distraction. While sending voice-activated texts, Google Now rated as a category 3.3 distraction, while Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana rated as category 3.7 and category 4.1 distractions.

“The massive increase in voice-activated technologies in cars and phones represents a growing safety problem for drivers,” continued Doney. “We are concerned that these new systems may invite driver distraction, even as overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free.”

Previous AAA Foundation research established that a category 1 mental distraction is about the same as listening to the radio or an audio book. A category 2 distraction is about the same as talking on the phone, while category 3 is equivalent to sending voice-activated texts on a perfect, error-free system. Category 4 is similar to updating social media while driving, while category 5 corresponds to a highly-challenging, scientific test designed to overload a driver’s attention.
“Developers should aim to reduce mental distractions by designing systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook,” continued Doney. “Given that the impairing effects of distraction may last much longer than people realize, AAA advises consumers to use caution when interacting with these technologies while behind the wheel.”

Select b-roll video of the research is available to download and for news media purposes. The previous findings from Phase I and Phase II of the Foundation’s research into cognitive distraction also are available.

Dr. David Strayer and Dr. Joel Cooper of the University of Utah conducted the research. A total of 257 drivers ages 21-70 participated in the study of 2015 model-year vehicles, while 65 additional drivers ages 21-68 tested the three phone systems.

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 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.

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U.S. Average Gas Prices Drop 26 Consecutive Days

August 10th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Gas Price Slide Reaches 19 Days

August 3rd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Gas Price Decline May Accelerate in August

July 31st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile
Average U.S. Gas Prices Falling at the Fastest Rate Since January

  • Gas prices are falling at the fastest rate since January due to cheaper crude oil costs and the resolution of some refinery issues. The national average price of gas has dropped for 16 days in row for a total of 11 cents per gallon. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.66 per gallon, which is the lowest average for this time of year since 2009.
  • “It feels good to see gas prices drop during the middle of the busy summer driving season,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Millions of people are hitting the roads right now and these gas savings should make their trips more affordable.”
  • Gas prices averaged $2.75 per gallon in July, which was the lowest average for the month since 2010. Today’s average gas prices are about 85 cents per gallon less than a year ago. The national average has dropped about 14 cents per gallon since hitting a 2015 high of $2.80 on June 15.
  • Oil prices dropped sharply in July on oversupply concerns for the second year in a row. The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at a high of $61.43 per barrel in late June and has since dropped below $48 per barrel. Domestic oil supplies are about 25 percent more abundant than a year ago, while domestic oil production remains about 12 percent higher than last year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Oil prices were last this low in March, when the national average price of gas was about 30 cents per gallon cheaper than today.
  • Strong fuel demand and refinery problems have kept gas prices higher than would otherwise be expected based on the cost of crude oil. Gasoline demand in July is up about six percent compared to a year ago, based on the latest four-week averages by the EIA. Strong gasoline demand can lead to tight supplies, especially if refineries are experiencing problems.
  • Lower gas prices and a growing economy have helped motivate people to drive more this year. Americans drove 275.1 billion miles in May, which was the highest monthly total on record, according to the most recent report by the Federal Highway Administration. It is likely that driving has continued to increase this summer as Americans take long road trips.
  • This is the second year in a row that gas prices dropped in July. Last year, average prices dropped 16 cents per gallon during the month before eventually plummeting $1.65 per gallon though January.
  • The average price of diesel is only seven cents per gallon more than gasoline today. The difference between gasoline and diesel reached its most narrow point since 2009 in July. In January, the average price of diesel was 90 cents more expensive per gallon than gasoline. Gasoline and diesel prices are generally closest in the summer, while strong gasoline demand and refinery problems have kept gas prices higher than would otherwise be expected based on recent crude oil costs.

Average U.S. Gas Prices to Possibly Drop Another 15 Cents in August

  • Gas prices should continue dropping to catch up with the recent decline in the cost of crude oil. All things being equal, a $12 decline in crude oil costs could reduce gas prices by as much as 29 cents per gallon. Given that prices have already dropped about 14 cents per gallon since reaching a 2015 high in June, drivers could see prices drop another 15 cents per gallon in the near term if oil remains stable and refineries operate at current production levels. Gas prices could drop even further if oil continues to fall and gasoline supplies grow larger this month.
  • The recent price declines are hopefully just a precursor of much bigger savings to come at the pump,” continued Ash. “We could see many parts of the country make another run towards $2 per gallon by the end of the year if everything keeps running smoothly.”
  • Gas prices could drop more dramatically after Labor Day as people take fewer road trips and use less gasoline, which could lead to an even larger glut in petroleum supplies. In addition, stations in many parts of the country can switch over to less expensive winter-blend gasoline on September 15. The Southeastern and Central United States are the two regions most likely to see a large number of gas stations offering prices around $2 per gallon this winter.
  • There are a number of factors that could keep gas prices from falling as expected, such as major refinery disruptions, higher oil costs, a major hurricane or conflict overseas. In addition, all parts of the country may not see prices drop as quickly. For example, refinery problems continue on the West Coast, which raises the possibility of price increases for that region if supplies grow tight.

