Posts Tagged ‘Robert Darbelnet’

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.

Gas Prices Ease Approaching July 4 Holiday

June 29th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 22nd, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gas Prices Make Unexpected Jump

June 15th, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012-2015-Average-Gas-Prices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheapest Summer Gas Prices since 2009 on the Way

June 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

Michael Green Contact Tile

Lower Gas Prices Inspiring Summer Road Trips

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

Average Gas Prices Jump at Fastest Seasonal Pace in Three Years

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

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

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

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

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

National Pump Prices Likely Near a Seasonal Peak

June 1st, 2015 by Amanda Shapiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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