CINCINNATI, OH—November 27, 2017—This December drivers will not find significant savings at the gas pump but, AAA says, early 2018 looks promising.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.51, which is 38 cents more than this time last year. While AAA does expect gas prices to decline between now and the end of the year, motorists will still pay the highest November and December gas prices since 2014.
“Even though AAA is forecasting a 5 to 20 cents decrease in the coming weeks, gas prices in December will be higher compared to year-end prices from 2015 and 2016,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Still, gas remains relatively reasonable compared to the prices we were seeing just a few years ago so the cost of filling up is unlikely to discourage year end travel – or shopping.”
Today's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Ohio is $2.42, 39 cents above what it was last year on this same day.
As usual, gas prices across the state vary by region:
In 2017, gas prices have strayed from typical trends.
Historically, year-end gas prices tend to be relatively cheap due to a drop-off in fall gasoline demand around Labor Day and the move to the cheaper-to-produce winter-blend of gas in mid-September. This year, the typical factors that drive gas prices down in winter were outweighed by the impact of two major hurricanes, steady consumer demand and continued growth in gasoline exports.
2017’s Unusual Trends
- Highs and Lows: Summer driving season traditionally brings the highest gas prices of the year and year-end brings the lowest, but not this year:
- 2017 High: $2.67 on September 11
- 2017 Low: $2.23 on July 5
- Exports: According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the first half of 2017, US exports of total motor gasoline averaged a record high of 756,000 b/d, a three percent increase from the first half of 2016. The second half of 2017 has seen this trend continue to climb, with exports peaking to one of their highest points in 2017 – 906,000 b/d – last month.
- Production: According to Baker Hughes, Inc., the total oil rig count is currently 747, which is 273 more rigs than last year’s count at this time.
- Great Lakes and Central States:
High refinery maintenance this fall has led to higher gas prices and tightened supply, leaving a typically volatile area even more susceptible to sudden price shocks. With gasoline stocks sitting just above 45 million bbl – 3 million bbl below last year’s level at this time – further unscheduled refinery maintenance and the shutdown of the Keystone pipeline could cause a spike in prices.
On average, motorists in Michigan ($2.44), Illinois ($2.43), South Dakota (2.38), Wisconsin ($2.35) and Nebraska (2.35) have seen the highest gas prices in the region this year; while Missouri ($2.17), Kansas ($2.23), Ohio ($2.29), Kentucky ($2.29) and Minnesota ($2.32) have seen the lowest gas price averages in the region. Currently, gas can be found for $2.25 or less at the following percentages of gas stations: Missouri (36%), Kentucky (26%), South Dakota (9%), Kansas (5%), Ohio (5%), Michigan (3%) and North Dakota (2%). While Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin gas stations are selling gas for 2.25 or less, it is at less than one percent of stations.
2018 Look Ahead:
Motorists can expect gas prices to continue to trend cheaper the first few months of 2018, with potential to see the national gas price average in the $2.25-$2.35 range by February. OPEC’s November 30, 2017 meeting and any decisions to further cut or keep production rates stable will influence longer-term forecasts for 2018.
New Tools and Enhancement Unveiled at GasPrices.AAA.com
In time for year-end road trip planning, AAA has added new tools to GasPrices.AAA.com to provide more comprehensive gas price data and insight to motorists and journalists.
In addition to the daily national gas price average for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel gas, AAA now provides the daily E-85 national average.
Enhanced features to the Top Trends page allows visitors to sort data in various ways (high to low pricing, by date) and easily identify changes by directional colored arrows: increases (red); decreases (green); or no change (grey). Lastly, the top trends page now offers the ability to query gas prices at the state metro level.
With the addition of 175 new metropolitan areas and corresponding gas prices, state coverage is more comprehensive. In addition, each state now touts county gas price averages via a state heat map.
A new ‘State Gas Price Averages’ page provides an overview of each state’s daily gas price for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel fuel. From this page, a visitor can also click on a state name and be taken directly to that state’s landing page. Users can sort data on this page alphabetically by state name or highest/lowest price by fuel grade.
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 provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.