AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook

Michael Green Contact Tile






(WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013)

Motorists Pay Lowest Springtime Gas Prices in Three Years

  • Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
  • “Gas prices in much of the country have declined this spring because of lower oil costs, ample refinery production and continued weak demand,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Gas prices have fallen faster and earlier than ever before for this time of year, and it is saving motorists millions of dollars per day in lower fuel costs.”
  • The national average price of gas for April 30, 2013 is $3.51 per gallon, which is the fourth highest on record for this day. The national average a year ago was $3.82 per gallon, while the average on this day in 2011 was $3.93 per gallon and in 2008 it was $3.62 per gallon.
  • AAA has no record of gas prices previously peaking in February, yet the highest average of the year so far is $3.79 per gallon on Feb. 27. Since that time, the average price nationally has dropped 50 out of 62 days for a total of 28 cents per gallon. The peak price in 2012 was $3.94 per gallon on April 5 and 6, while the peak in 2011 was $3.98 on May 5.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices dropped below $87 per barrel in mid-April, which was the lowest closing price since December. The price of WTI began the month at more than $97 per barrel and closed yesterday at $94.50 per barrel. Oil and commodity prices dropped earlier in the month as a result of expectations of yet another “spring swoon” for the economy.
  • Half of U.S. adults consider gas prices to be “too high” when it reaches $3.44 per gallon, according to a new consumer index developed by AAA. Forty-six percent of adults believe gas is too high when it reaches $3.00 per gallon; 61 percent believe it is too high when it reaches $3.50 per gallon; and 90 percent believe gas is too high when it reaches $4.00 per gallon. Sixty-two percent of Americans are offsetting high gas prices by changing their driving habits or lifestyle.

Gas Prices Should Drop to $3.20-$3.40 During Summer Driving Season

  • Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
  • “Families taking trips this summer can expect to pay lower gas prices than recent years as long as there are not any refinery problems or significant international news events,” continued Ash. “Lower prices should bring at least some relief to everyone going on vacation, but it is clear that millions of motorists will continue to believe that prices are too high for this time of year.”
  • Over the next few weeks average prices nationally could remain flat or even rise slightly as some maintenance and production issues continue. Prices in the Great Lakes region, in particular, could rise as a result of both scheduled and unscheduled refinery maintenance. Gas stations in many parts of the country also must begin selling more expensive summer-blend gasoline by June 1 in order to meet federal air quality standards.

Cheapest Gas Prices Predominately in the Southeastern United States

  • The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
  • Motorists in every state in the continental U.S. are paying less than $4 per gallon for gasoline. The only state paying above that threshold is Hawaii, which generally is the most expensive gasoline market in the country.
  • The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

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