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AAA: American Trust in Autonomous Vehicles Slips

May 22nd, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2018) – Following high-profile incidents involving autonomous vehicle technologies, a new report from AAA’s multi-year tracking study indicates that consumer trust in these vehicles has quickly eroded. Today, three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults report they would actually feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle.

“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”

Additional Resources

Surprisingly, AAA’s latest survey found that Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies — were the most impacted by these incidents. The percentage of Millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent since late 2017, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed.

“While autonomous vehicles are being tested, there’s always a chance that they will fail or encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced system,” said Megan Foster, AAA’s director of Federal Affairs. “To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road.”

AAA supports thorough testing of automated vehicle technologies as they continue to evolve, including testing under progressively complicated driving scenarios and under varying conditions, but not at the expense of safety. Additionally, to help prevent the accidental misuse of the systems, AAA advocates for a common sense, common nomenclature and classification system, and similar performance characteristics of future autonomous vehicle technologies.

“There are sometimes dozens of different marketing names for today’s safety systems,” continued Brannon. “Learning how to operate a vehicle equipped with semi-autonomous technology is challenging enough without having to decipher the equipment list and corresponding level of autonomy.”

To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Gas prices jumped 12 cents over the past 14 days, and six-cents since last Monday, landing the national average at $2.93 – the highest price point going into the Memorial Day weekend since 2014.

 

 

 

 

Previous Memorial Day Weekend Average Price National Gas Price
May 22 – May 26, 2014 $3.65
May 21 – May 25, 2015 $2.74
May 26 – May 30, 2016 $2.32
May 25 – May 29, 2017 $2.37

 

“AAA forecasts nearly 37 million travelers will hit the road for the holiday weekend. Compared to an average of the last three Memorial Day weekends, pump prices are nearly 50 cents more expensive and climbing,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Trends are indicating that this summer is likely to bring the national average to at least $3/gallon.”

Today, 14 states tout an average of $3.00 or more. Outside of the typical West Coast states, Idaho and Utah, this count includes six Northeast and Mid-West states: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, D.C., Illinois and Michigan. In addition, Arizona, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are all within four-cents of hitting the $3 mark.

Quick Stats

  • The largest monthly increases are: Minnesota (+28 cents), Wisconsin (+27 cents), Missouri (+25 cents), Connecticut (+23 cents), Delaware (+23 cents), Illinois (+23 cents), Wyoming (+22 cents), Kansas (+22 cents), Arizona (+21 cents) and Texas (+21 cents).
  • The nation’s topten most expensive markets are: California ($3.71), Hawaii ($3.68), Washington ($3.41), Alaska ($3.36), Nevada ($3.32), Oregon ($3.31), Idaho ($3.16), Utah ($3.14), Connecticut ($3.11) and Pennsylvania ($3.08).

West Coast

The West Coast region is home to the states with the highest gas prices in the nation: California ($3.71), Hawaii ($3.68), Washington ($3.41), Alaska ($3.36), Nevada ($3.32), Oregon ($3.31) and Arizona ($3.00). On the week, prices in the region have all increased. Arizona (+6 cents) saw the largest increase, while Washington and Alaska are close behind with each state’s average for unleaded regular gasoline increasing by four cents.

Motorists in Arizona (+70 cents) are seeing the largest year-over-year increase in the region and the second largest weekly increase in the country. Of West Coast states, California (+66 cents) and Hawaii (+62 cents) join Arizona on this top 10 list this week.

For the week ending on May 11, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that gas stocks fell by approximately 200,000 bbl to 29.7 million bbl. Current inventory levels are 600,000 stronger than they were at the same time last year, with increasing imports helping to buoy inventories. Imports increased by 50,000 bbl to 117,000 bbl last week.

Great Lakes and Central

As gas prices continue to increase across the country, two Great Lakes and Central states have averages of $3 or more: Illinois ($3.04) and Michigan ($3.00). At $2.95, Indiana may hit the $3/gal mark before June arrives.

On the week, seven states made their way on to the Top 10 list with the biggest increases: Indiana (+9 cents), Minnesota (+9 cents), Wisconsin (+9 cents), North Dakota (+9 cents), Kansas (+8 cents), Michigan (+8 cents) and Illinois (+8 cents).

In the region, motorists in Illinois (+65 cents) and Indiana (+63 cents) are seeing the largest year-over-year difference in gas price averages.

Gasoline inventories have been declining week-over-week for two months. However, with the latest draw (1.6 million bbl), gasoline inventories measure at 54 million bbl, which is about one million more than this time last year.

South and Southeast

The South and Southeast continue to tout the cheapest gas in the country, but prices are at least 50-cents more expensive than this time last year. The chart below lists the five cheapest gas price averages in the region on May 21, 2017 compared to today, May 21, 2018:

State May 21, 2017 May 21, 2018 Price Difference
South Carolina $2.05 $2.64 +59 cents
Mississippi $2.09 $2.61 +52 cents
Alabama $2.09 $2.62 +53 cents
Arkansas $2.10 $2.64 +54 cents
Oklahoma $2.10 $2.66 +56 cents

 

Following the previous week’s 10-cent increase, Florida’s gas price average held steady on the week at $2.82. However, all other states are seeing prices continue to climb with the start of the work week: New Mexico (+8 cents), Texas (+8 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Louisiana (+7 cents) Oklahoma (+6 cents), Arkansas (+6 cents) and South Carolina (+6 cents).

