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Lowest Gas Prices of the Year in Q4
Cheap Crude Fueling Significant Savings at the Pump
HARTFORD, Conn. (August 22, 2019) AAA is forecasting that gas prices across Connecticut will continue to fall into fall, dropping as much as 25 cents from their summer high and possibly hitting a new low for the year. Fueling the downward trend are cheaper crude oil prices, the expected decline in gasoline demand after Labor Day and the move to the less expensive ‘winter-blend’, which begins mid-September.
“Falling gas prices are not usual at this time of year but cheaper crude oil has served as an accelerator, which has been a nice treat for motorists as summer comes to a close,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “The AAA Gas Prices forecast also bodes well for anyone planning a road trip this fall”.
The average price for gas across Connecticut peaked at just over $3 ($3.01) for a gallon of regular unleaded in early May. Today’s statewide average is $2.79.
National Gas Prices
The national average ($2.60/gallon) has also been tumbling - down almost 20 cents in 5 weeks - a downward trend also expected to continue barring any unforeseen disruptions caused by weather/hurricanes or geo-political influences. AAA is projecting the national average could drop to $2.40 or lower.
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Inventory
Since Memorial Day, gasoline stocks have fluctuated in the region ranging between 58 – 65 million bbl in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly reports. EIA’s report for the week ending August 2 showed a 3-million bbl deficit compared to the beginning of the third quarter in 2018.
Part of the year-over-year deficit stems from the pending closure of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refinery on the East Coast. This would usually lead to a spike in gas prices. However, gasoline imports are easing supply concerns and keeping retail gasoline prices moving lower. Though any further supply disruptions could cause prices in the region to spike temporarily.
AAA forecasts crude prices to range between $50 and $60 per barrel this fall. That is a considerable drop from last fall when prices ranged between $60 and $75. Why so cheap? Current total domestic crude inventories sit at 438.9 million bbl, which is 31.5 million bbl higher than last year at this time. The continued glut of oil encouraged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners to extend their 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement through the end of the year. However, so far, reduced supply from OPEC and its partners has not led to a sustained higher price for crude.
As always, hurricane season has the potential to cause declining gas prices to shoot back up. This month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that 2019’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be above normal, with 10 to 17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes. The mere threat of a hurricane making landfall can shutter domestic crude production, leading to spikes in crude and gasoline prices. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused the national gas price average to jump 30-cents in a matter of days.
AAA Tips for Boosting Vehicle Fuel Efficiency
In addition to cheaper gas prices, there are other ways to save at the pump and boost your vehicle’s fuel efficiency this fall.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Americans drive, on average, almost 12,000 miles per year, and annual per-vehicle gasoline use totals more than 450 gallons. Poorly maintained vehicles are less efficient and use more fuel.
To maintain fuel efficiency for your car, AAA recommends checking the owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule, and keep the following in mind:
- Perform required maintenance as specified. Keeping moving components adequately lubricated and ignition and emission systems in good operating condition will help ensure maximum fuel efficiency and extend the life of your vehicle.
- Change engine oil at the intervals indicated by the in-car maintenance reminder system or factory schedule. Use an “energy-conserving” oil that meets the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
- Keep tires inflated at the proper pressure. Use the figures on the tire information decal on thedriver’s door jamb — not the one molded into the tire’s sidewall. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy and can be a safety hazard.
- Check the engine air filter at every oil change. A dirty filter won’t affect fuel economy on a modern fuel-injected car, but it will reduce engine performance.
- Engine spark plugs must be in good condition. Some types last for 100,000 miles, but othersneed to be replaced more often.
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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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The 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 for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.