Posts Tagged ‘AAA News’

Gasoline Demand Drops to Lowest Level in Four Months

October 26th, 2020 by jcasselano

Gasoline demand has dropped significantly since the beginning of the month, down from 8.8 million b/d to 8.2 million b/d, according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. This latest demand measurement is the lowest since mid-June. While the drop isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year, people tend to drive less in the fall, it is a staggering 14% less than last October. On the week, gasoline stocks increased to 227 million bbl, putting total supplies at a 4 million bbl surplus compared to this time last year.

“The U.S. has a very healthy level of gasoline stocks due to lower demand and that is keeping gas prices low,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “The majority of states have cheaper gas prices compared to last month, many paying 3 to 8 cents less. That downward trend at the pump is likely to continue.”

This summer brought an increase in demand compared to spring, but with coronavirus cases increasing, activity at the pump is declining – both fill-ups and prices. Today’s national average is $2.16, which is the same price as last week, 2 cents cheaper than last month and 44 cents less than last year. On the week, only five states saw gas prices increase: Ohio (+7 cents), Kentucky (+6 cents), Michigan (+5 cents), Indiana (+1 cent) and Illinois (+1 cent). Of the states with cheaper weekly prices, 20 averages are 2 to 5 cents less than last Monday.

It is a little more than a month until the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is proving to be one of the most active on record. A threat to the Gulf of Mexico – Tropical Storm Zeta – is forecasted to become a hurricane by Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center is warning the storm could bring storm surge, rainfall and high winds from central Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle later this week. It’s most likely that Zeta, similar to other tropical storms and hurricanes from earlier this season, will not have an impact on gas prices nationally due to the high level of gasoline stocks in the United States.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Ohio (+7 cents), Kentucky (+6 cents), Michigan (+5 cents), Florida (-5 cents), West Virginia (-4 cents), Oklahoma (-3 cents), Minnesota (-3 cents), North Carolina (-3 cents), Delaware (-3 cents) and South Carolina (-3 cents).   
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Missouri ($1.82), Mississippi ($1.83), Oklahoma ($1.84), Texas ($1.85), Arkansas ($1.85), Louisiana ($1.88), South Carolina ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), Tennessee ($1.91) and Kansas ($1.92).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 79 cents to settle at $39.85. Domestic crude prices decreased in light of market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand. The decrease in price occurred despite EIA’s weekly report showing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 1 million bbl to 488.1 million bbl. If demand concerns continue this week, crude prices could decrease further.

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, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), back tracked for the week ending Oct. 9, decreasing from 8.90 million b/d to 8.58 million b/d. Lower demand, even as total domestic stocks decreased by 1.6 million bbl to 225.1 million bbl and imports fell to their lowest rate since Sept. 18, has contributed to pump price decreases for the majority of the country.

“Today’s national average is $2.16, which is two cents less than a week and month ago and 49 cents cheaper than last year,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Decreases in U.S. gasoline demand, supply and imports pushed the national and 44 state gas price averages cheaper on the week.”

On the week, a few Mid-West states saw much larger decreases: Indiana (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Ohio (-5 cents) and Kentucky (-5 cents), which could be attributed to an increase in regional stock. A penny gas price increase was seen in these states since last Monday: Utah ($2.40), New Jersey ($2.24), Alaska ($2.50), Georgia ($2.00), South Dakota ($2.10) and Hawaii ($3.24).

 Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Indiana (-6 cents), Washington, D.C. (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Ohio (-5 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Wisconsin (-3 cents), West Virginia (-3 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents) and North Carolina (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.84), Missouri ($1.84), Texas ($1.85), Oklahoma ($1.87), Arkansas ($1.87), Louisiana ($1.89), Alabama ($1.90), South Carolina ($1.91), Tennessee ($1.93) and Kansas ($1.94).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by eight cents to settle at $40.88. Domestic crude prices decreased at the end of last week due to market concern regarding an increase in coronavirus infections worldwide. As more social restrictions are introduced, crude demand will likely decline. The price drop occurred despite EIA’s new weekly report showing that total domestic crude inventories declined by 3.8 million bbl to 489.1 million bbl. For this week, ongoing demand concerns could cause prices to decrease further.

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.

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 15, 2020) – According to a recent AAA Travel survey, American travelers are making vacation plans through the end of the year, but remain cautiously optimistic about those future plans. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty they will actually be able to take their vacation.

As a result, some are opting for spur-of-the-moment travel decisions as they take coronavirus implications into account. According to AAA’s survey, one in five who are planning a trip before the end of this year but haven’t booked yet expect to do so within one week of traveling. AAA advises these travelers to take proper precautions to help keep themselves and others safe while away from home.

