Posts Tagged ‘AAA Fuel’

Gas Prices Trend Cheaper, but Increases are Likely Looming

June 18th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

On the week, the national gas price average is two cents cheaper at $2.90. Today’s national average is only one cent more expensive than a month ago, but 60 cents more expensive than a year ago.

Nationwide, 44 states have less expensive or steady gas price averages compared to last Monday. However, the cheaper trend may be reversing. Gasoline demand spiked in the latest Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) report, in fact setting a new all-time record at 9.88 million b/d for the week ending June 8. As demand skyrockets, U.S. gasoline inventories plummeted 2.27 million bbl, to land total inventories at 237 million bbl, which is 5.7 million below stocks last year at this time.

“If demand continues to strengthen and inventories decrease in the weeks ahead, motorists can expect gas prices do a reversal and start to increase again,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert. “AAA expects the national gas price average to range between $2.85 and $3.05 through Labor Day, likely seeing the summer’s highest prices in June.”

Moving into this week, another factor that will influence gas prices in the near and long-term will be outcomes from the June 22 OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria. The cartel, along with other major producers including Russia, will discuss increasing oil production ahead of the year-end scheduled dissolution of its production reduction agreement. Some reports indicate that OPEC could be looking at an increase of 300,000 to 600,000 b/d to help ease global crude price gains that have grown since the cartel put its production reduction agreement into place at the beginning of 2017. An increase in production would likely decrease crude oil prices and encourage cheaper gas prices.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.73), California ($3.71), Washington ($3.45), Alaska ($3.43), Oregon ($3.32), Nevada ($3.31), Utah ($3.19), Idaho ($3.19), Connecticut ($3.11) and Arizona ($3.07).
  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Ohio (-10 cents), Florida (-5 cents), Delaware (-5 cents), Indiana (+5 cents), Virginia (-5 cents), Utah (+4 cents), Maryland (-4 cents), Iowa (-4 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Illinois (-4 cents).

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the country, with all states on the top 10 most expensive list: Hawaii ($3.73), California ($3.71), Washington ($3.45), Alaska ($3.43), Oregon (3.32), Nevada ($3.31) and Arizona ($3.07). On the week, prices continue to mostly decline in the region by a penny or two. However, Hawaii and Alaska each increased by a penny.

According to EIA data for the week ending on June 8, inventories of gasoline grew by 400,000 bbl to reach 31.5 million bbl. Although inventories in the region now sit at their highest level for the second week of June since 2001, ongoing planned maintenance at Shell’s 158,000 b/d Martinez, CA refinery in the Bay area may restrict supplies this week.

Great Lakes and Central

Finding cheaper gas prices at the pump continues this week for the bulk of motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states. Ohio (-10 cents) tops the chart for the biggest weekly change in gas price averages in the country. Also making an appearance on the top 10 changes list: Iowa (-4 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Illinois (-4 cents). However, gas prices are more expensive for three states on the week: Indiana (+5 cents), Michigan (+2 cents) and Missouri (+1 cent).

Some states in the region are paying a hefty year-over-year increase. Indiana’s gas price is 80-cents more expensive than last year – the highest of any state in the country and region. Other states at the 55-cent or more mark include Michigan (+70 cents), Illinois (+64 cents), North Dakota (+62 cents), Missouri (+61 cents), Kentucky (+59 cents), Kansas (+58 cents), Wisconsin (+58 cents), Idaho (+57 cents), Ohio (+57 cents), South Dakota (+56 cents) and Minnesota (+56 cents).

Inventory levels bumped up slightly by 300,000 bbl on the week. Levels sit at the 52.5 million mark according to EIA.

South and Southeast

Florida (-5 cents) has the second largest decrease of any state in the country this week. The sunshine state and Georgia carry the most expensive gas price average, $2.77, of all states in the South and Southeast. On the week, state gas price averages are cheaper across the region with Oklahoma seeing the smallest drop at two cents.

For another week, the top six least expensive gas price averages in the country reside in the South and Southeast: South Carolina ($2.55), Mississippi ($2.58), Alabama ($2.58), Louisiana ($2.60), Oklahoma ($2.61) and Arkansas ($2.63).

