AAA: Gas Prices in 2012 Most Expensive Year on Record

The national average price of gasoline in 2012 was $3.60 a gallon, which is the most expensive annual average on record. The previous annual record was $3.51 a gallon set in 2011, while the third most expensive year for gas prices was 2008, when the average was $3.25 a gallon.

“Record high gas prices have made this the most expensive year yet for motorists,” said Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Factors as volatile as major hurricanes, refinery outages and tension in the Middle East resulted in significant frustration for people filling up their cars.”

The national average has broken a daily record high for 134 consecutive days for a total a 248 days in 2012. Motorists paid record-high gas prices on 68 percent of the days during the year.

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The highest daily national average of the year was $3.94 a gallon on April 5 and 6, while the lowest daily national average was $3.22 a gallon on Dec. 20.

The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), Calif. ($4.03), N.Y. ($3.90) and Conn. ($3.90). The states with the cheapest annual averages included S.C. ($3.35), Mo. ($3.38), Miss. ($3.39), Tenn. ($3.40) and Okla. ($3.41).

The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.

The daily average for regular gasoline dropped below $3.00 per gallon in only eight states at some point during the year, while daily averages increased above $4.00 per gallon in 11 states (and Washington D.C.) at some point.

December Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Average of the Year

• Gas prices averaged $3.30 a gallon nationally in December, which was the lowest monthly average of the year.

• The national average declined 11 cents per gallon (3.25 percent) in December and declined on 22 days during the month.

• Gas prices nationally have fallen nearly 58 cents a gallon (14.96 percent) on average since September 14, the day before much of the United States began the transition to winter-blend gasoline. Gas prices have dropped as a result of decreased demand, increased supplies and the switchover to less expensive winter-blend fuels.

Fiscal Cliff Adding Uncertainty to Gas Prices in 2013

• Although a fiscal cliff deal has been passed, predictions about gas prices in 2013 remain very uncertain.

• AAA predicts that gas prices in 2013 will remain high, but are likely to be cheaper than in 2012 due to increased domestic crude oil production and that demand is expected to remain lower than in recent years.

• “What happens with gas prices this year will be impacted by decisions in Washington this month,” continued Robinson. “AAA is optimistic that gas prices will be less expensive than in 2013.”

Gas Prices on Jan. 2, 2013

• The national average price of gasoline is $3.29 per gallon, which is 4.4 cents more than a week ago and 1.2 cents more than a year ago.

• The five states with the highest prices include: Hawaii ($3.99), N.Y. ($3.74), Conn. ($3.68), Calif. ($3.57) and Vt. ($3.55). The five states with the lowest prices include: Wyo. ($2.98), Colo. ($2.99), Utah ($2.99), Okla. ($3.01), and Mo. ($3.02).

AAA’s average gas prices are updated daily at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com with average national, state and local retail prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.

AAA Mid-Atlantic serves 700,000 members in the Philadelphia (5-county) region and nearly four million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with personal insurance, financial, automotive and travel services through 63 retail branches, regional operations centers and the internet, at www.aaa.com/community.