With a 1 million bbl draw, the South and Southeast regions have dialed back on gasoline inventories for a third consecutive week. Inventory levels fall to 78 million bbl – the lowest inventory level for this week in May since 2016.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are 3- to 7-cents more expensive on the week for Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. New York and Connecticut both saw the largest jump of seven cents followed by these states that saw  a six-cent increase: Maryland, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.

State gas price averages for Connecticut ($3.11), Pennsylvania ($3.08), New York ($3.07) and Washington, D.C. ($3.06) remain above the $3/gallon price point with New Jersey ($2.99) likely to join this list potentially by Memorial Day and Rhode Island ($2.96) not far behind.

Compared to a year ago, Delaware (+63 cents) and New Jersey (+62 cents) state gas price averages have the biggest increases of all states in the region.

Despite a nearly 675,000 bbl draw, inventories continue to measure above the 63 million bbl level. That being said, compared to this time last year, inventories are at a 7 million bbl deficit in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Rockies

Utah (-1 cent) was the only state in the country and region to see gas prices drop on the week. Even with that slight decrease, however, Utah ($3.14) and Idaho ($3.16) continue to make an appearance on the Top 10 list of states with the most expensive gas price averages on the week. They also land on the Top 10 list with the largest year-over-year difference in gas price averages. Utah (+71 cents) leads the nation and Idaho (+61 cents) ranks 10th.

Montana (+8 cents) leads the region with the biggest spike in prices on the week, followed by Colorado (+7 cents) and Wyoming (+5 cents). Motorists can expect to see prices continue to increase as tourism seasons kicks off in the Rockies region, which traditionally means inventory dwindles to the lowest levels of the year.

At 6.6 million bbl, inventories are at the lowest for the year and 1.1 million bbl below levels this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell 21 cents to settle at $71.28. Oil prices edged higher last week following the release of EIA’s weekly petroleum report that showed total crude inventories dropped by 1.4 million bbl. If this week’s EIA report shows another inventory draw, we can expect crude prices to continue climbing.

Additionally, at 2.57 million b/d, crude exports last week saw the highest rate ever recorded by EIA. The new record rate was 690,000 b/d more than the previous week and 1.48 million b/d more than this time last year. The surge in exports is attributed to growth in domestic crude production and Congress and the Obama Administration lifting the 40-year crude export ban in 2015.

Steady growth in crude exports from the U.S. will likely put another spotlight on the crude reduction agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, which is set to expire at the end of 2018. Amid strong global demand and reduced output from OPEC and its partners, including Russia, the U.S. has been able to sell more crude to foreign buyers. Moreover, although the U.S. did not add any active oil rigs last week, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the current total – 844 – is 124 more rigs than this time last year.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

At $2.87, the national gas price average jumped six cents on the week in part due to the White House’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran. As a result, 36 states are seeing gas prices that are a nickel or more expensive than last Monday.

“The Administration’s move combined with the switchover to summer blend, growing global demand and shrinking supply continues to fuel pump prices as we approach the summer driving season,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA predicts that the national average may reach $3/gallon this summer, especially if crude oil prices continue to increase.”

Motorists are seeing 19 percent of gas stations selling gas for $3.01 or more. Today’s gas price is 16-cents more expensive than one month ago and 53-cents more than one year ago.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: California ($3.69), Hawaii ($3.67), Washington ($3.38), Alaska ($3.31), Nevada ($3.30), Oregon ($3.28), Utah ($3.15), Idaho ($3.14), Connecticut ($3.04) and Pennsylvania ($3.04).
  • The nation’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases are: Ohio (+15 cents), Missouri (+12 cents), Kentucky (+11 cents), Minnesota (+11 cents), Delaware (+10 cents), Florida (+10 cents), Colorado (+9 cents), Maryland (+8 cents), Oklahoma (+8 cents) and West Virginia (+8 cents).

West Coast

Drivers in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation: California ($3.69), Hawaii ($3.67), Washington ($3.38), Alaska ($3.31), Nevada ($3.30), Oregon ($3.28) and Arizona ($2.94). On the week, prices in the region have all increased. California and Washington saw the biggest leap at six cents each, while Alaska (+3 cents) saw the smallest increase.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) petroleum report for the week ending on May 4, the West Coast region saw a decline in gas stocks, falling by nearly 700,000 bbl to 29.85 million bbl. An increase in demand and a drop in imports, which fell by more than half from the previous high last week of 192,000 b/d to 67,000 b/d, helped gas stocks fall in the region. However, when compared to this time last year, current total stocks of gasoline in the region are higher by more than 200,000 bbl.

Great Lakes and Central

Following a week of decreases, gas prices are showing signs of volatility in the Great Lakes and Central states. On the week, Ohio gas prices jumped 15-cents when last Monday (May 7) gas prices had seen an 8 cent-decrease from the previous week. The region often sees this volatile pattern with increases and decreases from week to week. Ohio’s jump is the largest of any state in the country on the week. Also seeing large price increases in the region on the week: Missouri (+12 cents), Kentucky (+11 cents), Minnesota (+11 cents), Wisconsin (+8 cents), Iowa (+8 cents), Nebraska (+8 cents), North Dakota (+8 cents), Illinois (+7 cents) and Michigan (+7 cents).

With a 328,000 bbl draw, gasoline inventories continue to dwindle in the Great Lakes and Central states. Despite more than two months of declines, however, total gasoline inventories are nearly 1 million bbl above last year’s levels measuring at 56 million bbl.

