Posts Tagged ‘AAA News’

With the arrival for spring, gas prices immediately became more expensive nationwide. The national gas price average is $2.61, which is a nickel more expensive on the week. Six states are seeing double-digit increases: Idaho (+16 cents), Utah (+14 cents), Delaware (+13 cents), New Mexico (+12 cents), South Carolina (+10 cents) and Maryland (+10 cents). As prices soar, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that demand dropped to 9.3 million b/d as gasoline stocks dipped (1.7 million b/d) on the week.

“Right now we are seeing the market starting to purge winter-blend gasoline to make room for summer-blend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The jump in gas prices is just the beginning for the season. AAA forecasts the national gas price average will be as much as $2.70/gallon this spring and summer.”

Today’s national gas price average ($2.61) is nine cents more than a month ago and 33 cents more expensive than this time last year.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Idaho (+16 cents), Utah (+14 cents), Delaware (+13 cents), New Mexico (+12 cents), South Carolina (+10 cents), Maryland (+10 cents), Alabama (+9 cents), Oregon (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents) and Washington (+9 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Missouri ($2.31), Mississippi ($2.35), Arkansas ($2.36), Alabama ($2.37), Louisiana ($2.39), Texas ($2.39), South Carolina ($2.40), Oklahoma ($2.40), Tennessee ($2.41) and Ohio ($2.42).

West Coast

Pump prices in West Coast states are among the highest in the nation: Hawaii ($3.51), California ($3.47), Alaska ($3.09), Washington ($3.14), Oregon ($3.05) and Nevada ($2.93). On the week, all drivers in these states saw an increase in prices at the pump. Washington (+9 cents) and Oregon (+9 cents) saw the largest jumps, while Nevada (+7 cents) and California (+6 cents) were close behind. Alaska (+2 cents) and Hawaii (+1 cent) saw the smallest increases.

According to the EIA’s latest weekly report, total gasoline stocks in the region increased last week by 400,000 bbl. They now sit at 32.8 million bbl, which is approximately 4.2 million bbl more than last year’s level at this time.

Great Lakes and Central

Gas prices rose sharply in the Great Lakes and Central region on the week. Michigan (+9 cents) and Nebraska (+9 cents) saw the largest increase followed by Indiana (+8 cents), Iowa (+7 cents) and Illinois (+7 cents).

Within the region and the country, Ohio is the outlier seeing gas prices drop one cent since last Monday.

North Dakota ($2.57) was the only state to see prices remain stable in the region in the last week, but continues to be among the most expensive among the Great Lakes and Central. Coincidentally, the state is one of only two in the region to see a gas price drop on the compared to last month: North Dakota (-3 cents) and Minnesota (-2 cents). All other states are paying more to fill up compared to February 2018 with three states paying a considerable amount more on the month: Michigan (+22 cents), Indiana (+21 cents) and Illinois (+15 cents).

For a second week, gasoline inventories dropped. According to EIA data, the region took a 1.3 million bbl draw to register at 58.8 million bbl. Overall, inventory levels stand just below this time last year, but about 3.5 million bbl above the five-year average for this time of year.

South and Southeast

Three states from the South and Southeast region land on the top 10 list with the biggest change with two of them seeing at least an increase of a dime: New Mexico (+12 cents), South Carolina (+10 cents) and Alabama (+9 cents). Texas (+8 cents) and Mississippi (+7 cents) also saw large jumps on the week. Gas prices range from as cheap as $2.35 in Mississippi to as expensive as $2.55 in Florida.

Compared to March 2017, motorists in South Carolina are seeing the biggest difference in gas prices of all states in the region at 38 cents more a gallon. Prior to Hurricane Harvey, the state typically ranked as the cheapest gas prices in the country week after week. While it has occasionally re-taken the cheapest spot since the hurricane prices in the state have fluctuated.

With a 1 million bbl decrease, gasoline inventories fall below the 84 million mark. However, total inventories are at a 4 million bbl surplus compared to last March, according to the EIA.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, all states are paying more on the week with motorists in Delaware (+13 cents) and Maryland (+10 cents) seeing double-digit increases at the pump. Washington, D.C. ($2.80), Pennsylvania ($2.80) and New York ($2.73) tout the most expensive prices in the region and could trend closer to the $3/gallon mark this spring.

Paying nearly 40-cents more, four states in the region land on the top 10 list with the biggest changes year-over-year: Tennessee (+37 cents), Delaware (+37 cents), Vermont (+36 cents) and Maryland (+36 cents).

