Posts Tagged ‘A A A’

At $2.53, the national gas price average has held steady for nine days. Factors contributing to the flat price include increased gasoline production that has kept pace with higher than usual demand this winter. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows that demand increased week-over-week, registering at 9.2 b/d – the highest gasoline demand level seen this year.

“On the week, the majority of motorists are paying less at the pump with 67 percent However, the West Coast, Great Lakes and Central states are mostly seeing a gas price increase.”

Today’s national average is a nickel less than last month, but 13 cents more than one year ago.

Quick Stats

  • The largest weekly changes are: Michigan (+6 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Ohio (+4 cents), Indiana (+3 cents), California (+3 cents) and New Mexico (+3 cents), Louisiana (-3 cents), Georgia (-3 cents) and Utah (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Alabama ($2.26), South Carolina ($2.26), Mississippi ($2.26), Texas ($2.27), Missouri ($2.28), Arkansas ($2.28), Tennessee ($2.30), Louisiana ($2.31), Kentucky ($2.32) and Oklahoma ($2.32).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the country: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.37), Alaska ($3.06), Washington ($3.01), Oregon ($2.92) and Nevada ($2.81). On the week, California, Oregon and Nevada saw the largest jumps, increasing by two cents each. Washington inched up by a penny, while the remaining states stayed the same.

According to the EIA, gasoline inventories saw a 1.2 million bbl build last week – the largest increase in nearly two months. Total gasoline stocks in the region sit at 34.4 million bbl, which is approximately 4 million bbl more than the level at this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

The Great Lakes and Central states saw the most volatility with gas prices increasing 6 cents in one state and decreasing 5 cents on the week in another: Michigan (+6 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Ohio (+4 cents) Indiana (+3 cents), and Kansas (-3 cents). In addition, Wisconsin (+1 cent) motorists are paying more. Gas prices are cheaper for all other states in the region.

After last week’s substantial 1.7 million bbl build, gas inventories added 880,000 bbl this week according to the EIA. Total inventories sit at 61 million bbl. The last time the region reached or was above 61 million bbl was in 2016, according to the EIA. It was reported that PBF Energy’s 188,000-b/d refinery in Toledo, Ohio, shut its hydrocracker for planned maintenance last week. A hydrocracker breaks up oil into a variety of byproducts, including gasoline. This could affect regional inventory levels through April, which is when the refinery expects to complete maintenance.

South and Southeast

Prices at the pump are cheaper for every state in the South and Southeast except for New Mexico (+3 cents). Florida (-4 cents) saw the largest drop. Seven of the country’s top 10 states with the cheapest gas price average are in this region: Alabama ($2.26), South Carolina ($2.26), Mississippi ($2.26), Texas ($2.27), Arkansas ($2.28), Louisiana ($2.31) and Oklahoma ($2.31).

Compared to one month ago, gas prices are 4 to 15 cents cheaper. Florida (-15 cents) is seeing the biggest price drop in the region and the country.

At 85.7 million bbl, gasoline inventories in the region are at the second-highest total on record, according to EIA data. If the region builds on current levels this coming week, the record of 85.9 million, set in January 2017, could be broken.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, gas prices dropped as much as 3 cents on the week with Pennsylvania and Delaware landing on this week’s top 10 states list with the biggest decreases. In the region, gas prices range from as low as $2.30 in Tennessee to as expensive as $2.76 in Pennsylvania.

Despite this week’s pump price decreases, all states in the region are paying more than at the same time last year. However, a handful are paying as much as 25-cents or more to fill up versus March 2017: Massachusetts (+31 cents), Rhode Island (+30 cents), Vermont (+30 cents), New Jersey (+29 cents), Connecticut (+29 cents), Washington, D.C. (+28 cents), New Hampshire (+28 cents), Pennsylvania (+26 cents), New York (+26 cents), Maine (+26 cents) and West Virginia (+25 cents).

Gasoline inventories took a large 3.4 million bbl draw on the week, according to the EIA. Regional inventory sits at 61.8 million bbl. The draw is not surprising given an increase in U.S. exports and that local Phillips 66 Bayway refinery continues maintenance.

Rockies

Motorists in the Rockies region continue to see gas prices decline. With a 3-cent drop, Utah saw the biggest change on the week in the region and is among the top 10 states in the country. Gas prices are 2 cents cheaper in Idaho and one cent cheaper in Colorado and Wyoming.  At $2.59, Montana’s average was stable on the week and continues to sell the most expensive gas in this five-state region.

Utah (-2 cents) is the only state in the country paying less at the pump compared to this time last year. Montana (+23 cents) is paying the most year-over-year.

With a 700,000 build, gasoline inventories register at 8.2 million bbl. This is on par with levels this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $1.92 to settle at $62.04. Earlier in the week, after EIA’s weekly report noted that crude oil inventories increased by 2.4 million bbl last week, WTI prices took a hit. Crude prices rebounded toward the weekend because of a strong rally alongside the stock market. The price of crude has the potential to slide this week amid the fact that U.S. crude production continues to boom.

Crude production hit another record at 10.37 million b/d last week. Market observers are likely to continue watching this number to see if it begins to outpace domestic and global crude oil demand. According to Baker Hughes, the U.S. lost four active oil rigs last week. The current total stands at 796, which is 179 more than last year’s count 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.

Gas Prices on the Rise for Half of the Country

March 5th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Following three weeks of pump price declines, half of the country is seeing gas prices climb as much as 9 cents on the week. At $2.53, the national gas prices average is one cent more than last Monday with 25 states seeing gas prices increases. That being said, today, 63% of motorists in the United States can fill up for $2.50/gallon or less.