Falling nearly 1.8 million bbl, the South and Southeast inventory levels dropped to 80 million bbl. However, levels sit just one million below last year at this time, according to EIA data.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are one to five cents cheaper across all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region with Delaware (-5 cents), Virginia (-4 cents), Maryland (-4 cents) and New Jersey (-4 cents) seeing the largest drops on the week. Even with the cheaper pump prices, four states continue to sell gas for $3 or more: Connecticut ($3.11), New York ($3.05), Pennsylvania ($3.04) and Washington, D.C. ($3.01).

Today’s gas prices are 50 to 64 cents more expensive compared to last year at this time with West Virginia seeing the smallest and Connecticut seeing the largest increases year-over-year.

Regional gasoline inventories fell to 65.6 million bbl after a 1.3 million bbl drop on the week. This latest decrease brings the year-over-year deficit for the region to 3.4 million bbl, according to EIA data.

Rockies

On the week, gas prices increased four cents in Utah ($3.19) and a penny in Wyoming ($2.93). Gas prices dropped two cents in Colorado while remaining stable in Montana ($2.95) and Idaho ($3.19). Utah and Idaho continue to carry the most expensive gas prices in the region and among the priciest in the country. The states are the seventh and eighth, respectively, most expensive in the country.

Motorists in the Rockies are paying, on average, 54 to 62 cents a gallon more compared to prices this time last year.

Inventories built by a small 92 bbl on the week. According to EIA data, levels register close to 6.9 million bbl, which is about 680,000 bbl less than this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased $1.83 cents to settle at $65.06. Oil prices trended marginally higher last week because of a stronger dollar. Looking ahead, this week’s prices will likely see fluctuation ahead of Friday’s OPEC meeting.

According to EIA’s latest weekly petroleum status report, total U.S. production jumped to around 10.9 million b/d, up about 100,000 b/d on the week. However, total crude inventories fell by 4.1 million bbl. Increasing crude exports supported the drop. Last week, exports of crude oil stood at 2.03 million b/d, a week-on-week gain of 316,000 b/d.

Domestic investment in crude production continues to grow. Last week, the U.S. added another oil rig, bringing the current total to 863. When compared to last year’s rig count at this time, there are 116 more active rigs today.

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.

WASHINGTON (June 13, 2018) – Consumers are spending $69 more a month to fill-up compared to last summer. According to AAA, gasoline expenses are accounting, on average, for seven percent of an American’s 2018 annual income, a one and half percent increase since summer of 2017. With strong summer consumer gasoline demand expected in the months ahead, AAA says motorists can expect little relief at the pump with the national gas price average ranging between $2.85 – $3.05 through Labor Day.

“Motorists can expect to spend at least $250 more on gas this season, but that won’t stop them from traveling. Summer is synonymous with road trips and vacation and we are not going to see Americans are giving up this pastime this year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The higher gas prices may just encourage travelers to shorten their driving distance. While others may pinch pennies by eating out less or finding more free family-fun activities while on vacation.”

According to a AAA survey conducted earlier this year, only one in three (33 percent) respondents said they would change travel plans if gas prices hit $3, while nearly half (47 percent) say $3.50 would be the game changer for their summer plans.

Then and Now Price Points: June 2017 vs. June 2018

As vacationers hit the road, they will find a quarter (25 percent) of all gas stations across the country are selling gas for more than $3/gallon. That is a stark difference from one year ago when only 5 percent of stations touted the $3 or more mark. The chart below compares the percentage of stations per state selling gas for $3.01 or more today versus one year ago.

