AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: December 2013 Trends and January Outlook

Michael Green

(WASHINGTON, December 31, 2013)

 

 

 

 

Americans This Year Paid Least Expensive Gas Prices Since 2010

  • Drivers this year paid an average of $3.49 per gallon for gas, making 2013 the least expensive year to fill up since 2010. This year’s average was significantly lower than in 2012 when consumers paid an average of $3.60 per gallon, which was the most expensive ever. Gas prices in 2011 were the second highest on record at $3.51 per gallon, while 2013 holds the rank of third most expensive.
  • “It was a relief to see gas prices decline in 2013 following record-breaking pain at the pump in recent years,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Our hope is that prices will continue to fall as cars grow increasingly fuel efficient and refineries expand production to take advantage of the recent boom in North American crude oil.”
  • The cheapest gas prices were in South Carolina for the second year in a row with an annual average of $3.24 per gallon. The next cheapest states included: Mississippi ($3.28), Tennessee ($3.29), Arkansas ($3.29) and Missouri ($3.29). There were 30 states with an annual average below $3.50 per gallon in 2013. The cheapest annual metro average was $3.15 per gallon in Casper, Wyo.
  • Hawaii had the most expensive gas prices in 2013 with an annual average of $4.24 per gallon. The next most expensive states included: Alaska ($3.91), California ($3.89), Connecticut ($3.80) and New York ($3.78). The most expensive annual metro average was $4.42 per gallon in Wailuku, Hawaii, while the most expensive metro in the continental U.S. was the city of Chicago at $4.00 per gallon.
  • The national average has remained above $3.00 per gallon for 1,105 consecutive days, yet averages in 12 states dropped below $3.00 per gallon at some point during the year. The price of gas rose above $4.00 per gallon in 13 states at some point during the year.
  • The highest one-day national average was $3.79 per gallon on Feb. 27. This was the earliest peak price on record, and the lowest peak since 2010. In 2012, prices peaked at $3.94 per gallon on April 5 and 6. The lowest one-day national average of the year was $3.18 per gallon on Nov. 12, which was the cheapest average since Feb. 22, 2011.
  • The cheapest one-day state average of the year was $2.80 per gallon in Wyoming on Jan. 21, and the cheapest one-day metro average was $2.52 per gallon in Casper, Wyo. on Jan. 22.
  • The most expensive one-day state average was $4.40 per gallon in Hawaii on March 10, while the most expensive one-day metro average was $4.64 in Wailuku, Hawaii on June 18. In the continental U.S., the most expensive one-day state average was $4.24 in California on Feb. 27, and the most expensive one-day metro average was $4.60 in Chicago on June 12.

 

Gas Prices to Cost Slightly Less for Most Americans in 2014

  • Gas prices most likely will average slightly less in 2014 as refineries continue to expand production capacity and increasingly rely on North American crude oil. Increased refinery capacity and domestic oil production should provide a supply cushion that helps to limit dramatic price spikes caused by supply and demand.
  • “Gas prices should average slightly less in 2014 if everything goes as expected, but most drivers may not even notice because the difference could be relatively small,” continued Ash. “Increased refinery capacity and domestic crude oil production should help provide a cushion in case something goes wrong, but there are no guarantees when it comes to gas prices. There will remain an outside chance of paying higher prices due to unexpected global events or significant economic growth.”

 

Gas Prices Break Record High Heading into the New Year

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.32 per gallon, which is the highest price on record for New Year’s Eve. This is the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking prices heading into the New Year.
  • Gas prices have increased for 12 consecutive days for a total of 11 cents per gallon. Relatively high seasonal demand, rising crude oil prices and expectations for an improving economy helped push prices upwards during the second half of December.
    • Drivers paid nearly the same for gas in December as the previous few years. Gas prices averaged $3.26 per gallon for the month, which compares to $3.30 per gallon in December 2012 and $3.26 per gallon in 2011.
  • Gas prices have increased an average of 11 cents per gallon during the previous three years in January. Gasoline demand often reaches a low during the month as fewer people drive in the cold weather. Prices generally rise towards February as refineries begin seasonal maintenance.
    • Today’s national average price of gas is three cents more expensive than a year ago. On Dec. 20, the national average ended a streak of 136 consecutive days of being cheaper than the previous year.
    • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($3.95), Connecticut ($3.71), New York ($3.70), Alaska ($3.66) and California ($3.66). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Montana (3.01), Missouri ($3.05), Oklahoma ($3.06), New Mexico ($3.09) and Arkansas ($3.11).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. 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. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, trjohnson@national.aaa.com

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