Report: Arizona gas prices remain at all-time high
By Alexia Mancia | Special to the Digital Free Press
Long lines filled the Phoenix metropolitan QuikTrip with Hondas, Toyotas, SUVs and pick-up trucks as motorists await their turn at the pump to get their daily fill of gasoline.
According to Triple AAA, Phoenix gas prices are 0.78 cents higher than the same time period a year ago.
However, the national average price for gas is $3.78, but Arizona’s average gasoline is still at an all-time high of $4.25. Refinery issues on the West Coast, experts say, have led to the recent surge in prices in the Phoenix area.
“It is almost like a Murphy’s Law situation where both these planned and unplanned maintenances to these refineries shut a larger than expected amount of refineries down, so that is what led to gas prices spiking throughout the region,” said Julian Paredes, a spokesperson for Triple AAA.
With gas prices at their peak, it has led to residents budgeting expenses and using other methods of transportation.
The Phoenix area gets its gas supply from refineries in California, but with recent complications, West Coast states see gas prices trend upward, unlike the national average, which is trending downward.
“Every three to five years, refineries have to go through regular maintenance that are scheduled but some refineries in California at the same time also had to go through emergency repairs that were unexpected and not planned,” Mr. Paredes said.
Money moves in response to gas prices
According to Triple AAA, the current average price for regular gasoline is $4.25, mid-grade is $4.54, premium is $4.82, and diesel is $5.13.
The highest prices Arizona saw this year were $5.39 for regular and $5.94 for diesel.
“The demand for gas is trending downward recently so that tells you drivers don’t have much of an appetite for gas prices right now,” Mr. Paredes pointed out.
Global supply is limited after, earlier this year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries opted to slow oil production by two million barrels a day.
Efren Ontiveros, a Phoenix motorist, said, “Gas prices are at an all-time high right now.”
With the price of gas being high, drivers are having to make tough choices.
Jethzly Navarro, an Arizona State University student, said she is not going home to visit her family as often because of the price of gas.
Some residents had to start budgeting their money wisely.
“I budget my money for gas almost every week; right now, my truck takes almost $100 to fill up,” Mr. Ontiveros said. “There are only two places I usually go to fill up gas, and that’s QuickTrip or Chevron because they’re the cheapest.”
Phoenix residents had to quickly adapt to the unaffordable prices of gasoline which led to using other methods of transportation.
“I am avoiding using Uber and started taking the ASU shuttles between campuses to save money on gas,” Ms. Navarro said.
To help reduce gas prices regionally, Mr. Paredes said, “A lot of people picked up good habits over the summer when gas prices peaked, things like inflating tires and sticking to the speed limit really help mitigate the increase in gas prices.”
And with the holiday season right around the corner, officials believe gas prices are unpredictable.
“Triple AAA wants people to know that gas prices will likely fluctuate throughout the next few weeks because of international supply and possible rise in demand because of the holidays,” Mr. Paredes said.
Editor’s note: Ms. Mancia is a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.