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AAA: No $5 Gas This Summer

The company dispels common "gas myths."

In a recent press release from the AAA Mid-Atlantic Office, based out of Philadelphia, the company takes down a number of "myths" surrounding gas prices, including the idea that prices will hit $5 a gallon this summer.

Check Bryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch's Traffic & Gas section for local traffic conditions and gas prices.

The release waxes scientific, satirical, and even a bit political at times, but offers deconstructions of what it calls the most common public myths.

A clip from the release here:

“Consumers are desperate, they will try anything and do anything to try to save money, including falling for the latest rumors and myths,” said Jenny M. Robinson, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “They range from 'it is more fuel-efficient to turn off the car's air conditioner (false),' to 'buying gasoline in the morning, when the air is cool, rather than in the heat of the day' will save you more (false), to keeping your tires properly inflated will enhance your fuel economy (true, by up to 3.3 percent).”

The press release than moves on to tackle "myths" one-by-one:

Gas prices will hit $5 a gallon this summer.

False. No way. No how. Unless Israel and the United States strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and then that's the doomsday scenario… AAA and OPIS gas guru, Tom Kloza, continue to believe U.S. gasoline gas prices will average $3.75-$4.25 per gallon this spring. On the other hand, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) now expects the “monthly average regular-grade gasoline retail price to peak in May at $3.96 per gallon."

Pump Prices Will Continue To Rise Because of the forces of Supply And Demand.

False. As proof, consumer demand for motor fuels in the United States fell to a ten-year low in February, signaling “demand destruction” will continue. The ancient theory of supply and demand will reign supreme at the gas kiosk and that means “the greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price will be.”

Gas station owners and operators are making a killing at the gas pump.

False. Average Joe Gas Station Owner makes more money selling snacks, sandwiches, and soda pop than he does selling a gallon of gas. As one service station manager recently told a reporter, “Where we used to make 14 or 15 cents, some of us are down to 4 or 5 cents a gallon right now.”

Refinery closures on the East Coast will have little impact on what we pay for gas and diesel fuel this spring.

False. The retail price of gasoline is more expensive on the East Coast this year and one big reason for that is the shutdown of refineries in the region.  It’s “Lord have mercy on us” if the Sunoco refinery in South Philadelphia closes in July. It’s the “big enchilada,” producing a fourth - 24 percent - of the refining capacity on the East Coast.

A Whole Lot Of Speculating Is Going On/Speculators are driving up gas prices.

True. Gasoline prices have risen more than 50 cents a gallon since the beginning of the year. Once again, many people are pointing the finger of blame at a nebulous coterie of Wall Street investors and “noncommercial traders” at the NYMEX known as “speculators,” who continue to have an outsize impact on prices in the oil and gas markets. Back in July 2008, crude oil futures soared to a record high of $147 a barrel. Prices doubled from a low of $69 a barrel some three months earlier.

The USA imports more oil than its exports.

False. On an annual basis, the country exported more crude products during 2011 than it imported. That’s the first time it’s happened in six decades.

OPEC has the United States over a barrel, of oil, that is.

False. While Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, nearly half – 49 percent - of U.S. crude oil and petroleum products imports came from the Western Hemisphere, primarily Canada (number one), Mexico (number three), Venezuela (number four), rounding out fifth place was Nigeria, and then Columbia.

Old habits die hard, but I can save gas money if I change the way I drive.

True. One of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve fuel is to change driving styles. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

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