Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | October 14, 2013

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, October 14, 2013) Today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.34 per gallon. This price is fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, 19 cents less than one month ago and 45 cents less than the same day last year. Today’s year-over-year discount has narrowed two cents per gallon since last week, but remains just below the multi-year high discount of 47 cents registered on October 8.

The national average price at the pump rose by fractions of a penny last Tuesday and Wednesday, which ended a streak of 36 consecutive daily declines—the longest run since 2008. National pump prices have now declined 41 of the past 43 days and have fallen more than a quarter per gallon during this slide.


The continuing federal government shutdown and looming deadline to address the debt ceiling still hang over markets; however reports of progress in discussions on both topics over the weekend and today have helped to stabilize prices. Markets have declined in recent weeks, reflecting concern over the heated impasse in Washington. However the larger drop that would be expected to accompany a prolonged shutdown or default on U.S. debt obligations has not yet taken place. This suggests that traders are following the assumption that an agreement will ultimately be reached even if it comes at the eleventh hour. With the window closing to raise the debt ceiling or face default, this will be a story to watch closely in the days ahead. Should discussions break-down, and an agreement not be reached, commodities and equities markets could move sharply lower.

Gas prices in every state are at least 19 cents less than a year ago, and motorists in five states are paying at least 30 cents less per gallon than a month ago. The national average is fractions of a penny below last week; however it has been a mixed bag at the state level. Prices in 36 states and Washington D.C. are lower, including six states where motorists are paying at least a nickel less per gallon (Utah -5 cents, Ore. -5 cents, Idaho -6 cents, Hawaii -6 cents, Wash.  -7 cents, and Kan. -7 cents). This compares to 14 states where prices are more expensive, including four states where drivers are paying at least eight cents more per gallon (Ohio +8 cents, Mich. +8 cents, Ky. +8 cents, and Ind. +14 cents).


The national average price of gasoline has fallen more than 30 cents (eight percent) from $3.67 per gallon on July 19; however the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has remained elevated above $100 per barrel. This streak continued today as WTI settled 39 cents higher at $102.41 per barrel at the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

One year ago WTI settled at $91.85 per barrel—en route to a seasonal low of $84.86 on Nov. 2—compared to a national average pump price of $3.79 per gallon the same day. Today’s settlement of $102.41 for WTI (11 percent more than a year ago) compares to a national pump price of $3.34 (12 percent less than a year ago). AAA continues to expect that national gas prices will fall in the coming months due to sufficient supplies, flat demand and cheaper winter-blend gasoline; however if crude oil prices remain elevated, it would provide a fundamental floor of how low gas prices can ultimately go.

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