State June 2017: Percentage of
gas station selling $3.01+
June 2018: Percentage of
gas station selling $3.01+
Alabama 0% 0%
Alaska 23% 100%
Arizona 1% 70%
Arkansas 0% 1%
California 53% 100%
Colorado 0% 13%
Connecticut 0% 82%
Delaware 0% 1%
District of Columbia 5% 36%
Florida 0% 4%
Georgia 0% 2%
Hawaii 34% 100%
Idaho 0% 99%
Illinois 0% 33%
Indiana 0% 5%
Iowa 0% 4%
Kansas 0% 0%
Kentucky 0% 15%
Louisiana 0% 1%
Maine 0% 12%
Maryland 0% 11%
Massachusetts 0% 20%
Michigan 0% 28%
Minnesota 0% 0%
Mississippi 0% 0%
Missouri 0% 0%
Montana 0% 15%
Nebraska 0% 11%
Nevada 11% 97%
New Hampshire 0% 2%
New Jersey 0% 26%
New Mexico 0% 19%
New York 1% 60%
North Carolina 0% 1%
North Dakota 0% 11%
Ohio 0% 0%
Oklahoma 0% 1%
Oregon 2% 98%
Pennsylvania 0% 66%
Rhode Island 0% 33%
South Carolina 0% 0%
South Dakota 0% 18%
Tennessee 0% 0%
Texas 0% 3%
Utah 1% 98%
Vermont 0% 4%
Virginia 0% 1%
Washington 12% 100%
West Virginia 0% 1%
Wisconsin 0% 4%
Wyoming 0% 25%

 

Don’t Let Your Tank Break Your Bank.

For when you are behind the wheel this summer, AAA offers these tips to improve your driving to get better gas mileage:

  • Observe the speed limit. Not only is it safer, it can help you save money.
  • Lose the weight. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  • Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  • Drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.

The Outliers

Gas prices have shown some positive downward movement at the start of the month, but it is too early to determine if this is a trend. AAA has identified the following outliers that have the ability to drive gas prices – up or down – in the coming months.

  • OPEC – This year, global demand has outpaced global supply, which has driven the cost of crude oil to near-three year highs of $72/bbl in May. Since Memorial Day there have been conflicting reports that OPEC – which made a pact with other large producers to cut crude production in 2017 to help drain the then-glut of global supply – may or may not increase production to help ease supply concerns. The speculative news is already having a volatile impact, driving the price of crude down to $64/bbl and up to as high as $65/bbl levels in June. OPEC may announce a decision on increasing supply at its next meeting on June 22 in Vienna, Austria. Should OPEC and its partners increase supply motorists would likely see pump prices decrease late summer.
  • OPEC may announce a decision on increasing supply at their next meeting on June 22 in Vienna, Austria. Should OPEC and its partners increase supply motorists would likely see pump prices decrease late summer.
  • Hurricanes – Hurricane season is underway (June 1 – November 30). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a 75 percent chance of a “near- or above-normal” level of major storms this year. Moreover, NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70 percent chance of 10-16 named storms – of which five to nine could become hurricanes with winds of at least 74 miles per hour. The mere threat of a storm could force oil and gasoline companies, especially along the Gulf Coast, to halt gas operations, potentially leading to spikes in gas prices and limited regional supply.
  • Exports – Gasoline exports from the U.S. have grown throughout 2018. In fact, the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) final measurement for March 2018 showed that exports hit 951,000 b/d and became the highest March rate on record. This trend is likely to continue throughout the summer, growing closer to one million b/d, which could help boost gas prices domestically because of robust demand. More than half of the U.S. gasoline exports go to Mexico, according to EIA.
  • Demand – According to the EIA’s latest reading for consumer gasoline demand, March 2018 saw nearly 9.45 million b/d, representing the strongest demand measurement for a March on record and a one percent increase from last year. AAA expects the high and potentially record-breaking consumer demand trend to continue through the summer, pushing prices higher.

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.

About AAA: As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, 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.

Pump Prices Continue to Decline as U.S. Demand Dips

June 11th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

At $2.92, the national gas price average has dropped four cents since the beginning of June. Today’s average is three cents less than a week ago, six cents more than a month ago and 58 cents more expensive than a year ago. On the week, only eight states saw prices increase while all others dropped by as much as 13 cents or remained stable.

“Gas prices continue to dip across the country, but remain nearly 50-cents more expensive than last summer in every state,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert. “The higher prices seem to be influencing driving habits. While consumer gasoline demand remains strong, it is slowing and not growing.”