“2018 has seen fluctuating crude oil prices, strong gasoline demand and new U.S. oil production records creating a volatile gas price market from month to month for consumers,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Typically, March brings more expensive pricing as days get longer, weather gets warmer and refinery’s gear up to switchover to pricier summer blends.”

Today, gas prices are 8 cents cheaper from last month. However, they are still 22 cents more expensive than this time last year.

Quick Stats

  • The largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+9 cents), Indiana (+8 cents), Georgia (+5 cents), Alaska (+4 cents), Kansas (+4 cents), Michigan (+4 cents), South Carolina (+3 cents), Oregon (+3 cents), Illinois (+3 cents) and New Jersey (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.35), Alaska ($3.06), Washington ($3.00), Oregon ($2.90), Nevada ($2.79), Pennsylvania ($2.79), Washington, DC ($2.73), New York ($2.71) and Connecticut ($2.69).

West Coast

Drivers in six states in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the country: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.35), Alaska ($3.06), Washington ($3.00), Oregon ($2.90) and Nevada ($2.79). On the week, all prices in these states are up. Alaska (+4 cents) and Oregon (+3 cents) saw the largest jumps, while Hawaii and Washington each increased by two cents. Both California and Nevada inched up by a penny.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline inventories saw a draw down for the third consecutive week; decreasing by 1 million bbl. Still, inventories now sit at 33.2 million bbl, which is nearly 3 million bbl higher than they were at this time last year. Planned maintenance at refineries in the region has helped to lower stocks.

Great Lakes and Central

Gas prices have increased for the majority of states in the region on the week. With a 9-cent jump, Ohio is seeing the largest increase in the country and region followed by Indiana (+8 cents) and Kansas (+4 cents). Only four of the 13 states in the region saw prices decrease: Iowa (-2 cents), Kentucky (-1 cent), Minnesota (-1 cent) and North Dakota (-1 cent).

Compared to last month, all motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing a cost savings at the pump. These states are seeing the largest drops: Indiana (-15 cents), Kentucky (-15 cents), Iowa (-14 cents), Michigan (-14 cents), Nebraska (-12 cents), Wisconsin (-8 cents), Illinois (-8 cents) and Minnesota (-7 cents).

On the week, gasoline inventories built by 1.7 million bbl to register at 60 million bbl. This is the largest inventory total the Great Lakes and Central region has seen this year and on par with levels this time last year, according to the EIA.

South and Southeast

Gas prices are more expensive on the week for every state in the region. Georgia (+5 cents), South Carolina (+3 cents) and Texas (+3 cents) saw the largest increases in the region and also land on the top 10 states with the biggest changes this week.

Compared to the first week of March 2017, gas prices are more expensive in the South and Southeast region. At 11 cents more, New Mexico is seeing the smallest year-over-year change while Florida (+25 cents) tops the region for the largest yearly price change.

With a 1.8 million bbl build, gasoline inventories in the South and Southeast region total at 85.3 million bbl. This is a new record for 2018 and 3.6 million bbl ahead of inventory levels this time last year.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices increased in only two states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region on the week: North Carolina (+2 cents) and Tennessee (+1 cent). Gas prices decreased 1 to 3 cents in all other states with New Jersey seeing the largest drop.

Six states land on the 10 top list for largest year-over-year gas price change, paying as much as 30-cents more for a gallon or regular: Massachusetts (+31 cents), Rhode Island (+31 cents), Vermont (+30 cents), New Jersey (+30 cents), Connecticut (+29 cents) and New Hampshire (+28 cents). At 19 cents more, North Carolina is seeing the smallest year-over-year change at the pump in the region.

Gasoline inventories remain above the 65 million bbl mark despite a second week of declines. The region is facing a 10 million bbl deficit compared to this week last year, according to EIA data.

Rockies

On the week, all states are paying less at the pump: Utah (-3 cents), Wyoming (-2 cent), Colorado (-1 cents), Idaho (-1 cent) and Montana (-1 cent). With a 1-cent increase, Montana ($2.59) is selling the most expensive gas in the region followed by Idaho ($2.56). At $2.41, Colorado carries the cheapest gas of all five states.

Inventories took a slight dip, but continue to measure above the 8 million bbl mark. Total inventories are sit about 380,000 bbl below EIA reports from this week last year.

 

Oil market dynamics

After losses throughout last week, WTI increased 26 cents to settle at $61.25 at the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, The losses earlier in the week came after EIA’s petroleum report revealed that crude oil inventories grew by 3 million bbl last week. Moreover, crude runs at refineries inched up to 15.9 million b/d, marking slower than expected growth. At the same time, domestic crude production continues to boom at 10.3 million b/d, which could cause inventories to continue to increase. If they do, oil prices may take a further hit when EIA’s weekly petroleum report week is released on Wednesday. Additionally, the U.S. gained an active oil rig last week, bringing the current total to 800.

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.

Costly Spring Gas Price Spike Coming to a Pump Near You

March 1st, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2018) – For the first quarter of the year, gas prices have been expensive. On average, motorists are paying a quarter more than at the same time last year. While pump prices have dipped in recent weeks, this is not a trend consumers should expect to linger. AAA forecasts the national gas price average will be as much as $2.70/gallon this spring – a costly pump price Americans have not paid since summer of 2015 when prices hit $2.81.

“There is tremendous volatility in the oil and gasoline market. Crude oil is selling at high prices compared to previous years and domestic gasoline demand has been high most of the winter among the factors all driving gas prices up and draining consumers’ wallets,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This spring, consumers may have to make decisions on where they can cut costs to cover gas prices that are potentially 40-cents more per gallon than last spring.”

