Changeover to winter-blend gasoline could lead to gas prices below $2

Hamilton, NJ – Even though temperatures are chillier this week and school is now underway,  not everyone is ready to think about “winter” in September - unless you enjoy paying even less at the gas pump.

“Beginning today, winter-blend gasoline is available at most gas pumps across the country and the savings refineries receive from producing it may help send already low gas prices below $2 a gallon,” says Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasoline has to do with Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline (higher RVP), the easier it evaporates. Winter-blend fuel has a higher RVP because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. Winter-blend is also easier to produce and refineries often pass their production savings on to consumers. Summer-blend has a lower RVP to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise, which decreases emissions that can contribute to unhealthy ozone levels.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 
9/16/15
Week Ago
Year Ago
National
$2.31 $2.38
$3.38
New Jersey
$2.06
$2.13
$3.24
Trenton
$2.11
$2.19
$3.27
Cape May County
$2.11
$2.18
$3.23
Burlington
$1.99
$2.05
$3.21
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
$2.06
$2.13
$3.24
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$2.08
$2.15
$3.24
 
   
 

The switch between the two fuels happens twice a year, once in the fall (to winter-blend) and again in the spring (to summer-blend). The changeover requires significant work at refineries, so oil companies schedule their maintenance for those times when they will already be “down” for the blend switches.

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel: