Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | October 15, 2012

(WASHINGTON, October 15, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.79.  This price is three cents less expensive than one week ago and eight cents less expensive than one month ago, but still 34 cents more expensive than one year ago.  While the national average has begun to decline, the daily average price has been the highest on record for each calendar day for eight straight weeks.  AAA expects pump prices to decline, but still set daily records, approaching the end of the year.

The national average reflects a price at the pump that is falling for the majority of American motorists; however a look at individual state averages shows that this price relief varies dramatically by region. One month after the national price peaked for the second-half of 2012 at $3.87 on September 14, drivers in 44 states and Washington, D.C. are paying less month-over-month to fill up their car.  These lower prices are most pronounced in the eight Midwest and central states where prices are more than 20 cents lower than the same day in September: Kan. – 20.5¢, Okla. – 22.1¢, Mo. – 22.3¢, Minn. – 23.0¢, Ind. – 25.1¢, Mich. – 25.8¢, Ohio – 26.5¢, and Ill. – 28.5¢.

Meanwhile, the state averages for Alaska, Hawaii, Calif., Ore., Wash., and Nev. have moved higher during this same time span.  These price increases have been led by California where pump prices are a whopping 45.6 cents per gallon more expensive following recent refining and distribution issues that impacted a market already facing historically low gasoline supplies. While last week’s resolution to some of these refining glitches and a waiver of the summer-blend gasoline requirements by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have seen prices in that state fall six cents in the last week, the state average remains just below the all-time record of $4.67 set just six days ago.  Rising gasoline prices in California have dragged the price at the pump higher for those nearby states, although the price increases have been far less dramatic.

While national retail gasoline prices have drifted lower in October, crude oil prices have been relatively flat.  West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil began the month at $92.48 and ended last week at $91.86.  However, the current price is still well off of the recent high of $99 per barrel on September 14.  Unfortunately for some motorists, the impact of these lower crude oil prices has been outweighed by regional gasoline supply and distribution issues that have kept upward pressure on prices at the pump.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI crude oil had fallen by a penny to settle at $91.85 per barrel.

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