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AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: Summer Gasoline Outlook and May 2014 Trends

AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: Summer Gasoline Outlook and May 2014 Trends

(Washington, June 2, 2014)

Gas Prices Expected to Remain High for Summer Driving Season

  • AAA expects gas prices to remain relatively high during the summer driving season as millions of Americans take long road trips to destinations nationwide. AAA predicts the national average price of gas this summer likely will vary from $3.55-$3.70 per gallon. Major refinery disruptions, geopolitical concerns or a damaging hurricane season could send prices higher than forecast.
  • “While it is impossible to predict the exact price of gasoline, we can guarantee that millions of Americans will pay high prices as they hit the roads this summer,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Expect a feeling of déjà vu with gasoline costing about the same as last summer.”
  • Gas prices have declined during the previous three years in June for an average of 21 cents per gallon. It is possible that many drivers could see prices fall about 10 cents per gallon this month if refinery production increases as anticipated. Gas prices averaged $3.60 in June 2013, $3.50 in June 2012 and $3.68 in June 2011.
  • Gas prices often tick higher from Independence Day through August during the height of the summer driving season as refineries work to keep pace with high demand. In addition, the threat of potential hurricanes and disruption along the U.S. Gulf Coast can result in higher prices, although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a less active than usual storm period in 2014.
  • Average national gas prices in the summer of 2013 reached a low of $3.47 on July 6 and a high of $3.67 on July 22. Gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon from Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon.
  • Peak gasoline demand generally occurs during the summer, and AAA expects this trend to remain true this year. In 2013, average gasoline consumption from June-August was about five percent higher than during other months of the year. Americans drove an estimated 788 billion miles during this period last year, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Gas Prices Nationally Averaged $3.66 per Gallon in May

  • The national average price of gas was $3.66 per gallon in May, which was about two cents higher than April and about seven cents higher than May 2013. National gasoline consumption in May was the highest since 2011 for the month, according to the Energy Information Administration.
  • “After such a long, brutal winter, it seems that many drivers took advantage of the great weather in May,” continued Ash. “Significantly stronger than expected gasoline demand has kept prices high heading into the summer driving season.”
  • Gas prices remained relatively steady throughout the month with the national average declining about two cents per gallon from the beginning to the end of May. High demand kept prices from falling farther despite increased gasoline production.
  • The national average reached a high of $3.70 per gallon on April 28, which could be the peak for the year. Gas prices often peak in the spring as refineries conduct maintenance and produce less gasoline. Many refineries have completed seasonal maintenance, which has allowed gasoline production to increase in advance of the busy summer driving season. Nevertheless, national gasoline supplies remain tight due to higher than anticipated demand in May.
  • Gas prices averaged $3.59 per gallon in May 2013, $3.72 per gallon in May 2012 and $3.91 per gallon in May 2011.

Gas Prices Slightly Higher than a Year Ago in Majority of States

  • Today’s national average is $3.65 per gallon, which is about five cents higher than a year ago. Drivers in 29 states are paying an average that is higher than last year with the most expensive differences including: Pennsylvania (+26 cents), South Carolina (+23 cents) and Kentucky (+23 cents). The states experiencing the largest declines from a year ago include: North Dakota (-44 cents), Iowa (-36 cents) and Minnesota (-36 cents).
  • State average gas prices vary by nearly a dollar across the country. Seven percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $4.00 per gallon today, while one-third of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $3.50 per gallon. The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.36), California ($4.13), Alaska ($4.01), Ohio ($3.92) and Connecticut ($3.92). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Arkansas ($3.40), Mississippi ($3.40), Louisiana ($3.41), Tennessee ($3.43) and Montana ($3.44).
  • Drivers in 34 states are paying cheaper prices than a month ago, and consumers in many parts of the Great Lakes region are paying about the highest prices of the year due to tight supplies and high demand. The states paying the most compared to a month ago include: Ohio (+25 cents), Indiana (+21 cents) and Michigan (+20 cents). The states with the largest price declines during the previous month include: California (-13 cents), Florida (-12 cents) and Alabama (-12 cents).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

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