Dropping by 713,000 b/d, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that demand registers – for the first time since mid-January – just under 9 million b/d. This is surprising, as levels have consistently measured above the 9 million mark every week in June since 2015.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.58), Mississippi ($2.61), Alabama ($2.61), Oklahoma ($2.62), Louisiana ($2.62), Arkansas ($2.65), Tennessee ($2.67), Missouri ($2.68), Virginia ($2.70) and Kansas ($2.73).

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Indiana (-13 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), Delaware (-7 cents), District of Columbia (-7 cents), Florida (-6 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Virginia (-4 cents), New Jersey (-4 cents), Wisconsin (-4 cents) and Maine (-4 cents).

 

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the country, all topping out above $3.00 per gallon: California ($3.72); Hawaii ($3.71); Washington ($3.46); Alaska ($3.43); Oregon (3.34); Nevada ($3.33); and Arizona ($3.07). On the week, prices continue to mostly decline in the region by a penny or two. However, Arizona (+1 cent) and Alaska (+2 cents) saw increases, while Oregon (-2 cents) saw the largest decrease in the region.

According to EIA data for the week ending on June 1, inventories of gasoline fell by 200,000 bbl to reach 31.1 million bbl. When compared to a year ago, levels are still up more than 3 million bbl and could contribute to price stabilization in coming weeks.

Great Lakes and Central

The majority of states in the Great Lakes and Central region are seeing cheaper gas prices on the week. Indiana (-13 cents) saw the only double-digit drop in the country, which brings the state’s gas price average ($2.87) well under the $3 mark it was at last Monday. Other notable week-over-week pump price decreases in the region: Illinois (-7 cents), Wisconsin (-4 cents) and Iowa (-4 cents). However, not every state is seeing this trend. Four states saw prices jump including Kansas (+2 cents), Ohio (+2 cents), Michigan (+2 cents) and South Dakota (+1 cent). With the weekly increase, Michigan’s gas price average is at the $3 mark, making the state’s average the second most expensive in the region behind Illinois ($3.02).

Inventory levels continue to hold slightly above the 52 million bbl mark. According to the latest data released by the EIA, this is the lowest inventory levels of the year for the region and about 2.6 million bbl below levels at this time last year.

South and Southeast

Gas prices are getting cheaper, slowly, but surely in the South and Southeast. With this week’s drops, Florida has seen an 11-cent decrease since Memorial Day. On the week, gas prices in the region are six to one cent cheaper in every state.

The country’s cheapest gas price averages can be found in the region with these states claiming the top six least expensive spots: South Carolina ($2.58), Mississippi ($2.61), Alabama ($2.61), Oklahoma ($2.62), Louisiana ($2.62) and Arkansas ($2.65).

Gasoline inventories bumped up to 82 million bbl following this week’s 3 million bbl add, according to EIA’s latest report. This is the highest build for any region on the week and puts a 12 million bbl difference between the South and Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the region with the second highest inventory in the country. If inventories continue to increase sustainably, motorists could see some, but not major, relief at the pump.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

With a seven-cent decrease, Delaware and Washington, D.C. have the largest drop in gas prices of all states in the region on the week. This lands Delaware and Washington, D.C. on the top 10 list of largest weekly changes in the country along with four other Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states: Maryland (-5 cents), Virginia (-4 cents), New Jersey (-4 cents) and Maine (-4 cents). Cheaper gas prices at the pump is a trend motorists are seeing across all states in the region.

With the drops, New Jersey’s ($2.96) and Rhode Island’s ($2.99) gas price averages fall below $3 while four other state averages remain above this mark: Connecticut ($3.13), Pennsylvania ($3.07), New York ($3.07) and Washington, D.C. ($3.03).

Adding a substantial 2.2 million bbl to inventories, regional levels register at 67 million bbl and are likely a factor driving gas prices down.  However, despite the build, the region has a 2 million-inventory deficit compared to EIA’s data for this time last year.

Rockies

On the week, gas prices increased a penny in Wyoming and Utah. Gas prices dropped one cent in Colorado while remaining stable in Montana ($2.95). Idaho ($3.19) and Utah ($3.15) continue to carry the most expensive gas prices in the region and among the priciest in the country. The states are the seventh and eighth, respectively, most expensive in the country.

Motorists in the Rockies are paying, on average, 54 to 62 cents a gallon more compared to prices this time last year.

