June 30, 2015|
Lowest July 4 Gas Prices in Five Years on the Way- AAA Monthly Gas Price Report
Americans Have Saved $65 Billion on Gas During First Six Months of the Year
- Lower prices have helped Americans save about $65 billion on gas so far this year, compared to the first six months of 2014, which is more than $530 for every U.S. household on average. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.77 per gallon, which is the lowest average for this date since 2010 and about 91 cents per gallon less than a year ago.
- “It is much easier for a driver to take a summer road trip knowing that they have saved hundreds of dollars on gas so far this year,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “The gas savings should continue for the rest of the summer, which could help motivate millions of Americans to travel.”
- AAA expects 41.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Independence Day, which is the highest total since 2007. About 35.5 million people will travel by car for the holiday. Most drivers should pay the lowest gas prices for Independence Day in at least five years.
- U.S. gas prices have averaged $2.45 per gallon this year, which is the cheapest average for the first six months since 2009. During the first six months of 2014, gas prices averaged $3.52 per gallon.
- Americans are driving more this year due to lower gas prices and a stronger economy. Gasoline demand for the first six months of the year is up about three percent compared to the same period in 2014, according to initial estimates by the Energy Information Administration. Summertime demand is even higher with the current four-week average about 4.5 percent higher than a year ago.
- Gas prices averaged $2.78 per gallon in June, which was the lowest average for the month since 2010. By comparison, the average price of gas in June 2014 was $3.67 per gallon.
- Gas prices remained relatively steady in June with the national average finishing the month only about three cents per gallon higher than at the beginning of the month. U.S. average gas prices are about 74 cents per gallon higher than the lows in late January.
- Average U.S. prices reached a 2015 high of $2.80 per gallon on June 15. If this remains the highest average of the year, it would be the cheapest peak price since 2009.
- The cost of West Texas Intermediate crude oil remained stable in June with the price settling within a relatively narrow range of $58.00-$61.26 per barrel, which has helped to prevent significant changes in the national average price of gasoline.
- The average price of diesel is only eight cents per gallon more than gasoline today. The difference between gasoline and diesel reached its most narrow point since 2009 in June, due in part to a late peak in gas prices and seasonal factors that help reduce the cost of diesel in the summer. In January, the average price of diesel was 90 cents more expensive per gallon than gasoline.
- Gasoline costs less than in recent years because of significantly lower crude oil costs. Crude oil remains about $50 per barrel cheaper than the highs reached in summer 2014.
Gas Prices May Drop this Month Due to Rising Production
- The national average price of gas is likely to remain less than $3 per gallon this year, but there is considerable uncertainty regarding the future direction of prices. It is possible that gas prices this month will drop or at least remain relatively flat in the near term as gasoline production increases to take advantage of high profit margins. Oil prices similarly should remain near current levels given that domestic, commercial supplies are about 19 percent higher than a year ago. Nevertheless, factors such as strong summertime demand or other unexpected events could send gas prices higher.
- “Drivers are hoping that history repeats last year’s dramatic selloff in gas prices during the second half of the summer,” continued Ash. “There is real possibility that gas prices will drop this month as millions of Americans hit the roads for their summer vacation.”
- Fuel demand is likely to be a key factor in whether gas prices drop or increase this summer. July and August are generally the two months with the highest level of U.S. driving, which could affect supplies and prices. If gasoline stocks decline due to strong demand, it is likely that gas prices will rise. Demand generally drops significantly after Labor Day, which leads to lower gas prices in the fall.
- There are a number of unexpected factors that could send summertime gas prices even higher than today, such as increased fighting in the Middle East, unexpected problems at major refineries or strong Atlantic hurricanes that disrupt refinery production.
- Two international events taking place this week could help lower petroleum prices this year. First, negotiators are working on an Iranian nuclear deal, which could lead to abundant supplies of Iranian crude oil entering the markets later this autumn. Second, the effects of Greece defaulting on its debts could weaken the global economy and reduce fuel demand. Similarly, problems in Europe could lead to a stronger dollar, which generally results in lower oil prices.
- It can be relatively common for gas prices to increase in July as more Americans take long, summer road trips. For example, gas prices increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon during the month from 2011-2013.
- Average U.S. gas prices in July 2014 dropped for 30 out of 31 days for a total of 16 cents per gallon, due to abundant petroleum supplies worldwide. This decline was the start of an eventual $1.65 per gallon drop through January.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
Other articles in Fuel: