According to AAA Arizona, Phoenix area gas prices are 78 cents higher than they were a year ago.
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 led to the recent surge in prices in the Phoenix area.
Julian Paredes, a spokesperson for AAA said, “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.”
With gas prices at their peak, it has led to residents budgeting their 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,” Paredes said.
According to 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,” Paredes said.
Global supply is limited after OPEC, an oil producer, decided to cut its oil production by two million barrels a day.
With the price of gas being high, drivers are having to make tough choices.
ASU student Jethzly Navarro said she is not going home to visit her family as often because of the price of gasoline.
Some residents had to start wisely budgeting their money.
“I budget my money for gas almost every week, right now, my truck takes almost $100 to fill up,” said Efren Ontiveros, a Phoenix motorist. “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,” Navarro said.
To help reduce gas prices regionally, 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 here, officials believe gas prices will most likely fluctuate.
“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,” Paredes said.