South and Southeast

Florida (+10 cents) saw the largest jump in gas price averages on the week in the region and had the sixth largest jump in the country. Also seeing noticeable spikes in the last seven days: Oklahoma (+8 cents), Texas (+6 cents), New Mexico (+5 cents) and Arkansas (+5 cents).  The remaining states saw moderate jumps or no price change (Georgia).

At $2.56, Mississippi carries the least expensive gasoline in the country and the region, followed by Louisiana ($2.57), Arkansas ($2.58), South Carolina ($2.58), Alabama ($2.58) and Oklahoma ($2.59).

The South and Southeast region took the largest draw in the country with 2.7 million bbl on the week. With the draw, levels fall to 79 million bbl – the lowest inventory level the region has seen since the beginning of December 2017.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Hitting the $3 mark, Connecticut ($3.04), New York ($3.00) and Washington, D.C. ($3.00) join Pennsylvania ($3.04) as some of the top 12 states with the most expensive gas prices in the country. These four states are also the only states on the east coast with gas price averages at $3 or more.

Prices are more expensive on the week across the region with Delaware (+10 cents), Maryland (+8 cents) and West Virginia (+8 cents) seeing the largest jumps on the week.

Inventories continue to grow in the region and measure at 68 million bbl. On the week, 1.8 million bbl were added to inventory. The region was the only one in the country to see inventories plus up.

Rockies

Jumping 10-cents on the week, Colorado ($2.75) lands on this week’s top 10 list of states with the largest increases. Prices continue to increase across the region: Wyoming (+6 cents), Utah (+6 cents), Montana (+5 cents) and Idaho (+3 cents).  At $3.15, Utah carries the most expensive state average in the region, followed by Idaho ($3.14). Both state averages are among the 10 most expensive in the country.

Inventories drew down for a second week by 275,000 bbl. Regional inventory sits just under 7 million bbl in total and 1.5 million blow this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 66 cents to settle at $70.70. Oil prices climbed to new highs for 2018 last week, following President Trump’s decision to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran and withdraw the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Set in 2015 under the Obama Administration, the U.S. – along with the European Union, five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany – entered into the deal that lifted economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for the country downsizing its nuclear program. Some of the pre-2015 sanctions targeted the Iranian energy sector and impeded Iran’s ability to sell oil. With those sanctions being re-imposed in the next 3-6 months, Iran’s crude exports are forecasted to decrease, contributing to already declining global crude supplies amid growing global demand. Increased fears of instability in the region may push oil prices even higher this week.

Crude prices may also increase if EIA’s weekly report shows another drop in domestic crude inventories.  Last week, the report revealed that U.S. crude inventories fell by 2.2 million bbl. At 433.8 million bbl, inventories around the country are approximately 88.8 million bbl lower than were they were in May 2017. Domestic inventories have fallen steadily since OPEC and other large producers, including Russia, have reduced their combined output since the beginning of 2017. The agreement is set to expire at the end of this year, as U.S. production continues to climb. It shows no signs of slowing anytime soon, with Baker Hughes, Inc. reporting that the U.S. gained 10 oil rigs last week. The total, 844, is 132 more rigs than last year at this time.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Julie Hall

INRIX predicts travel delays could be up to three times longer than normal over the holiday week

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 14, 2018) – Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Americans will kick off the season by traveling in near-record numbers. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years. With nearly 2 million additional people taking to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

Additional Resources

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

By the numbers: 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 36.6 million – will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.1 million people will travel by air, a 6.8 percent increase and the fifth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.4 percent to 1.8 million passengers.

Drivers Beware: Worst Times to Hit the Road

For the 36.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers could see three times the delay.

“Ranked the most congested country in the world, U.S. drivers are all too familiar with sitting in traffic,” said Graham Cookson, Chief Economist and Head of Research, INRIX. “Drivers should expect congestion across a greater number of days than in previous years, with the getaway period starting on Wednesday, May 23. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commute times in major cities altogether – traveling late morning or early afternoon – or plan alternative routes.”

Worst Days/Times to Travel

Metro Area

Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip

Atlanta, GA

Thursday, May 24

3:30 – 5:30 PM

1.6x

Houston, TX

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 6:00 PM

1.5x

Boston, MA

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 6:30 PM

1.8x

Washington, DC

Thursday, May 24

4:30 – 7:00 PM

2.3x

San Francisco, CA

Friday, May 25

3:00 – 5:30 PM

1.7x

Los Angeles, CA

Friday, May 25

3:30 – 5:30 PM

1.9x

New York, NY

Friday, May 25

3:30 – 6:30 PM

2.7x

Detroit, MI

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 5:30 PM

1.5x

Chicago, IL

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 6:00 PM

2.1x

Seattle, WA

Friday, May 25

4:00 – 6:00 PM

1.8x

     

Source: INRIX

Higher gas prices not deterring travelers
The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, an increase of 33 cents from last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply. However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year, by nearly 5 percent over last Memorial Day.

Lower hotel, airline and car rental costs make up for higher gas prices

While road trippers will pay higher prices at the gas pump this year, travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for airfare, car rentals and most mid-range hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are 7 percent lower than last Memorial Day, landing at an average price of $168 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. At $59, the average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year.

