AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: December 2012 Trends and January Outlook

WASHINGTON, December 31, 2012 –






Gas Prices in 2012 Most Expensive Year on Record

  • The national average price of gasoline in 2012 was $3.60 a gallon, which is the most expensive annual average on record. The previous annual record was $3.51 a gallon set in 2011, while the third most expensive year for gas prices was 2008, when the average was $3.25 a gallon.
  • “Record high gas prices have made this the most expensive year yet for motorists,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Factors as volatile as major hurricanes, refinery outages and tension in the Middle East resulted in significant frustration for people filling up their cars.”
  • The national average has broken a daily record high for 134 consecutive days for a total a 248 days in 2012. Motorists paid record-high gas prices on 68 percent of the days during the year.
  • The highest daily national average of the year was $3.94 a gallon on April 5 and 6, while the lowest daily national average was $3.22 a gallon on Dec. 20.
  • The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), Calif. ($4.03), N.Y. ($3.90) and Conn. ($3.90). The states with the cheapest annual averages included S.C. ($3.35), Mo. ($3.38), Miss. ($3.39), Tenn. ($3.40) and Okla. ($3.41).
  • The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.
  • The daily average for regular gasoline dropped below $3.00 per gallon in only eight states at some point during the year, while daily averages increased above $4.00 per gallon in 11 states (and Washington D.C.) at some point.


December Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Average of the Year

  • Gas prices averaged $3.30 a gallon nationally in December, which was the lowest monthly average of the year.
  • The national average declined 11 cents per gallon (3.25 percent) in December and declined on 22 days during the month.
  • Gas prices nationally have fallen nearly 58 cents a gallon (14.96 percent) on average since September 14, the day before much of the United States began the transition to winter-blend gasoline. Gas prices have dropped as a result of decreased demand, increased supplies and the switchover to less expensive winter-blend fuels.

Fiscal Cliff Adding Uncertainty to Gas Prices in 2013

  • A failure to reach a fiscal cliff deal could push the economy into a renewed recession, which would drive down gas prices as a result of decreased demand and weaker commodities prices including oil and gas. As a result of continued negotiations in Washington, predictions about gas prices in 2013 remain very uncertain.
  • Even if a fiscal cliff deal is reached, AAA predicts that gas prices in 2013 will remain high, but are likely to be cheaper than in 2012 due to increased domestic crude oil production and that demand is expected to remain lower than in recent years.
  • “What happens with gas prices this year will be impacted by decisions in Washington this month,” continued Ash.  “Yet no matter what happens in Congress, AAA is optimistic that gas prices will be less expensive than in 2012.”

Today’s Gas Prices (Dec. 31, 2012)

  • Today’s national average price of gasoline is $3.29 per gallon, which is 4.5 cents more than a week ago and 1.6 cents more than a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest prices include: Hawaii ($3.99), N.Y. ($3.74), Conn. ($3.68), Calif. ($3.57) and Vt. ($3.55). The five states with the lowest prices include: Wyo. ($2.98), Colo. ($3.01), Okla. ($3.02), Utah ($3.03) and Mo. ($3.03).

AAA’s average gas prices are updated daily 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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