December 4th, 2013 by admin
Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs
“AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation’s roads and bridges. Though it would be easier to simply kick the can down the road, today’s proposed legislation takes a necessary step forward in fostering debate on an important issue that many policymakers have been reluctant to address.
“AAA members rely each and every day on the roads, bridges and transit systems that are funded, in part, by the gas taxes that they pay to the federal government. And when these systems deteriorate – as they have for years now – it not only frustrates our members, but it imposes real costs in terms of safety, time and maintenance.
“The country desperately needs additional funding for infrastructure and for the moment there is no better means than the fuel tax. The proposed increase is well over due and in line with what most experts suggest would be appropriate.
“Our transportation system is critical to our economy, and Americans value their mobility. There are no easy answers, and no way to avoid the need for investment. Asking Americans to pay more is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do for the country.”
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
October 29th, 2013 by admin
AAA issued the following letter to the Congressional panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation urging that its members reject any proposal to increase truck size and weight standards due to significant safety concerns:
The Honorable John J. Duncan
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Duncan and Ranking Member Nadler:
AAA appreciates the commitment of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation to look for solutions to help facilitate efficient freight movement on the nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure network. As you prepare to finalize the panel’s recommendations, I would like to share AAA’s concern with one of the recommendations discussed at the October 1 hearing on the subject.
During the hearing, one of the industry groups recommended endorsement of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), H.R. 612, which would allow states to permit 97,000 pound trucks on its roadways including the Interstates. AAA strongly urges the panel to forego any action to raise the federal truck size and weight limits until federal research authorized in “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) is completed.
As you know, MAP-21 included a focus on establishing a stronger national freight program. It included a two-year research project to assess the implications of allowing longer, heavier trucks on the nation’s roads and bridges and a safety analysis of different configurations, including the 97,000 lb. GVWR, six-axle truck configuration. This USDOT research must be completed before any recommendations are considered relative to changing current federal regulations.
A look at the most recent NHTSA data shows fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased nine percent, from 3,380 in 2009 to 3,675 in 2010. Of the fatalities in crashes involving large trucks during 2010, 76 percent were occupants of other vehicles. Based on these data alone, we believe that any proposals to increase truck size and weight are premature and misguided until the research is concluded and reviewed.
Until key questions about the impact of bigger and heavier trucks on infrastructure and on highway safety are addressed, AAA will continue to oppose any change in current truck size or weight limits.
CC: Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation members
|The Honorable Gary Miller||The Honorable Corrine Brown|
|The Honorable Rick Crawford||The Honorable Daniel Lipinski|
|The Honorable Richard Hanna||The Honorable Albio Sires|
|The Honorable Daniel Webster||The Honorable Janice Hahn|
|The Honorable Markwayne Mullin|
October 22nd, 2013 by admin
Orlando, FL, (Oct. 22, 2013) AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet today addressed the nation’s transportation funding crisis during a board meeting of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The following are selected remarks from his speech:
“By this time next year, the Highway Trust Fund will have insufficient funds to meet its obligations, which will cause further deterioration of nation’s roads and bridges. Regrettably, this looming crisis has not translated into Congressional action, nor a public outcry.
“There are a few leaders in Washington who stress the importance of infrastructure to our economy. While we might give them high marks for effort, they are not getting a passing grade for results.
“Both Congress and the Administration are culpable of gross negligence by letting one of our nation’s greatest assets deteriorate. It is a shameful demonstration of bad government.
“Politicians have a choice – they can govern through leadership or they can govern through crisis. Our lawmakers seem content to wait for a crisis to take the action that we all know will eventually be unavoidable. Leadership involves taking risk, and the courage to do so seems in short supply.
“No one questions the need to invest far more in transportation, but there is no political will to provide the required funding. The reality is that a dime increase in the gas tax, properly spent where actually needed, is unlikely to derail the re-election of an otherwise meritorious politician.
“But the fault isn’t just with lawmakers – there is plenty of blame to go around. The truth is we have done a poor job of mobilizing support for what we know needs to happen. I believe we need to do five things to address this issue:
- Establish a concerted coalition effort to construct a plan of action that focuses on not just what is needed, but what is possible.