Travelers will also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels this Memorial Day, which are trending 14 percent less expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly. Meanwhile, AAA Two Diamond hotels are 7 percent more expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average nightly cost of $151.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando again tops this year’s list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on AAA advance travel bookings. Cruises to Alaska, originating in Seattle and Anchorage, as well as warm-weather destinations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Phoenix and southern California top travelers’ domestic itineraries this summer.

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Anchorage, Alaska
  6. Phoenix, Arizona
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Boston, Massachusetts
  9. Denver, Colorado
  10. New York, New York

For those planning to kick off their summers with an overseas vacation, Europe is a major draw this year. Rome, Dublin and London are the most popular international travel destinations for Memorial Day weekend.

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Las Vegas (LAS), Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Kahului, HI (OGG). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be May 25, with an average rental length of nearly six days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

AAA to rescue more than 340,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 340,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Download the AAA Mobile app before Memorial Day road trips
Before heading out on a road trip this Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

AAA: 1-in-5 U.S. Drivers Want an Electric Vehicle

May 8th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 8, 2018) – American appetite for electric vehicles is heating up. A new AAA survey shows that 20 percent or 50 million Americans will likely go electric for their next vehicle purchase, up from 15 percent in 2017. With lower-than-average ownership costs, increased driving ranges and the latest advanced safety features, AAA sees a strong future for electric vehicles. To help “green” car shoppers make an informed choice, AAA conducts independent, rigorous test-track evaluations of plug-in hybrids, hybrid and fuel-efficient, gas-powered vehicles.

“Today, electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer.”

Additional Resources

Perhaps fueling American’s desire for electric vehicles, AAA’s survey found that “range anxiety” is beginning to ease. Among those unsure or unwilling to choose an electric vehicle for their next car, 63 percent (down 9 percent from 2017) cited not enough places to charge as a detractor while 58 percent (down 15 percent from 2017) expressed concern over running out of charge while driving. Not surprisingly, range anxiety is less of a concern for millennials (48 percent) than Generation X or Baby Boomers (64 percent and 66 percent, respectively).

While range is important to most (87 percent) electric and hybrid vehicle shoppers, it is not the only consideration. Reliability is king with nine-in-ten (92 percent) of those likely to by an electric or hybrid vehicle stating it is important when evaluating which car to buy. Electric and hybrid car shoppers are also prioritizing crash ratings (77 percent), cost (71 percent), acceleration and handling (69 percent) and advanced safety technology such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance (60 percent). Fewer drivers are concerned with style, color, or design of the vehicle (34 percent) or brand of the vehicle (33 percent).

To help drivers looking to making the switch or find their next green vehicle, Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center conducts extensive and thorough testing of high fuel efficiency, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles each year, and assigns ratings based on criteria important to buyers such as ride quality, safety and performance.

“A first-time buyer may feel overwhelmed or confused by the differences between gas-powered, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric,” said Megan McKernan, manager of Automotive Research Center. “Our evaluations are designed to help drivers select a safe, comfortable and reliable vehicle – not just the most efficient one.”  

In 2018, the following vehicles earned AAA’s Top Green Vehicle award:

Category Vehicle
Overall Tesla Model X 75D
Subcompact Car Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Compact Car Nissan Leaf SL
Midsize Car BMW 530e i-Performance
Large Car Tesla Model S 75
Pickup Ford F-150 4X4 XLT Sport
SUV/Minivan Tesla Model X 75D
Best Under $30K Kia Niro LX
Best $30K – $50K Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Best Over $50K Tesla Model X 75D

Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at AAA.com/greencar.

Although Americans may be more eager to buy an electric vehicle, having the right infrastructure will be critical to its widespread adoption. In 2018, the availability of charging stations had grown to more than 16,000 in the United States and, although anxiety over range has reduced, AAA’s survey found consumer expectation for charging time while on the road may not align with reality. Seven-in-ten (68 percent) Americans feel that while out driving, a charging time of no more than 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to wait.

“Today’s drivers are accustomed to a quick fill up at the corner gas station, but electric vehicle charging can sometimes take several hours,” said Brannon. “With a little planning, electric vehicle owners can avoid a roadside inconvenience and, as technology improves, charging times will too.”

Drivers can access charging station locations through AAA’s Mobile app or TripTik Planner. Additional survey data, study methodology, graphics, photos and video can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

At $2.81, the national gas price average is 45 cents more expensive than a year ago. With the unofficial kick-off to summer just weeks away, prices are expected to increase, but a tapering trend may be emerging.

“If this past week’s moderate increases are any indicator of what’s to come, the fast rate at which gas prices were increasing may be slowing down,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “On the week, the national average held steady and 19 state averages remained flat or saw decreases in gas prices. Despite this stability, drivers on the West Coast and in Idaho, Utah and Pennsylvania are paying $3/gallon.”

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: California ($3.63), Hawaii ($3.63), Washington ($3.32), Alaska ($3.28), Nevada ($3.25), Oregon ($3.23), Idaho ($3.11), Utah ($3.09), Pennsylvania ($3.02) and Connecticut ($2.98).
  • The nation’s top 10 states with the largest yearly increases are: Indiana (+66 cents), California (+66 cents), Utah (+63 cents), Arizona (+60 cents), Hawaii (+56 cents), Idaho (+55 cents), Nevada (+55 cents), Illinois (+52 cents), New Jersey (+51 cents) and Michigan (+51 cents).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the nation: Hawaii ($3.63), California ($3.63), Washington ($3.32), Alaska ($3.28), Nevada ($3.25), Oregon ($3.23) and Arizona ($2.90). On the week, prices in the region have all increased. Arizona (+5 cents) saw the biggest leap, while Hawaii and Nevada saw the smallest increases at two cents each.