Gasoline inventories increased by a small 206,000 bbl on the week, but still sit at 59.7 million bbl. This is the first year since 2014 that March inventories sit below 60 million bbl. Year-over-year, inventories are at an 8.5 million bbl deficit in the region, according to EIA data.

Rockies

With a 16-cent increase, Idaho saw the biggest spike in gas prices in the region and in the country on the week. The state also ranks as the 10th most expensive state to fill up in nationwide. The spike brings Idaho’s gas price average ($2.72) to the most expensive in the region. Utah (+14 cents) saw the second largest spike in the country and in the region on the week. Motorists in Colorado (+5 cents) and Wyoming (+3 cents) are paying more on the week while Montana’s ($2.58) average saw no change.

With a 77,000 bbl add, gasoline inventories continue to register above 8 million bbl. Inventory totals for the region are about 278,000 bbl ahead of this time last year, according to the EIA.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $1.58 to settle at $65.88. The futures market for crude oil rallied last week after EIA’s report revealed crude inventories fell for the third consecutive week. Crude oil inventories dropped 2.6 million barrels from the previous week, and storage levels across the country now total 428.3 million barrels. When compared to last March, current domestic crude inventories are 104.8 million barrels lower. This year-over-year change could be attributed to higher than usual gasoline demand in the U.S. for this time of the year, which has also coincided with growing crude and gasoline exports from the U.S.

The lowering crude data also signaled that OPEC’s production reduction agreement with other large producers, including Russia, is helping to drain global crude supplies and lift the price per barrel. The reduction agreement will be in effect through the end of 2018, and it may extend into 2019. Last week in an interview, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that OPEC would need to continue coordinating with non-OPEC countries in the agreement on what measures to take to curb global crude supplies in 2019. This news contributed to the WTI rally that occurred at the end of last week. The supply reduction agreement, which has been in place since January 2017, has helped participating countries remove 1.8 million b/d from global crude supplies. While the agreement has been in place there has been a reduction in the global supply in crude — which has also helped to lift the price. An extension of the current agreement will likely push prices up and supplies down further.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude production continues to boom. According to EIA’s data last week, production in the U.S. hit another record high of 10.41 million b/d. As another sign of expanded crude production growth in the U.S., Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. gained four active oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 804. The total is 152 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 HallORLANDO, Fla. (March 26, 2018) – Consumers can now look beyond their fingertips to find a AAA Diamond Rated restaurant. AAA has made it as simple as asking Amazon Alexa or Google Home for suggestions. With access to 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, the voice-based technologies can help consumers pinpoint a restaurant locally or find the perfect place to dine while traveling on a vacation.

Additional Resources

  • Amazon Alexa: 1 | 2
  • Google Home: 1 | 2

“Consumers want information instantly and easily. Voice-based technologies, like Alexa and Google Home, are driving this trend,” said Ramon Millan, vice president, chief technology and digital officer at AAA’s national office. “AAA continues to innovate and promote these exciting new approaches and, in so doing, is meeting and exceeding the needs of AAA members and other consumers alike while providing the most convenient access to Diamond Rated restaurants.”

Using the technology, consumers can interact in an instant with the trusted information from AAA’s TourBook guides to find local restaurants and even get an explanation on the AAA Diamond Rating system. To find a AAA Diamond Rated restaurant, use these commands and tips:

  • “Alexa, tell AAA to find me a restaurant.”
  • “Okay Google, tell AAA Restaurants to find me a restaurant.”
  • Be sure to pronounce AAA as “Triple A.”
  • Alexa users must enable the skill before they can access Diamond Rated restaurants.

AAA is working to apply the technology to be compatible with other voice-based devices and expand the capabilities. To learn more about AAA’s Diamond Ratings, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

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

Consumer gasoline demand is at the highest level on record for March. According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report, demand measured at 9.6 million b/d – levels typical of summer months, not the first quarter of a year. U.S. exports continue to trend high, accounting for a large chunk of this week’s demand data.

“As demand strengthened, gasoline inventories declined, pushing the national gas price average two cents more expensive on the week to $2.55,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As a result, the majority of motorists are seeing more expensive gas prices at the start of this work week.”

Today’s national gas price average of $2.55 is two cents more than a month ago and more than a quarter (26 cents) higher than this time last year.

