AAA Monthly Gas Price Report
(WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014)
Drivers Stuck Paying Highest Gas Prices in Six Years for Independence Day
- U.S. drivers will pay the most expensive Independence Day gas prices since 2008, primarily because Iraqi violence has increased global petroleum costs. AAA predicts that 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more by car during the holiday weekend despite high gas prices.
- “Most drivers are paying about 15-20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home.”
- With Independence Day only a few days away, today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon. This average is considerably more expensive than recent years for the holiday. The national average on July 4 in previous years was: $3.48 (2013); $3.34 (2012); $3.57 (2011); $2.74 (2010); $2.62 (2009); and $4.10 (2008).
- AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA’s full Independence Day forecast can be found here.
- The monthly average price of gas in June was $3.67 per gallon, which was the most expensive for June since 2011, and it was the highest average for any month since March 2013. Last year gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in June.
- Gas prices often decline in June as refineries complete maintenance and increase gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season. During the previous three years, the national average price of gas declined in June by an average of 21 cents per gallon. A month ago, AAA predicted the national average could decline 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but this did not happen due to the unexpected events in Iraq.
- On June 10, insurgents known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city. Following this attack, there were concerns in the market that the rebels would take Baghdad or disrupt the southern oil producing regions of the country. These concerns helped drive up global oil prices, which made it more expensive to produce gasoline. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, and any decline in exports could impact global oil supplies.
Gas Prices to Remain Expensive During Summer Driving Season
- Gas prices this July likely will remain expensive due to high crude oil costs and rising summertime demand. AAA expects the national average price of gas in July will range from $3.60-$3.70 per gallon, though prices could climb higher if there are new developments in Iraq or a major hurricane. Last year gas prices averaged $3.58 per gallon nationally in July.
- “It is shaping up to be a hot and expensive summer for gas prices, and we have not even hit the busiest time of the year yet,” continued Ash. “It is clear that most drivers will pay high prices as they fill up for their summer road trips.”
- AAA expects the national average price of gas likely will remain relatively flat in the near future and could even decline a few cents as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. Price increases from recent ISIL attacks in Iraq already are reflected in current prices, and it would take major new developments, such as ISIL moving into southern oil producing regions, for prices to rise significantly higher in the days ahead.
- Gas prices have increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July during the previous three years as strong summer demand pushed up prices. July is typically the second busiest month of the year on the roads behind August. Last year Americans drove a total of 263.2 billion miles in July.
- From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013, gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon. Gas prices have averaged $3.67 per gallon so far this summer.
National Average Price of Gas Has Remained Flat This Week
- Today’s national average price of gas is $3.68 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago. Gas prices nationally have stopped increasing and have remained relatively flat in recent days as the situation stabilizes in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is unlikely to send gas prices significantly higher unless there are major developments in Baghdad or in the southern oil producing regions.
- The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.13), Washington ($4.00) and Oregon ($3.98). The five states with the lowest average prices include: South Carolina ($3.39), Alabama ($3.42), Mississippi ($3.45), Tennessee ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.48).
- Despite high gas prices in most parts of the country, drivers in four states are paying less than a year ago. These four states include Utah (-8 cents), Idaho (-6 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Colorado (-0.1 cents). The states with the largest price increases compared to a year ago include Michigan (42 cents), Kentucky (37 cents) and Ohio (32 cents).
- The most expensive metro area in the continental United States is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.24 per gallon. The least expensive metro area in the United States is Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C. at $3.33 per gallon.