Average US pump prices poised to decline in 2014, AAA says

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

Drivers in the U.S. will probably pay an average of 5 cents a gallon less in 2014 than this year as refineries produce more fuel, AAA said.

The price of regular gasoline averaged $3.49 a gallon this year, making 2013 the least expensive year to fill up since 2010, according to Heathrow, Fla.-based AAA, the nation's largest motoring club. Prices in 2012 averaged a record $3.60 a gallon and $3.51 in 2011.

U.S. gasoline production jumped 4.3 percent to 9.72 million barrels a day in the week ended Dec. 20, the most in data going back to 1982, the Energy Information Administration reported on Friday. Refiners have ramped up operations to benefit from a flood of less-expensive domestic crude oil as U.S. output reached the highest level in 25 years.

"Our hope is that prices will continue to fall as cars grow increasingly fuel efficient and refineries expand production to take advantage of the recent boom in North American crude oil," Avery Ash, a spokesman for AAA in Washington, said in a statement.

The cheapest gasoline in 2013 was in South Carolina, where drivers paid an average of $3.24. The highest prices were in the continental U.S. were in California at $3.89 a gallon.

The highest national average this year was $3.79 on Feb. 26. The lowest was $3.18 on Nov. 11. Twelve states dropped below $3 per gallon at some point during the year and rose above $4 in 13 states. Wyoming saw the lowest one-day level in the country during the year, reaching $2.80 on Jan. 21.

Tuesday's national average of $3.32 is the highest ever for New Year's Eve, the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking prices heading into the New Year, said Michael Green, a spokesman in Washington for AAA, in a telephone interview. Retail costs have risen for 12 straight days to the most since Oct. 23.