Additional Resources

  • Gas Price Forecast graphics: 12

A new AAA survey found the vast majority of consumers would change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset higher gas prices. One in four say they would start making changes at $2.75, while 40 percent say $3.00 is their tipping point. Changes consumers said they would make include combining errands or trips (79%), driving less (73%), reducing shopping or dining out (61%), delaying major purchases (50%) and driving more fuel-efficient vehicles (46%).

AAA does not expect the national gas price to be reminiscent of 2011-2014, when motorists were paying on average $3.47/gallon. While some states, like California, may see $4/gallon, it will be temporary.

“Motorists will start to see gas prices make their spring spike in early April. That is when refinery maintenance is expected to be wrapped-up and the switchover to more expensive summer-blend gasoline kicks in along with warmer weather and typical demand increases,” added Casselano. “Consumers can expect prices to likely increase throughout April, May and into the start of summer.”

Fuel Savings Tips for Consumers

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey, on average Americans drive 32 miles a day and spend 51 minutes behind the wheel. AAA offers a few ways to conserve fuel:

  • Slow down. The faster you drive the more fuel you use. Every 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.18 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy.
  • Share work or school rides by carpooling or consider public transportation.
  • Do not use your trunk for storage. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  • Combine errands. If possible, park in a central spot and walk from place to place.

Summer Look Ahead

AAA expects summer gas prices to be just as expensive as spring prices, but with the potential that they may not increase at such a quick rate. Heading into summer, a variety of factors including U.S. gasoline supply-demand levels, domestic gasoline production rates, and global crude demand will help better shape the summer forecast.

Oil Market Dynamics Overview

Since December, the crude oil market has been on a volatile ride. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices hit a closing high of $60/barrel in late December and continued to climb into 2018 up to $70/barrel, translating into expensive gas prices this winter. However, when the financial markets began to fluctuate in February, oil prices took a hit and have been mostly trending cheaper – between $59 and $62 – and gas prices are following suit.

As crude prices bounce around, U.S. crude production continues to soar. Production growth has been fueled by a sharp increase in the number of active oil rigs in the U.S., which currently total 799. That figure is 197 more rigs than last year’s count at this time.

Similar to the year-end crude price spike, the production trend started at the end of 2017 when U.S. crude production hit 10 million b/d for the first time since November 1970. This move surprised most market analysts who did not expect the record to be broken last year. Since January, domestic crude production rates have steadily grown. In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), all U.S. crude production in February 2018 has remained above 10 million b/d, and the rate is likely to continue its ascent.

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.

Gasoline Demand Dips, Gas Prices Continue to Drop

February 26th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

At $2.52, the national gas price average is the cheapest pump price seen this February. The national gas price average for the month of February is $2.56, which is 29-cents more expensive than the $2.28 average of February 2017. On the week, gas prices decreased 1 cent.

“Gas prices continue to trend cheaper for the majority of motorists as demand for consumer gasoline declines for a second week,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Even with the small drop-off, demand continues to register above 9 million b/d, which is a four percent year-on-year increase, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest report.

While cheaper gas prices are welcomed by motorists, AAA does not expect the trend to continue and will issue a Spring Gas Price Report later this week.

Quick Stats

  • The largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-9 cents), Florida (-5 cents), Michigan (+5 cents), Kentucky (+4 cents), New Jersey (-4 cents), Ohio (+4 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents), New Mexico (-3 cents), Maryland (-3 cents) and Tennessee (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Texas ($2.25), South Carolina ($2.25), Mississippi ($2.26), Alabama ($2.26), Missouri ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.30), Ohio ($2.30), Tennessee ($3.31), New Mexico ($2.32) and Oklahoma ($2.33).

West Coast

Six states in the West Coast region have some of the most expensive pump prices in the country: Hawaii ($3.48), California ($3.34), Alaska ($3.02), Washington ($2.99), Oregon ($2.87) and Nevada ($2.79). On the week, Hawaii and California each increased by a penny, while Alaska dropped by a penny. Washington, Oregon and Nevada’s state averages remain unchanged since last week.

According to the EIA, gasoline inventories in the region fell slightly for the second week. Inventories still sit at a comfortable 34.2 million bbl, which is nearly 4 million bbl higher than they were at this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

Great Lakes and Central states’ gas prices are showing signs of volatility. On the week, the majority of states saw prices decrease, but a handful of states are paying more compared to last week: Michigan (+5 cents) Kentucky (+4 cents),Ohio (+4 cents) Illinois (+3 cent) and Missouri (+2 cents).

With a 10-cent decrease, Indiana saw the largest pump price drop for the region and the country this past week. In the region, Iowa (-2 cents) saw the second largest drop, and at $2.51 sells among the most expensive gas.

Gasoline inventories continue to build week over week since the start of the year. According to the EIA’s latest report, inventories built by 740,000 bbl to total at 58.3 million bbl. Inventories are just 1.8 million below last year this week.

South and Southeast

On the week, Florida (-5 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents) and New Mexico (-3 cents) lead the South and Southeast states with price declines and land on the top 10 states with the biggest changes this week. All states are paying less on the week except for Oklahoma where prices increased one cent.

Gas prices across the region are among the cheapest in the country: Texas ($2.25), South Carolina ($2.25), Mississippi ($2.26), Alabama ($2.26), Arkansas ($2.30), New Mexico ($2.32) and Oklahoma ($2.33). At $2.52, Florida carries the most expensive gas in the South and Southeast.

Gasoline inventories remain above 83 million bbl despite a small dip of 32,000 bbl on the week. The region carries the largest total inventory of gasoline in the country.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are 1-4 cents cheaper across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. New Jersey (-4 cents), Maryland (-3 cents), Tennessee (-3 cents), Delaware (-3 cents), Virginia (-3 cents) and Vermont (-3 cents) saw the largest changes on the week. Despite the drops, motorists in the region are seeing very expensive prices at the pump. In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, the majority of states have gas averages between $2.34 (Virginia) up to $2.81 (Pennsylvania).