For a second week, inventories have dropped, albeit by just 49,000 bbl. Levels register at 6.8 million bbl according to EIA data, which is about 800,000 bbl less than this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased 21 cents to settle at $65.74. Oil prices trended marginally lower last week following EIA’s report that crude production hit 10.8 million b/d last week. The estimate sets another weekly domestic record, which has been a reoccurring phenomenon in 2018. When compared to last year at this time, the U.S. is producing roughly 1.5 million b/d more this year.

Oil prices will continue to be volatile this week. Contributing factors include reports that OPEC may not announce an increase in crude production at the next OPEC meeting scheduled for June 22 in Vienna, Austria. Prior to Memorial Day reports speculated that OPEC would increase production, which contributed to oil prices going down. In addition, economic turmoil in Venezuela has reduced the major global crude supplier’s production rates at a time when global supply is already shrinking.

Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. added one oil rig last week, bringing the total to 862. The total is up by 121 rigs when compared to 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.

Dropping by two-cents on the week, the national gas price average is $2.95. This is the first time there has been a decrease in the national average since mid-March. The drop, albeit it small, follows the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing consistently strong demand although it is running slightly below (100,000 b/d less) the same week last year.

“Nearly 80 percent of Americans say the price of gasoline is too high at $3 per gallon. So it’s welcome news for motorists to see gas price averages decrease in 33 states on the week,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert. “Crude oil prices are falling, but it likely won’t be enough to drop gas prices more significantly this summer.”

Today’s gas price average ($2.95) is 13-cents more than one month ago and 57-cents more than the beginning of June 2017. On the week, the majority of states saw decreases or hold steady, while those that saw prices jump were mostly West Coast and Rockies states.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.62), Mississippi ($2.64), Alabama ($2.65), Oklahoma ($2.66), Louisiana ($2.66), Arkansas ($2.67), Missouri ($2.69), Tennessee ($2.70), Kansas ($2.71) and Virginia ($2.74)
  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Michigan (-12 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Delaware (-8 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Florida (-5 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Oklahoma (-3 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents), North Carolina (-3 cents) and Virginia (-3 cents).

West Coast

Drivers in the West Coast region are paying some of the highest gas prices in the country: California ($3.73), Hawaii ($3.71), Washington ($3.47), Alaska ($3.41), Oregon (3.35), Nevada ($3.33) and Arizona ($3.06). On the week, most gas prices in the region are flat, with Alaska and Arizona seeing the largest increases at two cents each.

According to EIA data for the week ending on May 25, inventories of gasoline climbed by an astonishing 1 million bbl to 31.3 million bbl. When compared to a year ago, levels are up more than 3 million bbl and could contribute to price stabilization in coming weeks.

Great Lakes and Central

On the week, Michigan’s gas price average ($2.98) dropped 12-cents, wiping out the previous week’s increases and lands prices below $3 for the first time in nearly two weeks. Michigan’s decrease was the biggest week-over-week change in the country. Fellow Great Lakes and Central states Ohio (-10 cents) and Kentucky (-7 cents) take the country’s second and fourth spots, respectively, with the largest decreases on the week. However, not every state is seeing less expensive prices. South Dakota’s and North Dakota’s state average (+2 cents) jumped since last Monday.

In the region, motorists will find the most expensive state gas prices averages in Illinois ($3.09), Indiana ($3.00) and Michigan ($2.98). The cheapest state averages can be found in Missouri ($2.69), Kansas ($2.71) and Ohio ($2.77).

Following EIA’s previous report of a regional 1.7 million bbl draw, gasoline inventories built in the latest report by 67,000 bbl on the week in the Great Lakes and Central states region. At the 52 million bbl mark, total inventories are on par with levels the past two years at this time. EIA data shows that levels fluctuate between 48-55 million bbl during the summer months.

South and Southeast

Florida (-5 cent), Oklahoma (-3 cent) and South Carolina (-3 cent) land on the top 10 list with the biggest weekly decreases. Gas price drops in the South and Southeast have been few and far between in the past two months. In the region, Texas was the only state to see gas prices increase. All other states saw prices moderately decrease or hold steady on the week.

