AAA on Record Gas Prices

AAA says we hit a new gasoline price record:

Retail gasoline prices hit record high: AAA

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. gasoline prices climbed to a record high average of $3.073 a gallon on Monday, breaking the previous peak hit after hurricanes knocked out refineries on the Gulf Coast in 2005, travel and auto group AAA said.

They round up the usual suspects, but forgot about record demand, without which we wouldn’t be in this situation:

Gasoline prices are up about 50 cents since March, according to the survey of 85,000 service stations, with energy experts blaming the spike on planned maintenance and operating problems at the nation’s oil refineries.

But, their bottom line is correct:

…almost all of the price pressure on gasoline can now be attributed to America’s continuing — and increasing — inability to supply enough refined gasoline to the marketplace,” AAA said in a statement earlier this month.

Considering the fact that gasoline imports have filled a large part of our demand for years, this inability to supply enough of our demand has been around for quite a while.

8 thoughts on “AAA on Record Gas Prices”

  1. So, can we expect to see another inventory gain on gas this week? And how much would have to be gained to avoid a record low inventory situation on Memorial Day?

  2. EIA reporting a record too (at least in nominal terms). $3.103 vs previous high of $3.069 (Sept 2005). This is 15.6 cents higher than this time last year.

    EIA’s inflation adjusted high is $3.22 (March 1981).

  3. Robert, AAA can’t mention demand – they can’t criticize their members for driving more, because thats their raison d’être.

  4. Thanks to ftx for mentioning EIA’s price survey. For all others who might be interested in our price survey, it comes out between 4:00 and 5:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time every Monday, except when there is a U.S. Federal holiday on a Monday and then it comes out on Tuesday. It reports prices as of that same Monday. It is the closest to real-time survey that EIA does. It can be found at:

    Thanks to ftx for also pointing out EIA’s inflation-adjusted record (which is a monthly average, not a daily average like the retail price surveys). Data and charts on inflation-adjusted prices going back monthly to 1980 can be found at:

  5. AAA can’t mention demand – they can’t criticize their members for driving more, because thats their raison d’être.

    Good point.

    Cheers, RR

  6. Thanks to ftx for mentioning EIA’s price survey.

    Doug, last week you devoted considerable space in TWIP to discussing the gasoline situation. Does the new price record warrant any special attention this week?

    Also, do you wait until Wednesday to start writing the report, or do you have large parts done prior to the release of the numbers? Well, I guess you don’t have to wait until Wednesday, because I am sure you know the numbers before Wednesday morning.



  7. Robert,

    Ahh, now we’re at the point where you’re asking how I write TWIP!


    Actually, I wish I knew sometimes. As a write this comment, it’s Tuesday afternoon and I have NO idea what my hook or topic will be (although gasoline does seem to be an obvious choice, not every report can be on gasoline). Sometimes it is mostly written by Tuesday, but most of the time, not a word has been written until Wednesday morning, plus I have to wait until I write those pithy 4 paragraphs of text that gets released with the data at 10:30 am ET! Often, the issues that take the least amount of time seem to be the ones I like the best. Anyway, right now, I’m at a blank for what tomorrow’s edition will be.

    BTW, while I write the vast majority of them, I have some colleagues that pitch in every now and then, which I truly appreciate!

  8. Anyway, right now, I’m at a blank for what tomorrow’s edition will be.

    Well, you could always write about the blogger who had the amazing foresight months ago to start warning of potential record gasoline prices – based on his weekly reading of TWIP and the statistics you guys put out. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I have been telling people since about February that it looked like we may have a gasoline supply crunch brewing. I started to get that feeling during the winter when demand was at record high levels. Then, when inventories started to come down, they were coming down at a very fast rate.

    Cheers, Robert

    P.S. I think gasoline inventories climb tomorrow, but I suspect we are still going to be a deep hole come Memorial Day.

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