Compared to gas prices this week last year, Rhode Island (+32 cents), Massachusetts (+31 cents), New Jersey (+31 cents), Vermont (+31 cents), Connecticut (+29 cents) and Pennsylvania (+29 cents) all land on the top 10 states with the largest year-over-year changes.

Regional inventories dropped to the 65 million bbl mark on the week. According to the EIA, inventory fell by 748,000 bbl. Inventories are 10.2 million bbl below totals compared to this week last year.

Rockies

Motorists across the Rockies continue to see gas prices drop. This week, Colorado (-3 cents) and Utah (-3 cents) saw the largest changes at the pump. Compared to one month ago, gas prices are only more expensive in Wyoming (+1 cents). However, compared to a year ago, gas prices are as much as 27-cents more expensive in Montana. Across the region, everyone is paying more year-over-year: Wyoming (+22 cents), Colorado (+21 cents) Idaho (+15 cents) and Utah (+12 cents).

Building by 453,000, gasoline inventories surpassed the 8 million bbl mark. Total inventories are comparable to inventory levels at this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 78 cents to settle at $63.55. Oil prices are likely to continue rebounding this week after the EIA’s latest petroleum report revealed that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell by 1.6 million barrels. The drop gave some market observers hope that global demand growth this year may help drain global inventories further, even with U.S. production continuing to grow.

EIA’s report also found that U.S. domestic crude production and exports remain high, hitting 10.270 million b/d and 2.04 million b/d respectively. A steady increase in crude oil exports underscores that growth in domestic production has led to the U.S. ability to meet growth in global appetite for oil. The growth and price gains for crude since the end of last year have helped to drive additional investment in drilling activity in the U.S., which currently has 799 active oil rigs, according to Baker Hughes, Inc.

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.

Five Diamond dining establishments are noted for specialty ingredients, advanced culinary techniques

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 21, 2018) – AAA has unveiled 68 restaurants that earned the AAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for this year’s Five Diamond Restaurants list. The eight new honorees feature a range of culinary trends from frequently changing tasting menus to open kitchens with counter seating.

Just 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants are Five Diamond Rated. To qualify for the rating, a restaurant will consistently provide leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef and served by expert service staff in extraordinary surroundings.

Additional Resources

“Attaining a Five Diamond Rating is an exceptional accomplishment that signifies meticulous attention to detail, creativity in enhancing comfort, outstanding service and memorable guest experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “And as more mid-scale and even budget properties are adding amenities for comfort and convenience, hotels that aim for a Five Diamond Rating must stay far ahead of the curve to differentiate themselves through advanced design concepts, highest quality furnishings and scrupulous attention to guests’ expectations.”

“Five Diamond restaurants have evolved over the years to meet the changing expectations of restaurant enthusiasts who are increasingly sophisticated about cuisine,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “Guests want to learn about cooking techniques, ingredient sourcing and the latest trends. They are looking for a wide-ranging dining experience that includes being educated and entertained. No longer does world-class necessarily mean formal attire and opulent surroundings. And that’s where AAA’s Diamond Ratings can help guide the discerning diner.”

While some Five Diamond restaurants still have lavish surroundings, others feature counter seating or chef’s tables overlooking or surrounding the cooking area. And many Five Diamond restaurants, including most of those new to the list this year, have tasting menus offering a frequently changing array of intricate small dishes prepared from the finest ingredients and presented in an interactive environment.

Of note about the eight honorees added to the Five Diamond list this year:

  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare – New York City. Prepaid guests enter this “hidden restaurant” in Hell’s Kitchen through an unmarked passageway in the back of a grocery store. From the 18-seat chef’s table or one of a few side tables, patrons watch as an extravagant tasting menu is artistically prepared before their eyes, offering nearly three hours of culinary bliss.
  • Manresa – Los Gatos, California. This elegant restaurant offers a creative, artistic menu filled with local and global influences. Fresh dishes from a menu likely to change daily may include rack of veal, spring lamb or abalone. The wine pairing is highly recommended.
  • McCrady’s – Charleston, South Carolina. This is half of a dual-concept eatery, shared with a tavern that has a more casual menu and is a good spot for a pre-dinner cocktail. McCrady’s offers a 10- to 12-course menu of small dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. Diners sit at a black walnut counter in front of a gleaming open kitchen. The set menu may include sea urchin, local clams, Magwood shrimp, fresh cobia, aged beef, Ossabaw Island pork or foie gras.
  • Pineapple and Pearls – Washington, D.C. At this unassuming storefront restaurant, guests are greeted with a glass of champagne. The welcoming, expert staff guides patrons through a set tasting menu of courses. The all-inclusive experience is prepaid, including wine pairings or mock cocktails, so don’t expect a bill after the meal.
  • TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui – Cancun, Mexico. Dishes may include red tuna tartar, roasted butterfish, lobster, Kobe beef and rabbit. Options include an eight-course tasting menu that changes regularly. Guests enjoy professional, attentive service and excellent wine selection assistance. Business-casual attire and closed-toe shoes are required.
  • The Catbird Seat – Nashville, Tennessee. This intimate, sleekly designed restaurant features super-local ingredients including produce grown seasonally in the restaurant’s patio garden. Counter seating surrounds the open kitchen. The multi-course tasting menu changes often but is always a highly interactive and adventurous experience, with chefs describing every course.
  • Topper’s Nantucket, Massachusetts. This charming waterfront restaurant, inside an elegant beach inn, can be reached by complimentary water taxi service, a scenic one-hour cruise along the bay with pre-dinner cocktail service. The changing prix-fixe menu may include fine caviar, black truffles, lobster, rack of lamb, tender sirloin or oysters farmed right off the docks. Beautiful sculptures separate linen-covered tables, and the wine list includes 1,500 different labels and 25,000 bottles.
  • VetriPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania. This namesake restaurant of Chef Marc Vetri offers a multi-course culinary symphony led by knowledgeable servers. The menu varies to include fresh seasonal ingredients, but the Swiss chard gnocchi is a staple that melts in the mouth. Fresh breads, pasta and pastries are made from sustainable, house-milled grains. Vegetarians and guests with dietary restrictions are easily accommodated. Cooking classes are offered, ranging from bread and pastry baking to wine courses.