- Agree on acceptable transportation funding mechanisms and articulate clear guidelines to ensure proper use of the funds.
- Educate voters on why the increase in funding is required. Public support is likely the most important ingredient for building stronger backbones in Congress.
- Broaden our focus to include both federal and state opportunities to fund transportation.
- Make sure we properly resource the effort. We need to ensure that we don’t set forth on this endeavor without fully understanding – and committing – the resources that are required.
“Without a safe and efficient transportation network, goods can’t be delivered cost effectively, family trips will take longer, and gridlock will continue to stifle the nation’s long-term economic recovery. Thank you for having me here today and I look forward to continuing to work together on these important issues.”
May 28th, 2013 by admin
(ORLANDO, May 28, 2013) Yesterday’s national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.63 and marked the second consecutive year that the average American motorist has paid less per gallon at the pump when filling up for their Memorial Day holiday travel. The national average on the previous two Memorial Days was $3.64 per gallon (May 28, 2012) and $3.79 (May 30, 2011). AAA forecast that 31.2 million American drivers took to the road this holiday weekend to travel 50 miles or more from home, up slightly from 31.1 million last year.
Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.63 per gallon. This price is thirteen cents more expensive than one month ago but it is three cents less expensive than one week ago. The average American motorist has enjoyed a lower year-over-year pump price for 87 consecutive days, but those savings have narrowed substantially to less than two cents per gallon, down significantly from the peak year-to-date discount of 39 cents on April 18.
Following 17 straight days of increases, the national average price at the pump has now dropped for six consecutive days. The national price is only three cents per gallon below the recent peak of $3.66 on May 22 – the highest price since March 25 – but it is still more than a dime less than the peak price to date of $3.79 per gallon on February 27.
The recent decline in the national average has been keyed by dramatic price drops in the Midwest where many motorists have seen pump prices retreat from historic highs. Following a breakneck run up due to low gasoline supplies and significant refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – a handful states in that region have registered week-over-week declines of more than ten cents per gallon. While drivers in Minnesota have seen the most rapid decline as prices have fallen by nearly a quarter during the same period, the average in the state is still historically high at more than $4 per gallon.
While national gasoline markets have been driven by regional supply and production issues, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices remained relatively flat in recent weeks. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 86 cents at $95.01 per barrel.
May 20th, 2013 by admin
ORLANDO, Fl (May 20, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65. This price is seven cents more expensive than one week ago and 14 cents more than one month ago. The seven-cent weekly increase is the largest such spike since February and today’s national average price at the pump is the highest since March.
While the average American motorist has enjoyed a less expensive year-over-year pump price for 79 consecutive days, the savings have narrowed to just four cents per gallon, down substantially from the peak year-to-date discount of 39 cents on April 18. With the national average rising steadily, compared to a year ago when prices were tumbling, it is likely that the average will once again rise above year-ago levels in the coming days and may be more expensive than last year for the approaching Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Higher crude oil prices may be the reason that drivers in every state are paying more for gasoline than two weeks ago, but tight regional supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – are the reason for the dramatically higher pump prices in the Midwest and West Coast. In particular, the average price paid by motorists in Minnesota (+68 cents) and North Dakota (+63 cents) has spiked more than sixty cents during this period, propelling both state averages to new all-time highs. The previous record in both states was in July 2008; at the same time the national average soared to what is still a record of $4.11 per gallon.
While not yet at record highs, three states (Iowa, Neb. and Okla.) have had prices increase by more than 50 cents in two weeks and are within a dime of their respective all-time highest pump prices. Rising Midwest prices may have slowed over the weekend from their recent breakneck pace, but motorists are not out of the woods yet as regional supplies remain low and heavy storms were forecast yesterday and today. No refinery disruptions have been reported as a result of the storms, but the potential remains for additional refinery issues in the already supply-strapped region.
With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday marking the unofficial start to summer, the national average continues to cling to a year-over-year discount; however motorists in all twelve Midwestern states and Oklahoma are paying at least a dime per gallon more than on this date in 2012. The national average on the previous two Memorial Days were $3.64 (May 28, 2012) and $3.79 (May 30, 2011).
With much of the focus on volatile regional gasoline markets, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have continued to drift higher in recent weeks. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 69 cents at $96.71 per barrel. This is the highest settlement price for WTI in more than 6 weeks.