After a steady decline over the past month, gasoline stocks in the region grew during the week ending on April 27, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). At 30.5 million bbl, stocks grew by approximately 1 million bbl. Storage levels are now roughly 500,000 bbl more than the same time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

A few of the states in this region — Ohio (-8 cents), Michigan (-7 cents) and Kentucky (-5 cents) — land on this week’s top 10 states with the biggest decreases in pump prices. However, the majority of states in the Great Lakes and Central region saw increases: Indiana (+6 cents), Wisconsin (+4 cents), Illinois (+2 cents), Kansas (+2 cents) and Minnesota (+2 cents).

This week, motorists in Indiana (+66 cents) have the largest year-over-year gas price difference in the country. Illinois (+52 cents) and Michigan (+51 cents) join Indiana on the top 10 list of states with the highest year over year increase. South Dakota (+31 cents) ranks as the state with the smallest year-over-year difference in the country and the region below Minnesota (+36 cents) and North Dakota (+35 cents).

Gasoline inventories in the Great Lakes and Central states have declined steadily for eight weeks. With the latest draw of 340,000 bbl, total inventories sit at 56.2 million bbl, which are on par with levels in April 2017.

South and Southeast

Gas prices are cheaper, albeit it a few cents, in South Carolina (-2 cents), Florida (-1 cent) and Georgia (-1 cent), while prices remained flat on the week in Texas and Oklahoma. Among the South and Southeast states, New Mexico (+2 cents) saw the largest jumpin prices in the last seven days while motorists in Mississippi ($2.54), Alabama ($2.56), Texas ($2.60) and Oklahoma ($2.52) saw no change in pump prices.

Oklahoma ($2.52), Arkansas ($2.53) and Mississippi ($2.54) are the three states in the country with the cheapest state gasoline averages.

Inventories took a slight draw (600,000 bbl) on the week, but remain close to the 82 million mark. Total inventories sit nearly 2 million bbl more than this time last year.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

On the week, Pennsylvania’s gas price average held steady at $3.02, while Connecticut ($2.98), New York ($2.95) and Washington, D.C. ($2.95) inch closer toward the $3 mark. In the region, gas prices moderately increased on the week with the largest jump of four cents in Washington, D.C. On the flip-side, North Carolina and West Virginia saw decreases of a penny on the week while gas prices in Maryland ($2.79), Virginia ($2.62), Delaware ($2.76) and Tennessee ($2.89) held steady.

At $2.89, New Jersey’s gas price average is 51-cents more expensive on the year – the largest year-over-year difference in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Gasoline inventories grew by a substantial 1.3 million bbl on the week, according to the EIA. At 62 million bbl total, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast inventories are at their highest levels in nearly two months.

Rockies

Wyoming (+6 cents) and Montana (+3 cents) land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases. Idaho ($3.11) and Utah ($3.09) continue to carry the most expensive prices in the region at $3.10. Even with a 2-cent increase, Colorado ($2.66) has the cheapest average in the Rockies region.

With a 100,000 bbl draw, total gasoline inventories dropped to their lowest level of the year totaling 7.2 bbl, according to the latest EIA data. Regional inventory sits nearly 600,000 bbl below levels at the end of April 2017.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $1.29 cents to settle at $69.72 – a new high for the year. Oil prices ticked up higher last week following reports that President Trump will potentially decline to recertify the Iran nuclear deal on May 12 and may impose new sanctions on the country. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif respondedthat the country is unwilling to renegotiate the deal it set with the U.S. in 2015 under the Obama Administration. The decision to not recertify the deal could increase tensions in the volatile region, leading to global supply disruptions. Crude prices are likely to continue climbing as the May 12 deadline for the recertifying draws near and it becomes increasingly likely that the U.S. will decline to renew it.

Additionally, EIA’s weekly petroleum status report noted that U.S. crude production hit another record high at 10.62 million b/d. The growth in production occurred alongside growth in crude inventories, which grew by 6.2 million bbl last week. At 436 million bbl, inventories are nearly 92 million bbl lower than they were at this time last year.

Domestic crude production will likely see continued growth through 2018 – supported by a steady increase in active oil rigs. Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that last week, the U.S. added nine rigs, placing the total at 834. The total rig count is now 131 more than the figure at the same time last year.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

 

Summer Travelers Seek Fun in the Sun

May 1st, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (May 1, 2018) – Millions of Americans are counting down the days until their summer vacations, with most U.S. travelers planning trips to warm-weather destinations. Orlando has retained its top spot as the most visited domestic travel destination, while Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, have both grown in popularity compared with last summer.

Additional Resources

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“This is shaping up to be another banner season for travel as Americans look to get out and enjoy themselves in the summer sun,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Travelers are making plans now to visit theme parks, sail away on cruise vacations, relax at the beach and explore cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”

Domestic Travel

The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, are:

  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii (4)
  3. Anchorage, Alaska (2)
  4. Seattle, Washington (3)
  5. Los Angeles/Anaheim, California (5)
  6. Maui, Hawaii (7)
  7. Fairbanks, Alaska (6)
  8. Las Vegas, Nevada (8)
  9. Boston, Massachusetts (13)
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah (14)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Road trips remain the most popular family vacation option for those staying stateside, despite higher gas prices. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a family trip are expected to hit the roads this year.