Additional Resources

The vast majority of trips this fall — 80% — will be road trips. In a sign of the rising popularity of auto travel this fall, use of AAA’s popular TripTik road trip planning tool has doubled compared to the spring and early summer. Not surprisingly, when they pack up their cars, more Americans are heading to destinations known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun than in previous years.

“As many Americas continue to work from home and attend school virtually, this temporary lifestyle change opens up new and exciting possibilities for fall travel – particularly for those who deferred summer travel plans,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “For those who choose to travel, the great American road trip continues to be the preferred method of getting out and exploring the United States. AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler.”

Lower prices at the gas pump may also be motivating some would-be travelers to hit the road this fall. On average, gas prices nationally are nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year, and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016.

Top Road Trip Destinations

This fall, vacationers are showing a preference for the great American road trip and U.S. destinations that allow for socially distanced, outdoor recreation. New additions to the list of top road trip destinations this year include Keystone, South Dakota – home to Mount Rushmore – and Colorado Springs.

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Keystone, SD
  7. Portland, OR
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Myrtle Beach, SC

Data based on TripTik.AAA.com searches from June 15-Sept 14, 2020

“Trips that allow people to take advantage of the great outdoors are particularly appealing this fall. From hiking and exploring state and national parks, to visiting beaches and outdoor gardens, all of these top road trip destinations feature activities that allow families to enjoy America’s backyard within their individual comfort levels,” continued Twidale.

What to Know Before You Go

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

For those who make the personal decision to travel, AAA recommends travelers check with state and local authorities where they are, along their route, and at their planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place. These additional tips and helpful information play an important role in being a responsible traveler:

  • Check AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map as well as CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker for the latest state and local travel restrictions.
  • Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.
  • Use TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out AAA.com/RoadTrips for more road trip inspiration.
  • Take your car into a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to ensure it is road trip ready. To find one near you, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
  • Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces and hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times.
  • If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. Hertz, for example, has introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process. For extra peace mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels. Hertz is also offering deals for road trippers this fall. Book four or more days at any Hertz neighborhood location and get one day free. Visit AAA.com/Hertz for more details.
  • Consult a travel agent; they are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly. AAA travel counselors are ready to help Americans when they are ready to plan their next adventure. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.

AAA continues to monitor travel trends and will release a traditional Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast in November. For more information, visit www.Newsroom.AAA.com.

Survey Methodology

Survey findings are the result of a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,041 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 61 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 32 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 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.

Over the weekend Hurricane Delta made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a category 2 hurricane. While the storm caused some disruptions, refineries are reporting operations have resumed. The Colonial Pipeline Line 1, the main gas line, was down temporarily over the weekend due to loss of power, which has since been restored as well as service. Line 2, the distillates line, is currently shutdown without power. While the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports that approximately 91% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is currently shut-in, as of this morning, inspections are underway and production is expected to resume this week.

“In a typical year, a hurricane season like we’ve experienced this year would have caused gas prices to spike, but 2020 is not a typical year,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Low U.S. gasoline demand has helped contain any impact to gas prices locally and regionally throughout this hurricane season.”

On the week, the national gas price average held steady at $2.18 despite a slight jump in demand. At 8.8 million b/d, gasoline demand is just 6% below levels last year at this time. However, the increase isn’t substantial enough to impact supply levels or pump prices. The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly report measures gasoline supply at 226.7 million bbl. That is a decrease of 1.7 million bbl from the week prior, though the drop is likely attributed to high export numbers.

“The vast majority of motorists are seeing stability at the pump, even despite Hurricane Delta. On the week 45 state gas price averages only fluctuated by one or two pennies, if at all. Demand just is not strong enough to outpace supply, which means drivers are continuing to benefit from cheaper prices at the pump,” added McGee.

Today, motorists can find gas for $2.25 or cheaper at 72% of gas stations, compared to 12% last October. The national average is a penny less than last month and 45 cents cheaper than last year.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Delaware (+9 cents), Washington, D.C. (+6 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Indiana (+5 cents), South Carolina (+3 cents), Ohio (-3 cents), Wisconsin (-3 cents), Illinois (-3 cents), Florida (-2 cents) and Idaho (-2 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.85), Texas ($1.85), Missouri ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.87), Arkansas ($1.88), Louisiana ($1.90), Alabama ($1.90), South Carolina ($1.94), Tennessee ($1.94) and Kansas ($1.95).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 59 cents to settle at $40.60. Crude prices dropped due to market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand. The drop in prices occurred alongside the EIA weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories increased by 500,000 bbl to 492.9 million bbl. For this week, crude prices could decline further if demand concerns continue to worry the market.