Average Gas Prices in California are $1.50 more Expensive than in South Carolina

  • California has the most expensive gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $3.79 per gallon. California’s average is about $1.50 more expensive than South Carolina’s average, which is $2.29 per gallon and the nation’s least expensive market for retail gasoline.
  • The five most expensive state averages include: California ($3.79), Alaska ($3.48), Hawaii ($3.29), Nevada ($3.25) and Washington ($3.18). The states with the lowest average gas prices include South Carolina ($2.29), Alabama ($2.29), Mississippi ($2.33), Ohio ($2.36) and Indiana ($2.37).
  • Gas prices remain relatively high across the Western United States, due to ongoing refinery problems and strong demand. California, which has the largest concentration of drivers in the region, has experienced a number of refinery issues and supply challenges.
  • A handful of U.S. stations are once again selling gas for less than $2 per gallon. By comparison, about 11 percent of stations are selling gas for more than $3 per gallon today.
  • The most common price in the country is $2.499 per gallon, which compares to $3.399 per gallon a year ago.

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

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, July 6, 2015) Motorists paid the lowest price at the pump for Independence Day travel since 2010, saving 90 cents per gallon compared to the 2014 holiday. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.77 per gallon, down fractions of a penny versus one week ago. The national average price remained relatively steady over the past 30 days, despite regional fluctuations in price due to refinery issues, and today’s average represents an increase of one cent per gallon versus one month ago. Pump prices remain considerably discounted year-over-year, with drivers saving 89 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

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During July 2014, averages fell on all but one day during the month, for a total drop of 16 cents per gallon. Despite the decline in recent weeks, the direction of pump prices in the near term is less than certain. Consumer demand for gasoline typically climbs during July and August, and the ability of supply to keep pace with growing demand can directly impact the price at the pump. Additionally, retail averages can also be impacted by Atlantic hurricanes or issues at refineries, both capable of limiting supply and putting upward pressure on prices for drivers. While these domestic factors could influence gas prices higher, the relatively low price of crude oil is expected to keep a ceiling on the price at the pump compared to recent years. AAA still expects drivers to pay averages below $3 per gallon for the rest of the year.

Pump prices west of the Rockies continue to lead the nation with the only state averages higher than $3 per gallon. For the second week in a row motorists in Alaska ($3.48) are paying the nation’s highest price for retail gasoline. The Last Frontier is followed by regional neighbors California ($3.44), Hawaii ($3.37), Nevada ($3.20) and Washington ($3.20) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets. South Carolina ($2.43) and Mississippi ($2.47) are posting the nation’s lowest averages, discounted by more than $1 per gallon from the market leader.

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Weekly price comparisons reflect drivers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. experiencing savings at the pump. Of the 14 states where the price has moved higher over this same period, 12 states are posting premiums of two cents per gallon or less. On the whole, the average price for retail gasoline has remained relatively stable, week-over-week, moving +/- 3 cents per gallon in the majority of states (47) and Washington, D.C. Three states located in the midcontinent region are outside of this trend: Ohio (-10 cents), Idaho (+7 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) – the fluctuations in price are largely attributed to supply and demand remaining out of balance within the region following refinery issues in recent months.

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Despite the national average remaining relatively stable over the past 30 days, the lingering effects of regional refinery issues continue to be reflected in monthly price comparisons at the state level. The price has climbed higher in 37 states and Washington D.C. month-over-month, with the largest price movements in regions previously facing issues at major refineries. A total of seven states are posting double-digit increases over this period, led by Michigan (+22 cents), Idaho (+13 cents) and Washington (+13 cents). On the other end of the spectrum, prices are down in 13 states versus one month ago. Prices in California (-18 cents) and Nevada (-7 cents) have fallen by more than one nickel per gallon over this same period due to the earlier resolution of refinery issues in California.

Nationwide, drivers are enjoying significant discounts in the price for retail gasoline versus this same date last year. Consumers in Connecticut (-$1.04) and Washington D.C. (-$1.01) are saving more than $1 per gallon at the pump, and drivers in the vast majority of states (45 and Washington, D.C.) are posting yearly discounts of more than 75 cents per gallon.

International considerations remain front and center for oil prices, due to their potential to impact both global supply and nations’ demand for crude oil on the global market. Over the weekend Greece voted ‘no’ on a referendum over debt bailout terms, which is seen as the latest signal that the country could exit the Eurozone following its recent default on loans from the International Monetary Fund. This news puts substantial pressure on the value of the Euro and subsequently adds further strength to the U.S. dollar. A stronger U.S. dollar makes crude oil (priced in U.S. dollars) relatively more expensive for those holding other currencies, which lowers demand and pressures prices lower.

The NYMEX was closed last Friday in observance of the Independence Day holiday, and on Thursday West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled down three cents at $56.93 per barrel, reaching its lowest finish since April. Losses continued when markets reopened this morning, and prices were driven lower by the results of the Greek vote over the weekend. Shortly after the open this morning WTI had dropped $2.50 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.

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