“It is no small feat to be named a AAA Five Diamond restaurant. Receiving this rating is a rare honor that signifies the highest-quality flavors and innovative presentations, with personalized service in memorable surroundings,” added Petrone. Restaurants receiving a Five Diamond Rating undergo a number of checks and balances including multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts to ensure credibility.

AAA Four Diamond restaurants are also an exclusive group, offering distinctive, creatively prepared cuisine, skillfully served in a notable environment. Only 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants – 665 – made the Four Diamond list for 2018, including 52 added this year.

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, then went to a formal rating system in 1963 that in 1976 evolved into the Diamond Rating system for lodgings. (The Diamond Ratings for restaurants started in 1985.) The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends. To see the complete lists of 2018 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

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.

 

Restaurant Images

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City

(Photo Credit: AAA, Adriana Rodriguez)

Manresa, Los Gatos, California

(Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger)

McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo Credit: Andrew Cebulka)

Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.

(Photo Credit: AAA)

TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui, Cancun, Mexico

(Photo Credit: AAA)

The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tennessee

(Photo Credit: Anthony Tahlier)

Topper’s, Nantucket, Massachusetts

(Photo Credit: Topper’s)

 

Vetri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Photo Credit: AAA)

Gas Price Averages Trending Cheaper on the Week Nationwide

February 20th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

The national gas price average has been steadily decreasing for nearly two weeks dropping from the year-to-date high of $2.61 (on February 5) to today’s national average of $2.53. Motorists in nearly every state are paying less on the week with Midwest and Southern states seeing the largest price drops at the pump. Hawaii (+2 cents) and Indiana (+1 cent) were the only states to see increases.

“The question isn’t how low will they go, but how long will we see prices decline,” said Jeanette Casselano. “A handful of major refineries are undergoing maintenance. If production slows at a high rate and/or if crude oil prices jump, these events could push pump prices back up in late February or March.”

Today’s national gas price average is 4 cent less than one week ago, 1 cent more than a month ago, but 25 cents more than a year ago.

 

Quick Stats

  • The largest monthly decreases are: Michigan (-19 cents), Illinois (-13 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Indiana (-8 cents), Alaska (-5 cents), Maryland (- 5 cents), Georgia (-5 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents) and North Carolina (-4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Texas ($2.27), Mississippi ($2.27), Missouri ($2.27), Alabama ($2.27), South Carolina ($2.28), Ohio ($2.28), Arkansas ($2.32), Oklahoma ($2.33), Tennessee ($3.33) and New Mexico ($2.34).

 

West Coast

Pump prices in six states in the West Coast region remain among the most expensive in the country: Hawaii ($3.47), California ($3.33), Alaska ($3.03), Washington ($2.99), Oregon ($2.87) and Nevada ($2.79). On the week, only Hawaii saw an increase (+2 cents). Meanwhile, California and Alaska both saw the largest drop (-2 cents), and Nevada remained unchanged.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline stocks in the region fell slightly by 600,000 bbl. Inventories still sit at a comfortable 34.4 million bbl, which is 3.3 million bbl higher than they were at this time last year.

 

Great Lakes and Central

Gas prices decreased at the pump all across the Great Lakes and Central region except in Indiana (+ 1 cent). On the week, Michigan (-11 cents), Ohio (-7 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Nebraska (-6 cents), Illinois (-6 cents) and Iowa (-6 cents) lead the region in price drops and land on the top10 states with the biggest changes list. A few states, including South Dakota (-2 cent) and North Dakota (-2 cents) did not see quite as high price drops.

North Dakota ($2.61) continues to sell the most expensive gas in the region and the 13th most expensive in the country. Motorists there are paying 31 cents more for a gallon of unleaded compared to this time last year.

With a slight build of 612,000 bbl, gasoline inventories in the region measure at 58 million bbl, according to the latest EIA report. Although the region has seen steady inventory build for seven straight weeks, current levels sit 2.2 million bbl below this time last year yet they are about 1 billion bbl ahead of the five-year average.

 

South and Southeast

Every state in the South and Southeast is paying 5 to 8 cents less at the pump on the week. Florida (-8 cents), Mississippi (-6 cents) Alabama (-6 cents), and Louisiana (-6 cents) lead the region in price drops and land on the top 10 states with the biggest changes list in the last seven days.

In the region, most states are paying less compared to one month ago: Georgia (-5 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), Alabama (-3 cents), Oklahoma (-3 cents), Texas (-2 cents), New Mexico (-1 cent) and Louisiana (-1 cent). Floridians are paying a penny more while prices hold steady for Arkansans.

The EIA’s latest report shows gasoline inventories increased by a substantial 2.2 million bbl, pushing the regional totals to 83.5 million bbl. This total is on par with inventory levels at this time last year.

 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

With a 5-cent decrease, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Tennessee and Georgia saw the largest weekly changes of all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. With a 2-cent decrease, Rhode Island saw the smallest drop. Pennsylvania ($2.83), Washington, D.C. ($2.75), New York ($2.73) and Connecticut ($2.71) continue to sell the most expensive gas in the region and among the most expensive in the country.