International Travel

“Many Americans, including those traveling as a family, will venture overseas for their summer vacations,” continued Sutherland. “More than one-third of families who are planning a trip together this year will visit an international destination.”

Rome has regained its standing as the most popular locale for international summer vacations, while Dublin and Paris both continue to climb in the rankings. Beach destinations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can also expect an influx of travelers this summer.

AAA’s top international summer travel destinations include:

  1. Rome, Italy (3)
  2. Vancouver, British Columbia (1)
  3. Dublin, Ireland (4)
  4. London, England (2)
  5. Paris, France (7)
  6. Montego Bay, Jamaica (8)
  7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (5)
  8. Calgary, Alberta (10)
  9. Cancun, Mexico (6)
  10. Amsterdam, Netherlands (9)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Summer Travel Tips

AAA’s travel experts offer their top tips for travelers planning summer vacations, including:

  • Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.
  • Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan the perfect summer vacation. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
  • Be flexible – If your schedule permits, avoid traveling during peak times this summer, including Memorial Day weekend and around Independence Day, to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
  • Safety first – If driving, get plenty of rest before setting out on your road trip. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Pack an emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
  • Pack your patience – Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

To help travelers plan their summer vacations, AAA’s professional inspectors have assessed nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.

For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.  

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Hitting $2.81, today’s national gas price average has reached the highest price per gallon since November 2014. That year, pump prices averaged $3.34, peaking at $3.70 in April and bottoming out at $2.25 in December. This year’s pump prices will not be reminiscent of 2014, but for motorists, filling-up is packing an unwanted punch to wallets.

“Motorist have been spoiled the past few years with inexpensive gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “We expect prices to continue increasing, potentially another 10 cents, through Memorial Day and then will likely stabilize during the summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, prices are likely to follow.”

On the week, gasoline demand took a notable drop from its record high the previous week, falling by 774,000 b/d, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). At 9.083 million b/d, gasoline demand is now more in line with rates typically seen during the spring driving season.

Today’s national gas price average is 16-cents more expensive than last month and 43-cents more expensive that last year at this time.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases are: Missouri (+9 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Iowa (+8 cents), Utah (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), New Jersey (+7 cents), Wyoming (+7 cents), Kentucky (+7 cents), Nebraska (+7 cents) and Wisconsin (+7 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.61), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.29), Alaska ($3.25), Nevada ($3.23), Oregon ($3.19), Utah ($3.09), Idaho ($3.09), Pennsylvania ($3.02) and Connecticut ($2.95).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the nation: Hawaii ($3.61), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.29), Alaska ($3.25), Nevada ($3.23) and Oregon ($3.19). On the week, prices in the region are mostly up; with Nevada (+7 cents) leading the way and Alaska (+2 cents) seeing  the smallest gain.

When looking at year-on-year increases, California (+62 cents) tops the list of all states in the country, followed by Arizona (+55 cents), Hawaii (+54 cents), Nevada (+52 cents), Oregon (+43 cents), Washington (+38 cents) and Alaska (+32 cents).

For the fifth consecutive week, gasoline stocks in the region have fallen. At 29.6 million bbl for the week ending on April 20, inventories in the region are at their lowest point since November 2017. Although stocks are below the level they were at last year, they are still higher than the five year average for the region.

Great Lakes and Central

Missouri (+9 cents)has the largest one-week jump at the pump in the nation and the region. Iowa (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents) and Kentucky (+7 cents) also land on the top 10 states list with the largest increase. At $2.92, Michigan carries the most expensive gas price average in the region followed by Illinois ($2.87), Indiana ($2.78), Ohio ($2.75) and Kentucky ($2.74).

Comparing pump prices to those this time last year, Indiana motorists are paying 53-cents more to fill-up. This is the most expensive year-over-year difference in gas prices of any state in the region.

In the coming days, some regional states may see prices spike a little higher than other surrounding states – including Wisconsin ($2.68), Michigan ($2.92) and Minnesota ($2.61) – following fires that broke out at Husky Energy’s refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, last Thursday. The impact on prices (short or long term) will be determined by the extent of damage to the refinery. According to the company’s website, the 50,000 b/d refinery processes light had heavy crude oil, in addition to asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oils.

With a 430,000 bbl draw, inventories in the region fall to 56.6 million bbl according to the latest EIA data.

South and Southeast

Motorists in South Carolina (+48 cents) and Georgia (+47 cents) are paying nearly 50-cents more a gallon to fill-up compared to one year ago and are among the top 10 states with the largest year-over-year change. Notably, at this time last year, South Carolina carried the cheapest gas in the country. Fast-forward to today, the Palmetto state’s average is $2.57, which is the eight cheapest in the country. In the region, Oklahoma ($2.52), Arkansas ($2.52), Mississippi ($2.54), Louisiana ($2.54), and Alabama ($2.56) all have cheaper gas price averages than South Carolina  and are the cheapest in the country.

On the week, Georgia’s ($2.73) state average took the biggest jump in the region with a 7-cent increase, but Florida ($2.74) and New Mexico ($2.76) sell the most expensive gas among all South and Southeast states.

The region saw a 1.5 million bbl add, the largest build of any region on the week according to the EIA. That bumps gasoline inventories to 82.5 million bbl – 3.3 million above levels at this time last year.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices have spiked as much as 15 cents in the last 14 days for five Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states including: Rhode Island (+17 cents), Connecticut (+17 cents), New Jersey (+18 cents), Massachusetts (+15 cents) and Delaware (+15 cents).

