AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: August 2012 Trends and September Outlook


(WASHINGTON, August 31, 2012)

Largest Gas Price Increase for the Month of August in Seven Years

  • National average gas prices increased 30.8 cents or 8.75 percent a gallon in August. This was the largest monthly price increase since April 2011 and the second highest increase for the month of August in AAA’s records, which date to 2000.
  • “It has been a really tough summer for drivers nationwide with high gas prices breaking daily records,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. “Every week there seems to be something new driving up gas prices, whether it is a major refinery fire, a pipeline closure or a Gulf Coast hurricane.”
  • Gas prices in August increased steadily from a low of $3.51 a gallon on August 1 to a high of $3.829 a gallon on August 31. This was largest August price increase since 2005, when prices increased 33.5 cents a gallon. The largest spike in gas prices this August comes immediately following the largest price increase for the month of July in AAA’s records (AAA’s July Gas Month Report).
  • The average price of gas in August was $3.69 a gallon, which was the second-highest average on record for the month. The highest monthly average on record for August was $3.77 a gallon in 2008.
  • Prices have increased 53 out of 60 days after reaching a summertime low of $3.33 a gallon on July 2.
  • The national average price of gasoline has increased about 11 cents a gallon since August 22, when forecasters began predicting that Isaac could move towards the Gulf Coast.
  • The average price of gas in 2012 is $3.62 a gallon, which is slightly more than the average of $3.56 through August 31 in 2011. The average price of gasoline in 2012 currently is on track to be the highest annual average ever. The average price of gas over the previous five years is $3.06 a gallon.
  • The three main factors driving gasoline prices in August included increased crude oil costs; regional supply problems in the Midwest and West Coast caused by refinery and pipeline disruptions; and Gulf Coast refinery closures in advance of Hurricane Isaac.


Labor Day Gas Prices to Break Record Highs before Dropping in September

    • AAA predicts that the national average price of gasoline for Labor Day this year will be the highest ever for the holiday. Prices should drop in September as Gulf Coast refineries closed by Hurricane Isaac resume operations, as gasoline demand decreases following the end of the summer driving season and as refineries transition to the production of less-expensive winter-blend fuels.
    • “People traveling this Labor Day are going to face the most expensive pump prices we have ever seen for this time of year,” continued Ash. “While prices should drop in September barring any major developments, we expect gasoline to remain at or near-record highs through the end of 2012.”
    • The national average price of gasoline on Labor Day over the previous five years was $3.08 a gallon.  Despite record-high gas prices, AAA predicts that 33 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend with approximately 28.2 million of those travelers taking their trip by car.
    • Historically, national gas prices in September have decreased five out of the previous ten years with prices declining an average of 7.4 cents in September since 2002. The average price of gasoline in September over the previous five years is $3.07 a gallon.

    Today’s Gas Price is Highest on Record for August 31

    • Today’s national average price of gasoline is $3.829 a gallon, which is the highest average on record for August 31. The second highest price on this date was in 2008, when the national average was $3.687 a gallon. The national average price of gasoline has broken calendar highs for 12 consecutive days beginning on August 20.
    • Today’s national average price of gas is 0.3 cents more than yesterday, 9.9 cents more than a week ago, 21.2 cents more than a year ago, but 10.7 cents less than the 2012 peak on April 5 and 6.
    • Seven states have averages above $4 a gallon including: Hawaii ($4.321), Calif. ($4.157), Ill. ($4.134), Mich. ($4.066), Wash. (4.035), Conn. ($4.035) and Ore. ($4.018). This compares to July 31 when only Hawaii had an average above $4. The seven states with the lowest prices include: Colo. ($3.549), N.M. ($3.601), S.C. ($3.607), Miss. ($3.609), Ala. ($3.631) Wyo. ($3.635) and Ariz. ($3.642).

    AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report is updated every day at with average national, state and local retail prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. 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.

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