May 13th, 2013 by admin
(WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58. This price is six cents more expensive than one week ago and four cents more than one month ago. This is the largest weekly increase since February and the national average has now registered a month-over-month premium on three straight days.
The national average has been less than the same date in 2012 for 72 straight days; however the year-over-year discount has narrowed to 15 cents per gallon after widening to as much as 39 cents per gallon on April 18. Gas prices at this time last year were falling consistently and would eventually decline 82 out of 87 days for a total of 61 cents from April 6 to July 2. By comparison, the national average this year has increased for eight straight days to the highest price in more than a month. With this in mind, it is likely that the year-over-year discount will continue to fade in the coming days.
The national average is currently 21 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
The recent trend of higher prices at the pump has been nearly universal with only motorists in West Virginia and Ohio paying less today at the pump than a week ago. Six states (Ore., Minn., Wash., Okla., Neb. and Iowa) have seen prices surge by more than twenty cents and 13 states have seen prices jump by at least a dime. While higher crude oil prices have put upward pressure on retail gasoline prices across the country, it has been tight supplies and refinery maintenance – both planned and unplanned – in Midcontinent and West Coast that has squeezed prices substantially higher for drivers in those regions.
After drifting higher for several weeks, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices were pressured lower today by a stronger dollar and weaker equities. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar strengthens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively more expensive to purchase and are a less attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 87 cents at $95.17 per barrel.
May 6th, 2013 by admin
(WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is two cents more expensive than one week ago, but it remains 9 cents less than one month ago and 26 cents less than one year ago. After registering a week-over-week decline every day since March 1 (61 consecutive days), the national average has posted a week-over-week increase for six straight days. The national average is currently 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
Since national gas prices peaked at the end of February, motorists nationwide have felt welcome relief at the pump in the form of falling prices. In recent weeks, the exception to this downward trend was limited to six states in the Great Lakes region where the transition to summer-blend gasoline and heavy rains triggered supply concerns and provided a catalyst for higher retail prices. While these remain the only states with a higher average pump price today than a month ago (Ill. +15 cents, Ind. +12 cents, Ohio +10 cents, Wisc. +8 cents, Mich. +7 cents and Minn. +2 cents), motorists in the majority of states are paying more today than one week ago.
Higher prices in the Great Lakes region were initially the product of domestic production concerns; however the recent broader increase in retail gas prices has been supported by higher global crude oil prices. On April 17 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $86.68 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. At the close today the traditional U.S. benchmark settled at $96.16 — up 55 cents on the day and almost $10 in less than three weeks.
These higher oil prices have been broadly supported by signs of economic recovery, however news over the weekend of an Israeli airstrike in Syria raised fresh concerns of a possible disruption to oil supplies in the Middle East and added to the upward pressure on prices. In the spring of both 2011 and 2012 oil prices rose substantially on violence and escalating geopolitical tensions with Libya and Iran respectively, before tumbling as these concerns were alleviated heading into the summer.
Statement by AAA CEO & President Bob Darbelnet on the nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new US DOT Secretary
April 29th, 2013 by admin
(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013) “AAA is encouraged by President Obama’s nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation. We look forward to working with Mayor Foxx once confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and we are hopeful that he will help make transportation a top national priority. Mayor Foxx will face many challenges because the nation must address a significant transportation funding shortfall, and there are still too many Americans losing their lives on the nation’s roadways.
AAA appreciates retiring Secretary Ray LaHood’s unwavering commitment and bipartisanship in achieving national transportation goals. Secretary LaHood helped raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and worked with AAA and other stakeholders towards a national goal of zero traffic deaths. His bipartisan efforts also helped achieve passage of a multi-year transportation bill, MAP-21, which included significant program reform and added funds for transportation.”