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 $2.18, the national gas price average is at the cheapest start to the month of October since 2016. That average is the same as a week ago, four cents cheaper than the start of this past September and nearly 50 cents cheaper than last year. The national average held on the week as demand was mostly stable at 8.5 million b/d despite gasoline stocks increasing by 700,000 bbl.

“Demand is likely to see some declines in the weeks ahead as drivers traditionally take fewer road trips in the fall,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “That will mean gas prices are likely to push cheaper throughout the month.”

On the week, 41 state gas price averages fluctuated by no more than two cents. Of those, 38 states only saw a penny increase or decrease. A handful of states saw more substantial gas price increases including Florida (+9 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Washington, D.C. (+5 cents), West Virginia (+4 cents) and Maryland (+3 cents).

Quick Stats

  •  The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Florida (+9 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Washington, D.C. (+5 cents), Michigan (-5 cents), West Virginia (+4 cents), Maryland (+3 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents), Idaho (-3 cents) and Indiana (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.84), Texas ($1.85), Arkansas ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.87), Missouri ($1.87), Louisiana ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), South Carolina ($1.91), Tennessee ($1.93) and Kansas ($1.95).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.67 to settle at $37.05. Crude prices dropped dramatically due to market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand. The drop in prices occurred despite the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 2 million bbl to 492.4 million bbl. For this week, crude prices could decline further if demand concerns continue to worry the market.

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.

National Average Holds Steady as Demand Grows Slightly

September 28th, 2020 by jcasselano

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measures demand at 8.52 million b/d, which is a slight uptick from the previous week’s 8.48 million b/d. However, the small increase is still 850,000 b/d lower than last year at this time.

“Low demand, even as gasoline stocks decline, has helped pump prices decline or hold steady on the week,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “That is likely to continue into the fall as the season sees fewer road trips, especially amid the pandemic.”

Today’s national gas price average is $2.18, which is the same price as last week, five cents less than a month ago, but 47 cents cheaper than a year ago. On the week, most states saw gas prices decrease or moderate fluctuations by a penny or two. A continued drop in demand will likely lead to pump prices continuing to decrease.

Quick Stats

  •  The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Michigan (+10 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Kentucky (+8 cents), Indiana (+6 cents), New Mexico (+5 cents), South Carolina (+3 cents), North Carolina (+3 cents), Florida (-3 cents), Illinois (+2 cents) and Idaho (+2 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.83), Texas ($1.85), Louisiana ($1.87), Missouri ($1.87), Arkansas ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.89), Alabama ($1.89), Tennessee ($1.92), South Carolina ($1.93) and Kansas ($1.96).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by six cents to settle at $40.25. Domestic crude prices declined due to increased market fears as coronavirus infections increase worldwide, which could impact crude demand. Before market fears emerged, there was some market optimism that domestic demand could be starting to stabilize after EIA’s latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 1.6 million bbl to 494.4 million bbl. Decreasing stocks could signal that supply and demand are rebalancing, while crude production decreased by 200,000 b/d to 10.7 million b/d. For this week, crude prices could decline further if demand concerns continue to worry the market.

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.

Low Demand Continues to Pull National Average Lower

September 21st, 2020 by EEdmonds

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measures demand at 8.48 million b/d, which is a slight uptick from the previous week’s 8.39 million b/d. However, the small increase — likely due to holiday road trips — is still 461,000 b/d lower than last year at this time. Low demand, even as total domestic stocks of gasoline declined to 231.5 million bbl, has helped keep pump prices low.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.18, which is one cent less than last week, the same price as a month ago, but 48 cents cheaper than mid-September last year. On the week, all states saw gas prices decrease or remain stable at the pump. The majority of state averages have pushed cheaper by a penny or two since last Monday. With the nation entering the fall driving season, which typically sees fewer road trips, a continued drop in demand will likely lead to pump prices continuing to decrease.

Additionally, the National Hurricane Center is currently tracking Tropical Storm Beta, which is expected to produce severe flooding and heavy rain in coastal Texas and Louisiana later today. The expected damage to infrastructure will likely hinder ongoing recovery efforts in the region due to other recent storms and hurricanes, which have shuttered total U.S. crude refining capacity by 8.7%. The amount of shuttered oil production in the Gulf of Mexico now stands at 179,237 b/d (just under 10% of total offshore output), according to the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Any crude or pump price impacts will likely be contained to the region and not have a national impact.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Delaware (-5 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Maryland (-3 cents), West Virginia (-3 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Colorado (-2 cents), South Carolina (-2 cents), Georgia (-2 cents), New Jersey (-2 cents) and North Carolina (-2 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.84), Texas ($1.85), Arkansas ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.88), Missouri ($1.88), Louisiana ($1.88), South Carolina ($1.90), Alabama ($1.90), Tennessee ($1.93) and Kentucky ($1.96).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 14 cents to settle at $41.11. Domestic crude prices increased last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 4.4 million bbl to 496 million bbl. Decreasing stocks could signal that supply and demand are rebalancing, even while production grew by 900,000 b/d last week to 10.9 million b/d. For this week, crude prices could increase again if EIA’s next weekly report shows another decrease in total inventories.