Five Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states rank among the top 10 states paying substantially more for gasoline compared to February 2017: New Jersey (+32 cents), Rhode Island (+32 cents), Massachusetts (+31 cents), Vermont (+31 cents) and Pennsylvania (+29 cents). Additional states also paying at least 28-cents more include Connecticut, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Regional inventories pushed past the 66 million bbl mark on the week with the addition of 1.1 million bbl, according to the EIA. The region has seen consistent build for the past month, yet fall about 1 million bbl behind inventory levels last year.

 

Rockies

Gas prices decreased across all states in the Rockies with Colorado (-3 cents) and Utah (-3 cents) seeing the largest declines on the week, followed by Montana (-2 cents) and Idaho (-2 cent). Prices remained stable in Wyoming ($2.46).

At $2.59, both Montana and Idaho are selling the most expensive gas in the region. Colorado carries the cheapest price at $2.45.

Following a large decline, gasoline inventories built by 25,000 bbl on the week to register at 7.6 million bbl according to the EIA.

 

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 34 cents to settle at $61.68. Crude prices may continue to trend higher this week amid signs of continued growth in U.S. oil production. In fact, last week’s EIA petroleum report revealed that U.S. oil production grew 332,000 b/d, putting total crude output at 10.271 million b/d. Likewise, U.S. crude inventories rose for a third straight week by 1.8 million bbl. Inventory levels now total 422.1 million bbl. Moreover, according to Baker Hughes, the U.S. added 7 oil rigs last week bringing the total rig count to 798. Increased U.S. production coupled with the fourth consecutive week of increases in the U.S. oil rig count has placed a spotlight on OPEC’s restrained production agreement aimed at rebalancing the global oil supply. Market watchers will closely monitor to see how much a surge in U.S. production eats into OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market to determine the impact it has on crude oil prices.

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.

 

Pump Prices Cheaper on the Week for Majority of the Country

February 12th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

At $2.58, the national gas price average has decreased for the first time week-over-week this year. Today’s price is 3 cent less than last week, 6 cents more than a month ago and 30 cents more than a year ago. Motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 53 percent of gas stations across the country.

“Gas price averages are less expensive for 78 percent of states compared to last Monday. Motorist filling up in the Midwest, South and East Coast are most likely to see the positive change at the pump,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Unfortunately, it’s too early to know if this one-week decline is the start of a cheaper gas price trend.”

Consumer gasoline demand and gasoline inventories increased according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports. Hitting its highest level this year, gasoline demand registered at 9.1 million b/d, a 169,000 b/d increase year-over year. Total U.S. gasoline inventories built by 3.4 million bbl to total 245.5 million bbl, which sits about 1.4 million bbl above the five-year average.

Quick Stats

  • The largest weekly changes in the nation’s top ten markets are: Indiana (-14 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-9 cents), Ohio (-8 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Utah (+6 cents), Hawaii (+5 cents), Missouri (-4 cents), Maryland (-4 cents) and Florida (+4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.44), California ($3.35), Alaska ($3.04), Washington ($3.00), Oregon ($2.89), Pennsylvania ($2.86), Nevada ($2.78), Washington, D.C. ($2.77), New York ($2.76) and Connecticut ($2.74).

 

West Coast

Drivers in six states in the West Coast region are paying the most expensive gas prices in the country: Hawaii ($3.44), California ($3.35), Alaska ($3.04), Washington ($3.00), Oregon ($2.89) and Nevada ($2.78). Conversely, Arizona ranks as the 9th state with the least expensive gas prices.

Only seven states in the country saw gas prices increase on the week, four of them were West Coast states. Hawaii (+5 cents) and Nevada (+3 cents) saw the region’s largest increases. Washington and California each increased by a penny, while Alaska decreased by a penny and Oregon saw no change in its average price.

According to the EIA, gasoline stocks in the region surged to a five-year peak – increasing by 1.1 million bbl. Inventories of gasoline now sit at 35 million bbl, which is unusually high for the region at this time of the year. Last year at this time, stocks were about 5 million bbl lower than the present level.

Great Lakes and Central

Gas prices are less expensive on the week across the Great Lakes and Central region, except North Dakota where prices remained stable. Indiana (-14 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Kentucky (-9 cents), Ohio (-8 cents) and Illinois (-6 cents) saw not only the largest decreases in the region, but in country. In the region, North Dakota ($2.63) and Iowa ($2.60) are selling the most expensive gasoline. At $2.37, Ohio is selling the cheapest gas in the region and the 7th cheapest in the country.

Compared to one month ago, Michigan (-16 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Indiana (-11 cents) and Kentucky (-5 cents) are five of only six states in the country that are paying less at the pump. These states have seen very volatile gas prices since January.

Gasoline inventories in the region have built every week this year according to EIA reports. With a build of nearly 1 million bbl, gasoline inventories total 57 million bbl this week.

South and Southeast

All but one state in the South and Southeast are seeing cheaper pump prices on the week. Mississippi and Texas lead the region with the largest decrease of 4 cents. Florida (+4 cents) is the only state in the region to see an increase. At $2.64, the sunshine state’s gas average is the most expensive in the region and ranks as the 13th most expensive at the country. Conversely, six states in the region rank among the 10 with the cheapest gas prices in the country: Texas ($2.33), Mississippi ($2.33), South Carolina ($2.34), Alabama ($2.34), Arkansas ($2.37) and Oklahoma ($2.38).