The South and Southeast region is home to the top five cheapest gas price averages: South Carolina ($2.62), Mississippi ($2.64), Alabama ($2.65), Oklahoma ($2.66) and Louisiana ($2.66)

Gasoline inventories continue to sit at nearly 79 million bbl, which is on par with levels the past two years at this time. The region saw a small draw of 24,000 bbl on the week, according to EIA’s latest report.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

For the first time in months, pump prices decreased or held steady on the week for motorists in every state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. The most notable declines: Delaware (-8 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), North Carolina (-3 cents), Virginia (-3 cents) and Tennessee (-3 cent).

In the region, Connecticut ($3.15), Pennsylvania ($3.10), Washington, D.C. ($3.09), New York ($3.09), Rhode Island ($3.01) and New Jersey ($3.00) carry the most expensive gas prices. At $2.70, Tennessee motorist are paying the cheapest on average in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Inventories dropped by nearly 525,000 bbl on the week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region bringing totals to 64.7 million bbl. At the start of the summer driving season, inventories are at a 3.7 million deficit compared to last year.

Rockies

Most states in the Rockies region saw modest price jumps this week: Montana (+3 cents), Wyoming (+1 cents) and Idaho (+1 cent). Both Utah ($3.14) and Colorado ($2.90) saw prices drop by a penny.

Month over month, motorists in Colorado (+23 cents), Montana (+22 cents) and Wyoming (+19 cents) have seen sticker shock with gas prices increasing nearly a whole quarter compared to the beginning of last month (May 4). Planned seasonal refinery maintenance in the region has contributed to higher gas prices.

The region’s total inventories continue to measure at 6.9 million bbl, which is relatively unchanged on the week. EIA historical data shows that during the 2016 and 2017 summer season, inventories fluctuated between 6.3 and 7.5 million bbl.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped $1.23 to settle at $65.81. Crude prices fell at the end of the week because the dollar gained amid news of continued growth in the total number of jobs across the country. Earlier in the week, crude prices rose briefly after EIA’s weekly petroleum report showed that crude inventories fell by 3.6 million bbl.

Last week, EIA also released final crude production rates for March 2018, revealing that it hit a record-breaking 10.47 million b/d. The rate increased by 223,000 b/d from February 2018. Continued growth in crude production may reduce crude prices as it signals that supply is growing alongside strong global crude demand.

This continued crude production growth will put another spotlight on OPEC’s supply reduction agreement with its partners, which has been in place since the beginning of 2017. The agreement, which includes production from Russia, is set to expire at the end of 2018. However, member countries of OPEC and Russia have been discussing potentially easing supply limits ahead of the agreement’s dissolution at the end of the year. If the cartel and its partners decide to increase crude output, they will likely announce the decision on June 22 at the next OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. added two oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 861. The total is up by 128 rigs when compared to 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.

Over the long holiday weekend, the national gas price average has held steady for five days at $2.97, signaling that prices may be stabilizing as we head into June. This development comes as crude oil prices start to fall following some of the highest prices in three-years.

“At the start of the holiday weekend, reports indicated that OPEC may raise production levels to help ease global supply concerns. The announcement immediately brought down the price of crude – which has dropped nearly $3/bbl since Thursday,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This is welcome news to motorists who have not only seen pump prices increase, on average, 16-cents since the beginning of May, but are paying the highest prices to fill up since 2014.”

Gas prices, however, remain very expensive. On the week, three states have been added to the list of states with a gas price average of $3 or more – making for 17 states in total. Another four states are just pennies away from joining this list, including Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico and Massachusetts.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest monthly increases are: Wisconsin (+27 cents), Colorado (+26 cents), Minnesota (+25 cents), North Dakota (+24 cents), Illinois (+23 cents), Wyoming (+23 cents), Michigan (+23 cents), Montana (+22 cents), New Mexico (+21 cents) and Connecticut (+20 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: California ($3.74), Hawaii ($3.71), Washington ($3.46), Alaska ($3.40), Oregon ($3.35), Nevada ($3.33), Idaho ($3.18), Connecticut ($3.15), Utah ($3.15) and Pennsylvania ($3.12).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation: California ($3.74), Hawaii ($3.71), Washington ($3.46), Alaska ($3.40), Oregon (3.35), Nevada ($3.33) and Arizona ($3.05). On the week, all gas prices in the region are up, with Arizona (+5 cents) seeing the largest increase. Washington, Alaska and Oregon were close behind as each state saw their average increase by four cents.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) report for the week ending on May 18, inventories of gasoline climbed by 500,000 bbl to 30.2 million bbl. When compared to a year ago, levels are up over 1 million bbl.