Quick Stats

  • The largest monthly changes are: Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+16 cents), Illinois (+12 cents), New Jersey (-9 cents), Oregon (+9 cents), California (+9 cents), Pennsylvania (-8 cents), Utah (-8 cents) Nevada (+8 cents), and Iowa (-7 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.41), Alaska ($3.07), Washington ($3.05), Oregon ($2.96), Nevada ($2.86), Washington, D.C. ($2.76), Pennsylvania ($2.75), New York ($2.69) and Connecticut ($2.67).

West Coast

Drivers in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the country. The top six most expensive markets in the country are in the region: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.41), Alaska ($3.07), Washington ($3.05), Oregon ($2.96) and Nevada ($2.86). On the week, most West Coast states saw an increase in prices at the pump, with Nevada (+6 cents) seeing the largest. Oregon, Washington, and California each jumped up four cents, while Alaska inched up by a penny. Only Hawaii saw no change in its average price for unleaded regular gasoline.

According to the EIA’s latest weekly petroleum report, gasoline inventories in the region saw a 2.1 million bbl draw last week – a major decline ahead of the spring driving season. Total gasoline stocks in the region sit at 32.4 million bbl, which is approximately 3.4 million bbl more than the level at this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

In the Great Lakes and Central region, gas prices range from as cheap as $2.27 in Missouri to as expensive as $2.57 in North Dakota. On the week, pump prices are mostly more expensive with Kentucky (+9 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Michigan (+4 cents) and Indiana (+3 cents) seeing the largest increases in the region. South Dakota (-2 cents), Nebraska (-1 cent), Minnesota (-1 cent) and Missouri (-1 cent) saw the largest decreases in the region. The 11-cents gap between gas price increases and decreases is not surprising as the region traditionally sees high volatility from week to week.

Gasoline inventories dropped by a small 817,000 bbl on the week, but measure at a strong 60 million bbl. Overall, inventory levels in the region are in line with levels this time last year, according to EIA data.

South and Southeast

Motorists are paying more to fill-up on the week in the South and Southeast. Georgia (+6 cents), Texas (+4 cents) and Florida (+4 cents) saw the largest increases in the region. Georgia’s week-over-week increase lands the state on the top 10 states list with the biggest jump in the country.

Despite the increases, the region continues to see some of the cheapest gas in the country. Mississippi ($2.28), Alabama ($2.28), South Carolina ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.30), Texas ($2.31), Louisiana ($2.32) and Oklahoma ($2.34) are among the top 10 states with the least expensive gas prices in the country.

Gasoline inventories dropped on the week yet remain above the 85 million bbl mark. Offline for planned maintenance the past month, Motiva’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery has brought a processing units back online, which will likely contribute to an increase in inventory in coming weeks.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are volatile in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. On the week, prices pushed as much as a nickel more expensive in Maryland while decreasing by a penny in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire. Three states saw prices remain stable the past seven days: Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Motorists in Washington, D.C. ($2.76), Pennsylvania ($2.75), New York ($2.69) and Connecticut ($2.68) are paying the most expensive gas prices in the region. These four states are also among the top 10 most expensive states in the country this week.

With a 2.4 million bbl decline, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw the largest draw in the country on the week, according to EIA data. Gasoline inventories now sit at their lowest level of the year at 59.4 million bbl.

Rockies

On the week, Idaho (+2 cents), Colorado (+2 cents) and Utah (+1 cent) saw prices increase. Meanwhile, prices are cheaper in two states: Wyoming (-2 cents) and Montana (-1 cent). At $2.58, Montana carries the most expensive state gas price average in the Rockies region, which is 22-cents more expensive than this time last year.

A fire last week at Holly Frontier’s 41,400 b/d Wood Cross refinery, north of Salt Lake City, Utah, will reduce production rates as a crude unit is shut down for potentially two months. The reduced runs will have an impact on regional inventories and likely impact gas prices this spring. Besides HollyFrontier, there are four other refineries in Utah.

Gasoline inventories continue to register above 8 million bbl, despite a small draw on the week. Levels may tighten in coming weeks with the reduction at Wood Cross refinery; however, inventories are at a healthy level and analysts don’t expect a shortage in the market. Had the reduction happened during the summer, when inventory is tight, it may have had an adverse effect.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $1.15 to settle at $62.34. Crude prices rallied last week after the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest monthly oil market report showed that global crude demand is expected to increase to 99.3 million b/d, an increase of 1.5 million b/d over 2017’s rate of 97.8 million b/d. The report also noted that global supply reached 97.9 million b/d last month, which was fueled by growth in domestic production in the U.S. The figure is 700,000 b/d higher than last year’s rate at this time. These findings gave the market some hope that although crude production is booming in the U.S., the newly produced oil will help meet global demand instead of helping global inventories grow.