Gasoline inventories increased by a small 146,000 bbl on the week and continue to sit above the 81 million bbl mark, according to the EIA.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Motorists across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region are enjoying cheaper gas prices on the week. The states with the largest declines include Maryland (-4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), Delaware (-3 cent), Maine (-3 cents), Tennessee (-3 cent), and Washington, D.C. (-3 cents). All other states saw prices drop 1-2 cents. Gas prices in the region are as expensive as $2.86 (Pennsylvania) and as cheap as $2.41 (Virginia).

Compared to one month ago, gas prices on average are 7 cents more expensive for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. Motorists in New Jersey (+11 cents) are seeing the biggest month-over-month increase, while motorists in West Virginia (+2 cents) are paying the smallest difference.

With a 1.6 million bbl build, regional gasoline inventories register at 65 million bbl. According to the EIA, that is the largest build of any region in the country. However, large inventory builds may not be common as local Phillips 66 Bayway refinery turnaround is underway through at least this month and will reduce capacity temporarily.

Rockies

Utah (+6 cents) tops the Rockies region list for the states with the largest increases on the week. With a 3-cent increase, Idaho also joins the list. Gas prices are slightly cheaper for motorists filling up in Colorado (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent). Gas prices remain stable in Montana, but at $2.61 is the most expensive gas price average, along with Idaho ($2.61), in the Rockies region.

Gasoline inventories in the Rockies saw the largest one-week decline on the year dropping by 386,000 bbl. Registering at 7.4 million bbl, inventories sit at their lowest mark of the year.

 

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped by nearly $2 to settle at $59.20. Price gains made throughout January, which saw a closing high of $66.27, were wiped away after trading last week. Last week’s losses, which were buoyed by a strengthening dollar, may continue into this week after EIA’s latest weekly petroleum report revealed that U.S. crude production hit 10.25 million b/d – a new record weekly production rate.

The continuing growth in U.S. crude oil production may give the market some pause as it continues to assess the long-term impact of OPEC’s production reduction agreement, which remains in effect through the end of 2018. On the other hand, OPEC’s latest forecast for oil demand projects that global oil demand will increase by 1.59 million b/d. The estimate is an increase of 60,000 b/d from last year, which may help to drain growing oil exports from the U.S.

A sign of potentially explosive growth in U.S. crude production, the latest Baker Hughes, Inc. report found the active oil rig count in the U.S. grew by 26 new rigs last week to total at 791. This is the highest number of active rigs since April 2015, and it will likely push production to even higher levels later this 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.

Drowsy Driving: Don’t Be Asleep at the Wheel

February 8th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Tamra JohnsonWASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 8, 2018) – The most in-depth drowsy driving research ever conducted in the U.S. using footage of everyday drivers found that the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates indicate, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The difficulty in detecting drowsiness following a crash makes drowsy driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues. The new research provides an unprecedented analysis of in-vehicle dashcam video from more than 700 crashes, confirming that the danger of drowsy driving soars above official estimates.

Additional Resources

“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk. By conducting an in-depth analysis using video of everyday drivers, we can now better assess if a driver was fatigued in the moments leading up to a crash.”

In the study, researchers examined video of drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to a crash. Using a scientific measure linking the percentage of time a person’s eyes are closed to their level of drowsiness, the researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness. Federal estimates indicate drowsiness is a factor in only one to two percent of crashes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily. In a recent related AAA Foundation survey, nearly all drivers (96 percent) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.

“As many Americans struggle to balance their busy schedules, missing a few hours of sleep each day can often seem harmless,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “But missing just two to three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.”

Knowing the warning signs of drowsiness can help drivers avoid dozing off behind the wheel. The most common symptoms include:

  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Not remembering the last few miles driven

Drivers however should not rely on their bodies to provide warning signs for drowsiness and should instead prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road.

“Don’t be fooled, the only antidote for drowsiness is sleep,” said William Van Tassel, manager of Driver Training for AAA. “Short term tactics like drinking coffee, singing, rolling down the window will not work. Your body’s need for sleep will eventually override your brain’s attempts to stay awake.”

AAA recommends that drivers:

  • Travel at times of the day when they are normally awake
  • Avoid heavy foods
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment

For longer trips, drivers should:

  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
  • Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving
  • Do not underestimate the power of a quick nap. Pulling into a rest stop and taking a quick catnap — at least 20 minutes and no more than 30 minutes of sleep– can help to keep you alert on the road.

To help drivers determine if their medications may cause drowsiness, AAA and the AAA Foundation developed Roadwise Rx, a free and confidential online tool that generates personalized feedback about how the interactions between prescription, over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements can affect safety behind the wheel.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report, Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study, is based on the analysis of in-vehicle video footage of crashes that occurred during the Second Strategic Highway Research Program’s Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2 NDS). The federally funded study recruited 3,593 drivers from six study sites across the U.S. The drivers were monitored continually using in-vehicle video and other data collection equipment while driving their personal vehicles for a period of several months.  

Gas Price Trends Showing No Relief

February 5th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

The national gas price average has increased for the sixth consecutive week, landing today’s national average at $2.61. That is 18 cents more expensive since prices started the upward trend in late-December and 3 cents more than last Monday.

“Every motorist in the country is paying more at the pump year-over-year. At 18 cents, Utah is seeing the smallest increase and California is feeling the biggest increase at 52 cents compared to the same time last year,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Strong demand coupled with steadily rising oil prices means filling up will continue to cost consumers more this month. In fact, the last time the national gas price average was this high, but under $3/gallon in February was in 2010.”