In the region, motorists are finding prices $2.81 or more in nine states: Pennsylvania ($3.02), Connecticut ($2.95), New York ($2.94), Washington, D.C. ($2.91), New Jersey ($2.89), Rhode Island ($2.83), Vermont ($2.82) and Maine ($2.82) and Massachusetts ($2.81). The cheapest state average is $2.62 in Virginia.

Gasoline inventories saw a  544 million bbl gain after last week’s draw. Inventories have remained above the 60 million bbl mark throughout the month of April. The latest EIA data shows overall inventories are the region lag 6 million bbl behind totals last year at this time.

Rockies

Compared to one month ago, motorists in Utah (+41 cents) and Idaho (+31 cents) have seen the largest jump in gas prices in the country. On the month, prices have increased across the region: Wyoming (+17 cents), Colorado (+14 cents) and Montana (+11 cents).

At $3.09 in Utah and Idaho, gas prices are at their highest point since November 2014. With summer tourist season ahead, prices are likely to  continue to rise across the region.

Gasoline inventories added 82,000 bbl on the week after three weeks of straight declines, according to the latest EIA data. Gasoline inventories have been typically lower for April this year compared to past years, but not alarming deficits.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 9-cents to settle at $68.10. Following EIA’s report that revealed crude inventories moved higher by 2.2 million bbl, oil prices were mostly stable last week, but remained near the three year highs they reached earlier this month.

Total U.S. crude oil output increased to 10.586 million b/d. The big news in U.S. crude production this week is in exports, which surged to 2.331 million b/d last week – the highest weekly estimate ever on record from the EIA. The new record high bested the last record, which was set in mid-February of this year. Records are a direct result of the federal ban on crude exports being lifted in 2015.

Crude production in the U.S. is likely to continue its ascent. It has grown considerably alongside the total number of active rigs. According to Baker Hughes, the total number of rigs increased by five last week, bringing the total to 825. There are 128 more rigs this year than last year at this time.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data registers consumer gasoline demand at 9.857 million b/d. That is the highest level ever on record for the month of April and exceeds typical summer demand measurements. As demand skyrockets, gas prices increased across the country on the week with five states seeing double-digit jumps. The national average ticked up a nickel to $2.76.

“Pump prices are causing sticker shock across the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Gas is selling at $2.26 or more at every gas station in America. More so, 13 percent of stations have pump prices set at $3 or more.”

West Coast states primarily have the most expensive gas price averages ($3+). However, on the east coast, Pennsylvania ($2.97) is inching closer to that same threshold.
Today’s national gas price average ($2.76) is 17-cents more expensive than last month and 34-cents more expensive that last year at this time.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases are: Florida (+11 cents), Rhode Island (+11 cents), Connecticut (+10 cents), New Jersey (+10 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), Ohio (+10 cents), Utah (+8 cents), Massachusetts (+8 cents), New Hampshire (+8 cents) and New York (+7 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.59), California ($3.58), Washington ($3.25), Alaska ($3.23), Nevada ($3.18), Oregon ($3.16), Idaho ($3.05), Utah ($3.02), Pennsylvania ($2.97) and Connecticut ($2.89).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast are among the most expensive in the country: Hawaii ($3.59), California ($3.58), Washington ($3.25), Alaska ($3.23), Nevada ($3.18), Oregon ($3.16) and Arizona ($2.79). On the week, all prices are up in each state. Arizona (+6 cents) and Nevada (+5 cents) lead the pack, while Hawaii and Oregon saw their averages for unleaded regular gasoline increase by two cents each.

The EIA’s latest report registers total gasoline inventories in the region down by 1 million bbl to 30.4 million bbl. This draw was the highest one-week decline in five weeks. West Coast gas stocks now sit 400,000 bbl higher than their level this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

With this week’s increases, gas price averages in the region are as much as 35-cents more expensive than this time last year: Michigan (+35 cents), Indiana (+34 cents), Kentucky (+33 cents), Illinois (+33 cents) and Ohio (+30 cents). South Dakota (+22 cents) has the smallest year-over-year change in the region and the country.

On the week, Michigan and Ohio saw prices jump by a dime – the largest increases in gas price averages in the region and among the top 10 states in the country on the week. With a one-cent increase, Missouri saw the smallest increase in the region and the country. Overall, gas prices ranges from $2.87 in Michigan to $2.46 in Missouri.

Inventories remain above 57 million bbl, with the EIA reporting an 800,000 bbl decline on the week.

South and Southeast

With an 11-cent increase, Floridians ($2.74) are seeing not only the largest pump price jump in the country and among the South and Southeast states, but the most expensive price in the region. At $2.72, New Mexico has the second highest gas price average in the region followed by Georgia ($2.66). All other states in the region have an average of $2.56 or less.

On the week, all states saw prices increase, just not double-digits like Florida: New Mexico (+6 cents) Louisiana (+5 cent), South Carolina (+5 cents), Alabama (+5 cents), Mississippi (+4 cents), Texas (+4 cents), Arkansas (+4 cents), Oklahoma (+3 cents) and Georgia (+1 cent).

With a 680,000 bbl draw, gasoline inventories sit just above 81 million bbl, which is 2 million more than this time last year.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Six Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states land on this week’s top 10 list with the largest increases with three of them seeing prices jump double-digits: Rhode Island (+11 cents), Connecticut (+10 cents), New Jersey (+10 cents), Massachusetts (+8 cents), New Hampshire (+8 cents) and New York (+7 cents).