The latest weekly U.S. crude production rate record – 10.4 million b/d – was set last week, according to EIA. That rate is likely to continue growing, supported by growth in the number of active oil rigs in the country. Last week, Baker Hughes reported an increase of four rigs. The total is now 800, which is 169 more 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.

 

Move Over Baby Boomers, Millennials Embrace Family Travel

March 15th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallAAA survey reveals an estimated 88 million Americans will take family trips this year.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 15, 2018) – Led by millennials, some 88 million Americans plan to take family vacations this year. According to the latest research from AAA Travel, 44 percent of millennials are planning a family getaway, more than members of Generation X (39 percent) or baby boomers (32 percent).

“Just like generations before them, millennials see a family vacation as one of the best ways to create memories and reconnect with loved ones,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “No matter their age, families are going on not just one, but multiple vacations throughout the year to revisit favorite destinations and experience new places.”

Additional Resources

  • Infographics: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

As travelers seek new sights, AAA expects family trips abroad to be a hot trend in 2018. Of families who will take a trip this year, 35 percent plan to visit an international destination – a nine percentage point increase from just two years ago. Based on advance travel bookings, AAA predicts the top five most likely international destinations for families will be:

  1. Cancun, Mexico
  2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  3. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. Dublin, Ireland

“We’ve seen increased demand for international travel overall, and that trend is now starting to appeal to families,” continued Sutherland.

For families staying stateside, expensive gas prices – the highest prices seen since 2014 – are not stopping vacation planners from packing up their cars for a road trip. They remain the most popular option for family vacations, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a trip expected to hit the roads.

Additional AAA family travel highlights for 2018:

  • Families are taking more trips per year. One in four (27 percent) traveling families is planning to take three or more family vacations in the next 12 months, 12 percentage points more than in 2016.
  • Family travelers are looking for new experiences. Three-quarters (73 percent) of families that are planning a vacation this year are seeking a destination they have not previously visited.
  • Families are seeking R&R. When looking for these new experiences, families are choosing destinations with attractions such as beaches and mountains (61 percent), opportunities for sightseeing (59 percent) and relaxation (56 percent).

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

To help families even further, AAA’s inspectors have identified some of their favorite family-friendly hotels for 2018. To learn more and begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/TravelTips.

AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,005 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 26-28, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

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

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

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

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

Quick Stats

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

West Coast

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

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

Great Lakes and Central

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

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

South and Southeast

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

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

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

Rockies

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

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

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

Oil market dynamics

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

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

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

Gas Prices on the Rise for Half of the Country

March 5th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

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

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

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

Quick Stats

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

West Coast

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

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

Great Lakes and Central

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

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

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

South and Southeast

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

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

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

Rockies

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

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

 

Oil market dynamics

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

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

Costly Spring Gas Price Spike Coming to a Pump Near You

March 1st, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

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

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

Additional Resources

  • Gas Price Forecast graphics: 12

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

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

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

Fuel Savings Tips for Consumers

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

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

Summer Look Ahead

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

Oil Market Dynamics Overview

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

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

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

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

Gasoline Demand Dips, Gas Prices Continue to Drop

February 26th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

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

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

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

Quick Stats

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

West Coast

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

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

Great Lakes and Central

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

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

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

South and Southeast

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

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

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

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

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

Rockies

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

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

Oil market dynamics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AAA Inspections

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

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

 

Restaurant Images

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City

(Photo Credit: AAA, Adriana Rodriguez)

Manresa, Los Gatos, California

(Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger)

McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo Credit: Andrew Cebulka)

Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.

(Photo Credit: AAA)

TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui, Cancun, Mexico

(Photo Credit: AAA)

The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tennessee

(Photo Credit: Anthony Tahlier)

Topper’s, Nantucket, Massachusetts

(Photo Credit: Topper’s)

 

Vetri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Photo Credit: AAA)

Gas Price Averages Trending Cheaper on the Week Nationwide

February 20th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

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

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

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

 

Quick Stats

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

 

West Coast

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

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

 

Great Lakes and Central

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

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

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

 

South and Southeast

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

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

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

 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

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

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

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

 

Rockies

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

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

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

 

Oil market dynamics

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

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

 

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