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

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measures gasoline demand at 8.3 million b/d, which is the lowest level since mid-June. As demand dropped for a second week, so did gasoline supply levels – down nearly 3 million bbl to 231 million bbl. While consistently decreasing week-over-week, supplies also sit at a 3 million bbl year-over-year surplus.

“Typically lower supply levels translate into higher pump prices. However, even with consistent declines in gasoline stocks, that’s just not the case right now,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Despite the steady supply dip, continued low levels of demand helped push the national gas price cheaper on the week.”

Today’s national gas price average is $2.19, which is three cents less than last week, two cents more than a month ago, but 37 cents cheaper than mid-September last year. On the week, all states saw gas prices decrease or stabilize at the pump. States with the largest declines are paying a nickel to a dime less, but the majority of state averages pushed cheaper by a few pennies since last Monday.

Mid-September is typically a point in the year that ushers in cheaper gas prices due to the switchover at gas stations from summer-blend to winter-blend, which is cheaper to produce. The difference between the two blends comes down to Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The higher – or more volatile – the RVP, the more able it is to evaporate at low temperatures. Winter-blend has a higher RVP which allows the fuel to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. If the RVP is too low on a frigid day, the vehicle will be hard to start and once started, will run rough.

“Motorists will see some cost savings at the pump with the switchover to winter-blend, but the price difference will be less than other years given how cheap prices have been this year already,” added Casselano. “However, hurricanes can always change any forecast for savings.”

The National Hurricane Center is currently tracking a number of tropical storms and depressions. Tropical Storm Sally is expected to produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds for the northern Gulf Coast starting later today. Sally has already forced at least one refinery shutdown in Louisiana at Phillips 66. Others are watching the storm to determine any operational decisions (see more details in Oil Market Dynamics section). Any pump price impacts will likely be contained to the region and not have a national impact.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Ohio (-10 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Indiana (-6 cents), Michigan (-5 cents), North Carolina (-5 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Wisconsin (-4 cents), Washington, D.C. (-4 cents), Tennessee (-4 cents) and Illinois (-4 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.86), Texas ($1.87), Arkansas ($1.90), Louisiana ($1.90), Missouri ($1.90), Oklahoma ($1.90), Alabama ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.93), Tennessee ($1.94) and Kentucky ($1.96).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by three cents to settle at $37.33. Although crude prices made a small gain at the end of the week, the price of crude saw a weekly loss of $2.44. Domestic crude prices decreased after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 2 million bbl, increasing total stocks to 500.4 million bbl. Increasing stocks could signal that crude demand is declining, while production increased by 300,000 b/d last week to 10 million b/d. For this week, crude prices could decrease further amid growing demand concerns.

In related news, Tropical Storm Sally has led some offshore platforms in the Gulf Coast to shutter production. Chevron shut its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms and evacuated the workers, while Royal Dutch Shell said it began shutting some of its offshore drilling operations on Sunday. However, according to reports, its offshore production was unchanged, and all personnel remain on production platforms. Additionally, Murphy Oil shut the Delta House platform because it is in the path of the storm. The exact impact of the storm and how long operations remain shuttered will determine if crude supply will be impacted in the region, which could lead to fluctuations in crude prices. Any crude price impacts will likely be contained to the region and not have a national impact.

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.

AAA Cautions Consumers: Don’t Buy the Hype

September 10th, 2020 by AGross

New Research Shows Automaker Marketing May Lead to Overconfidence, Misunderstanding

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 10, 2020) –  Motorists using active driving assistance systems, which combine vehicle acceleration with braking and steering, tend to overlook safety limitations when the branding and marketing used to sell it suggest an “automated” driving experience, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  Researchers found consumer information that stresses convenience and capabilities while minimizing limitations can inflate expectations regarding what the system can do and the situations that it can handle. AAA warns that a false sense of system capabilities created by marketing campaigns can lead to dangerous scenarios on the road.

Additional Resources

“Based on data collected from our research, subtle differences in tone and emphasis significantly influenced people’s understanding of the technology and their expectations of its capability,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “These systems assist the driver and take some of the stress out of driving, but they don’t eliminate the need for drivers to pay attention.”