Pennsylvania’s ($2.97) gas price average is trending to hit $3 potentially this week. However, it will likely be the only state in the region to reach this mark. Most other states are still 11-cents or more cheaper than Pennsylvania: Connecticut ($2.89), New York ($2.88), Washington, D.C. ($2.87) and New Jersey ($2.82)

After last week’s 3 million bbl add, this week the EIA reports the region drew 200,000 bbl. Inventories sit at 60 million bbl in total, more than 4 million bbl below levels in April of last year.

Rockies

For the first time since summer 2015, Idaho ($3.05) and Utah ($3.02) have seen gas prices exceed the $3 mark, landing both states on the top 10 list with the most expensive gas price average. This week, gas price increases varied across the region: Utah (+8 cents), Idaho (+6 cents), Montana (+4 cents), Wyoming (+3 cents) and Colorado (+2 cents). Even with the increase, Wyoming’s ($2.59) average is 46-cents cheaper than the most expensive state in the region.

For a third week, inventories declined but remain above the 7 million bbl level, according to the latest EIA data.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased nine cents to settle at $68.38, which is the second highest close for WTI since Dec. 1, 2014.

The market saw increased volatility on Friday morning due to President Trump’s tweet that criticized OPEC’s efforts to restrict global crude supply and raise the price per barrel, but later in the day, crude prices rebounded to the highs they experienced  earlier in the week. The jump in price per barrel occurred after Wednesday’s EIA weekly report revealed that crude inventories across the U.S.  dropped by a combined 1.1 million bbl. They now sit at 427.6 million bbl – nearly 105 million bbl lower than their level in mid-April 2017. If EIA’s report this week reveals another inventory draw, crude prices are likely to continue climbing.

The year-over-year decline in oil inventories is a result of OPEC’s agreement with large non-OPEC producers to reduce crude production by 1.8 million b/d which was put into place inJanuary 2017. The agreement is supposed to remain in effect until the end of 2018. However, last week Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that producers in the agreement may begin easing output curbs sooner because the agreement has cleared out the glut of crude that the producers aimed to reduce. Saudi Arabia, a leading member of the cartel, is likely to push back on any efforts to end the production reduction agreement prior to the end of the year because WTI prices could reach $80-$100 by that time. Representatives from both countries are likely to discuss the matter at OPEC’s upcoming meeting in Vienna, Austria on June 20 and 21.

In related news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. gained five active oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 820. The total is up 132 rigs when compared to the rig count at this time last year.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Double Digits Means Double Trouble for Vehicle Breakdowns

April 17th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 17, 2018) – As 64 percent of family travelers gear up for a road trip this summer, AAA warns that the majority of U.S. vehicles are at a higher-than-average risk for a breakdown. A new analysis of AAA roadside data shows that vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road compared to newer vehicles and on top of that, the odds of needing a tow quadruples. With more than half of cars on the road aged 10 years or older, AAA urges drivers to minimize the chance of a breakdown by getting their vehicle road-trip ready to keep their summer travel on track.

Additional Resources

“It’s no surprise that older vehicles are more likely to encounter a serious breakdown, but it is surprising just how many people are at risk,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “All vehicles – even the newest ones – are prone to typical roadside headaches like dead batteries, flat tires and misplaced keys, but vehicles 10 years and older are four times more likely to encounter a problem serious enough to require a tow to a repair facility.”

Fortunately, most roadside trouble is avoidable. For vehicles of any age, old and new, AAA advises drivers make a good B-E-T to stay on the road by having a vehicle’s Battery, Engine and Tires checked before embarking on a summer excursion. Long trips coupled with hot weather places additional strain on vehicles and in some cases may accelerate a dormant issue. When these key systems are in good working order, AAA data shows the odds of encountering a serious breakdown are greatly reduced. The top three types of vehicle issues that could derail a road trip are:

  • Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will. Through its mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
  • Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump or engine parts such as the timing belt, most prominently in vehicles age 10 years and older. Much like a battery, the components of the engine cooling system may fail without warning. Drivers should look for fluids such as coolant pooling underneath the vehicle when it is parked as an indication of an impending problem.
  • Tire damage severe enough to require repair or replacement. Drivers can minimize this risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.

A professional and thorough vehicle inspection can help reduce the chance of a serious breakdown. If a car does end up at a repair shop, not only will a road trip be interrupted, drivers can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to get back on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers may hesitate to schedule an inspection. Not only are the majority of U.S. drivers leery of repair shops, one-in-three cannot afford an unexpected vehicle repair.

“Drivers may skip taking their car in for an inspection, hoping to avoid an expensive repair bill,” Nielsen said. “But, when you factor in the cost of an interrupted trip, having a vehicle inspected and proactively repaired will cost much less in the long run.”

AAA helps take the guesswork out of finding a trusted repair facility with its Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities. These shops must adhere to a stringent set of standards for certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, and customer service set forth by AAA. Shops with the AAR designation signal to drivers a vetted facility, inspected annually, that will offer fair pricing and quality service. To locate one, drivers can visit AAA.com/AutoRepair. Additionally, AAA also offers a free repair cost calculator, also found at AAA.com/AutoRepair, that provides drivers the ability to estimate the cost of a repair or to verify a quote received for their vehicle.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

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