Great Lakes and Central

With a 10-cent increase, Michigan has the largest week-over-week increase in the country followed by Illinois (+7 cents). Also seeing large jumps in the region on the week with five-cent increases are: Wisconsin, Nebraska and North Dakota. All other states saw prices increase one to four cents since last Tuesday.

Indiana ($2.98) is just two-cents away from hitting the $3 threshold and joining Illinois ($3.11) and Michigan ($3.09).

Plunging 1.7 million bbl, gasoline inventories in the Great Lakes and Central states sit at their lowest levels of the year (52.6 million bbl). According to EIA data, this past January was the last time the region saw inventories under 53 million bbl.

South and Southeast

After a week of steady gas prices, Floridians ($2.91) are paying, on average, six-cents more a gallon to fill up. That is the third biggest weekly increase in the country on the week. With a nickel jump, Georgia has the fourth biggest increase of all states.

Comparing gas price averages in the South and Southeast to a year ago, Louisiana has the smallest increase at 53-cents, while New Mexico (67-cents) touts the biggest year-over-year increase.

With a 770,000 bbl add, the South and Southeast’s gasoline inventories sit at nearly 79 million bbl, a healthy measure for May, which historically fluctuates between 76 – 82 million bbl this time of year.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are as much as a nickel more expensive on the week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region with Rhode Island and Tennessee seeing this price jump. West Virginia saw the smallest increase at two-cents.

Year-over-year, Connecticut (+64 cents) and Rhode Island (+63 cents) are seeing the largest increases in the region. Both of these states have gas price averages of $3 or more, $3.15 and $3.02, respectively, along with Pennsylvania ($3.12), Washington, D.C. ($3.10), New York ($3.10) and New Jersey ($3.02).

Inventories increased by a substantial 2 million bbl on the week – the largest add of any region according to the EIA. At 65.2 million bbl in total, inventories are among the healthiest levels of the year, yet a nearly 5 million bbl deficit compared to late May 2017.

Rockies

With a nickel increase, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana are among the top 11 states in the country with the biggest pump price jumps on the week. As the region enters heavy tourism season, motorists in these states, as well as Utah and Idaho, can expect prices to continue to increase. Currently gas prices across the region are: Idaho ($3.18), Utah ($3.15), Montana ($2.92), Colorado ($2.91) and Wyoming ($2.89).

The latest EIA report shows a nearly 250,000 bbl build on the week. At 6.9 million bbl in total, inventories sit more than a half a million barrels below levels at this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell $2.83 cents to settle at $67.88. Oil prices fell following reports that OPEC may increase output by about 1 million b/d ahead of schedule in order to ease continued crude price growth as economic turmoil in Venezuela and renewed U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran could further reduce global supply. Energy ministers from Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met in St. Petersburg, Russia, last week to review the status of their global oil supply reduction agreement, which has helped to decrease global oil supplies and raise prices since the beginning of 2017. The pact is scheduled to dissolve at the end of 2018. If OPEC and its partners announce a supply increase, it will likely occur at the next OPEC meeting on June 22 in Vienna, Austria.

Oil prices also declined after EIA’s weekly report showed that total crude inventories grew by 5.7 million bbl. A decrease in crude exports, an increase in imports and record-breaking crude production contributed to the inventory growth. The news was a surprise to the market, which expected to see inventories decline in the run-up to Memorial Day weekend. If the trend continues in the weeks to come, crude prices may continue to edge lower. At 438.1 million bbl, stocks are 78.2 million bbl lower than they were at this time last year.

Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. added 15 oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 859. The total is up by 137 rigs when compared to 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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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