In this latest AAA Foundation study, 90 research participants received a brief overview of an active driving assistance system with a realistic but fictitious name. Before driving the same vehicle, half of the participants were told their system was called “AutonoDrive” and were given an upbeat training that emphasized the system’s capabilities and driver convenience. The other half of the participants were told their system was named “DriveAssist,” and their training placed greater emphasis on the system’s limitations and driver responsibility. Participants trained on AutonoDrive came away with greater confidence — and in some cases, overconfidence — in the system. After completing the training and driving the test vehicle, 42% of the participants using AutonoDrive, said its name made the system sound more capable than it is, while only 11% of DriveAssist users felt the same. Also, compared to those who learned about DriveAssist, participants trained on AutonoDrive were more likely to believe erroneously that the system would behave as outlined below.

Sample Perception Differences Between AutonoDrive versus DriveAssist

AutonoDrive DriveAssist
The system would make them feel more comfortable eating while driving 65% 27%
The system would make them feel more comfortable using a handheld cell phone 45% 13%
The system can take action to avoid a collision when a vehicle directly to the side begins steering into it to change lanes 42% 4%
The system can automatically reduce speed on a tight curve without the driver doing anything 56% 27%

 

Potential consumer misunderstandings of new vehicle technology need to be addressed. In a previous survey, 40 percent of Americans told AAA they expect active driving assistance systems, with names like Autopilot and ProPILOT, to have the ability to drive the car by itself. AAA recommends that automakers provide consumers information that is not only technically accurate but also balanced in terms of setting expectations that match what consumers will ultimately experience on the road. For consumers, there must be an emphasis on driver engagement and understanding the limitations of these technologies. Car dealers have a responsibility to educate car buyers on these technologies, but not to oversell a vehicle’s bells and whistles.

“Automakers are in the business of selling vehicles.  Understandably, they will emphasize convenience and system capabilities in their marketing campaigns.  But, their marketing campaigns, materials and consumer information should not mislead motorists,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research.  “Words matter.  We can do better by taking care to be more realistic in setting expectations for consumers such that the sale of a new vehicle does not come at the expense of safety.”

  • Purpose – Learn the purpose of active driving technology by reading the vehicle’s owner’s manual and visiting the manufacturer’s website.
  • Limitations – Understand what the technology cannot do; do not make any assumptions about automation. An active driving system should not be confused with a self-driving one.
  • Allow Time For Testing – Allow time for safe on-road testing, so drivers know exactly how this technology works in real driving situations.
  • Never Rely On It – Do not rely on this technology; instead, act as if the vehicle does not have it with the driver always prepared to retake control if needed.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by researching their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research develops educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users.

About AAA: AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 32 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 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.

 

As Summer Fades Away, Cheaper Gas Prices Here to Stay

September 8th, 2020 by jcasselano

Motorists saw plenty of savings at the pump from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The national gas price average during the unofficial start and stop to summer was $2.15 – the cheapest since 2004. Demand was decimated this summer, which ultimately meant increased supply and cheap gas prices. That trend continues. In its latest report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that demand dropped from 9.16 million b/d to 8.79 b/d. While gasoline stocks dropped by 4.3 million bbl to 234.9 million bbl, total supply is 5.2 million bbl more than this time last year.

“Summer may be fading into the rearview mirror, but less expensive gas prices are not,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Moving into fall we traditionally see a drop in demand and further savings at the pump. This year that means pump prices could possibly push even lower then we’ve already seen in 2020.”

On the week, the majority of state averages are cheaper by a few cents. A few states in the Mid-West did see more significant price drops ranging from a nickel to a dime. The small handful of states with increases saw a jump of just penny or two, with the exception of Florida (+6 cents).

At $2.21, today’s average is two cents less than last week, one penny more than last month and 35 cents cheaper than a year ago.

Quick Stats

  •  The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Ohio (-11 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Wisconsin (-5 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), Illinois (-4 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Washington, D.C. (-3 cents) and Oklahoma (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.88), Texas ($1.89), Oklahoma ($1.90), Louisiana ($1.91), Arkansas ($1.91), Missouri ($1.92), Alabama ($1.93), South Carolina ($1.96), Tennessee ($1.96) and Kansas ($2.00).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.60 to settle at $39.77 per barrel. The price of crude decreased in reaction to a decline in the stock market at the end of last week. The price decreased despite EIA’s weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 9.4 million bbl, lowering total domestic stocks to 498.4 million bbl. For this week, crude prices could decline further if crude demand concerns arise amid another stock market downturn.

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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