April 29th, 2013 by admin
(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.50. This price is two cents less expensive than one week ago, 14 cents less than one month ago and 32 cents less than one year ago. The last time that the national average was below $3.50 was February 2. While the national average price at the pump increased by fractions of a penny overnight, it had previously fallen for four consecutive days and 50 of the previous 61. The national average is currently 29 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on February 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
Motorists in the vast majority of states have seen the price of gasoline continue to fall during the last week; however drivers in nine states (see graphic below), including parts of the Midwest, actually saw prices increase during this period. Analysts have noted that the region would be susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo seasonal maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production, and recent storms and resulting power outages provided a catalyst for higher retail prices in the region. Gas stations in much of the country must make the retail switch to selling summer-blend gasoline by June 1, however refineries make the shift to summer blend in March and April in order to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more sensitive to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.
On Saturday a fire and explosion at the Marathon refinery in Detroit raised new concerns of a possible disruption to regional supply, however a statement issued today indicated that the incident is not expected to have an impact on production. While it does not appear that this most recent event will contribute to higher prices for motorists, it highlights the likelihood that gas prices in the region will remain sensitive to any unexpected disruptions to production as we near the deadline for the switch to summer blend gasoline.
While retail gas prices have continued to fall nationally, crude oil prices have reversed their recent slide and jumped higher in the last week. One week after settling below $90 per barrel for the first time in 2013, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil began last week at $88.76 per barrel but rose sharply to end the week at $93. This increase continued today as a weaker dollar kept upward pressure on oil prices. Oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars and as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, as was the case today, these futures become relatively less expensive to purchase and are a more attractive investment. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.50 cents at $94.50 per barrel.
April 25th, 2013 by admin
WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 25, 2013) – Sixty-two percent of U.S. motorists believe the federal government should invest more money to improve roadways, according to a recent public opinion poll conducted by AAA. The vast majority of drivers (81 percent) also believe the federal government should do more to improve the condition of roads and bridges.
“Most Americans recognize the need for increased transportation funding because they drive over potholes and bumpy roads every day,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Unfortunately, the main concerns voiced by motorists about transportation and driving differ markedly from the points generally expressed by policymakers to promote funding legislation.”
When asked for their concerns regarding transportation and driving their cars, issues identified by drivers included the reliability and safety of their car (34 percent) and the direct financial cost of driving (19 percent). Other major concerns included the behavior of other drivers (15 percent), safety/road accidents (15 percent) and the gas mileage/fuel efficiency of their vehicle (15 percent). According to AAA’s recently released ‘Your Driving Costs’ report, the average cost to own and operate a car this year rose 1.96 percent to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.
“Policymakers and transportation advocates are failing to connect with the public on the practical concerns that matter most to motorists,” continued Darbelnet. “Motorists want to hear about how their elected officials can improve their daily commute by repairing the pothole down the street or the bumpy road around the corner.”
Nearly seven out of ten (68 percent) motorists believe the federal government should make “reducing congestion on the roads” a top transportation priority. Traffic jams and crowded roads waste billions of dollars a year in time and fuel, and causes significant frustration for many drivers. Federal transportation funding can support increased capacity and expanded roadways.
Motorists who feel that the federal government should increase taxes or fees to improve roadways support a number of options for increasing transportation funding, including:
- Replacing the per-gallon gas tax with a national gasoline sales tax (55 percent)
- Creating a new national sales tax dedicated to transportation (47 percent)
- Expanding the use of tolls to Interstate highways where tolls are not currently collected (47 percent)
- Creating a carbon tax on fossil fuels (45 percent)
- Replacing the federal gas tax with a per-miles-driven fee (37 percent)
- Creating an energy tax on all sources of energy (35 percent)
- Increasing the federal per-gallon gas tax (27 percent)
“The public seems very willing to examine innovative transportation methods to improve road quality,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA is dedicated to examining all funding options and educating policymakers on the need to fully fund improvements for America’s roads and bridges.”
Motorists overwhelmingly (83 percent) remain concerned about wasteful government spending on transportation. AAA has worked with Congress to implement reforms, such as eliminating earmarks, streamlining bureaucratic oversight and accelerating project development as part of Map 21, the recently passed federal transportation authorization law. AAA will continue to push for improved reforms to reduce wasteful spending as Congress debates transportation funding.
This report presents the findings of an omnibus telephone survey (654 landline and 354 cell phone) consisting of 1,008 adults (503 men and 508 women) living in the continental United States. A screener question identified 817 current motorists who were asked the remainder of the question list. The study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±4.0 percent.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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.