On the week, U.S. consumer gasoline demand hit 9 million b/d. In 2017, demand did not reach this mark until early March, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Quick Stats

  • The largest monthly changes in the nation’s top ten markets are: Iowa (+22 cents), California (+21 cents), Minnesota (+19 cents), Nebraska (+18 cents), Kansas (+17 cents), North Dakota (+17 cents), Oklahoma (+17 cents), Florida (+16 cents), Louisiana (+16 cents) and Missouri (+16 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Texas ($2.36), Mississippi ($2.37), South Carolina ($2.37), Alabama ($2.37), Missouri ($2.38), Arizona ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.39), Tennessee ($2.41), Oklahoma ($2.42) and New Mexico ($2.43).

West Coast

Six of the most expensive gas prices in the country are in the West Coast region: Hawaii ($3.39), California ($3.34), Alaska ($3.05), Washington ($2.99), Oregon ($2.89) and Nevada ($2.75). On the week, California (+7 cents) saw the region’s largest increase, while Washington, Oregon and Nevada each saw a 4 cent increase, Alaska jumped 2 cents and Hawaii increased by a penny.

According to the EIA, gasoline stocks in the region dropped by the largest amount seen in the last 12 weeks – nearly 700,000 bbl. Inventories of gasoline sit at 33.9 million bbl, which is still 3.3 million bbl higher than last year’s level at the same time.

Great Lakes and Central

On the week, gas prices are less volatile than we have seen in the Great Lakes and Central region since the start of the year. While prices increased for most states, from 1 to 6 cents, a few states saw no change (Wisconsin) or a 1-cent decrease at the pump: Illinois and Missouri.

In the region, 10 of 13 states are selling gas for $2.50 or more: Michigan ($2.67), Iowa ($2.64), North Dakota ($2.63), Illinois ($2.62), Nebraska ($2.62), Indiana ($2.60), Minnesota ($2.58), South Dakota ($2.58), Wisconsin ($2.54) and Kentucky ($2.51). Missouri ($2.38) and Ohio ($2.45) have the lowest gas price average in the region.

Gasoline inventory bumped up 875,000 bbl to push levels to 56 million bbl. The last time inventory was this high was April 2017, according to the EIA. For the first time in three weeks, regional refinery utilization rates increased to 92 percent. The week prior’s rate was the lowest since mid-November.

South and Southeast

Florida (+6 cents) and New Mexico (+6 cents) land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases. In fact, all states but Georgia (no change) saw price bumps at the pump. Still, prices in the South and Southeast remain among the cheapest in the country and under $2.43 for all states except: Florida ($2.61) and Georgia ($2.49).

With a 2.4 million bbl decline, gasoline inventories sit right at 81 million bbl. According to the EIA, January inventory levels have not been this low since 2015.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Four states in the region are 25-cents or less away from the $3/gal mark: Connecticut ($2.75), New York ($2.77), Washington, D.C. ($2.80) and Pennsylvania ($2.88). On the other side of the coin, Tennessee ($2.41) is selling the cheapest gas in the region. On the week, gas prices increased 1 to 4 cents in the region with motorists in New Jersey (+4 cents) and Vermont (+4 cents) seeing the largest increases.

For another week, gasoline inventory continue to register at 63 million bbl and only saw a slight build of 98,000 bbl. Overall, the EIA reports inventory levels for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region have held at or above 61 million bbl since the beginning of the year.

Rockies

Gas prices in Utah ($2.45) remain stable on the week while all other states are paying more: Wyoming (+3 cents), Colorado (+2 cents), Montana (+2 cent) and Idaho (+1 cent).

In the Rockies, four states land on the top 10 list of the smallest month-over-month changes in gas prices compared to the rest of the country: Wyoming (+4 cents), Utah (+4 cents), Idaho (+3 cents) and Montana (+3 cents).

Gasoline inventories built for the first time since the beginning of the year. With the addition of 171,000 bbl, inventory levels push up to 7.8 million bbl in the region.

 

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased 35 cents to settle at $65.45. Last week’s losses, which were buoyed by a stronger dollar, may extend into this week after EIA’s latest weekly report revealed that crude inventories grew by an astonishing 6.8 million b/d.

The crude oil growth may give the market some pause as it assesses the long-term impact of OPEC’s production reduction agreement, which remains in effect through the end of 2018. Countries outside of the agreement, such as the U.S., have seen production grow as global demand has grown, enabling these countries to export more oil while OPEC and its allies reduce production.

In the U.S., crude production continues to grow. The latest Baker Hughes, Inc. report found the active oil rig count in the U.S. grew by six and now totals 765. The current total is 182 more rigs than last year’s count in early February.

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

Statement from AAA President and CEO Marshall L. Doney

AAA appreciates the president highlighting the importance of transportation infrastructure in his State of the Union address, but we had hoped he would take the opportunity to lay out a specific strategy to achieve his campaign promise of a largescale investment – $1 trillion total over 10 years – into our nation’s infrastructure. Roadways and bridges across the country need to be rebuilt and rehabbed.  Without significant investment, the situation will only worsen. We need to seriously address the state of transportation infrastructure in our country now because the safety and mobility of our citizens and the future of our economy depends on it.

Infrastructure is not a Democratic or Republican issue. However, the dilemma over how to pay for it has remained unsolved for decades. State officials have testified about the real needs on the ground and the shortfall of funds.  A thoughtful and modest increase in the federal gas tax, even just to match inflation, would provide an immediate stimulus to the Highway Trust Fund and help rebuild transportation in America, while giving our government more time to address long-term funding solutions to meet future transportation needs.

In order to adequately tackle the biggest problems facing our infrastructure, it is going to take cooperation and courage from many on both sides of the aisle. Now, it is time for our members of Congress to come together and show leadership by addressing the funding shortfall and providing a sustainable system for infrastructure maintenance and improvements. AAA will continue to support increased investment that will improve and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, and it is our hope that Congress and the president will eventually come together around that common goal.

 

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