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Arizona gas prices tick down in time for Memorial Day travel

PHOENIX – After sharply rising last month, Arizona gas prices have settled just in time for Memorial Day weekend road trips.

“The statewide average is about seven cents a gallon higher than it was last year, but we’re starting to move in the right direction,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

“Statewide average is down about 3½ cents a gallon in the last week. Prices in Phoenix are taking a little bit longer. They’re only down about a penny in the last week.”

The average price for a gallon of regular was $3.14 in Arizona on Friday, $3.18 for the Phoenix area, according to AAA.

Arizona’s average was the ninth highest in the nation. The national average was $2.85.

From mid-March to mid-April, Arizona prices shot up more than 40 cents a gallon.

DeHaan said it appears the season’s highest prices are behind us.

“I think that barring any one these out-of-left-field problems that flare up, I think we have peaked for the year,” he said.

AAA Arizona spokeswoman Michelle Donati said gas prices won’t keep the state’s residents from traveling in near-record numbers this weekend.

“According to our first travel forecast of the summer, more than 877,000 Arizonans are projecting to travel over the three-day weekend,” Donati told KTAR News on Thursday.

“That’s an increase of 4% from last year and the highest forecast that we’ve seen since 2005.”

Donati said a strong economy is a reason people are traveling despite the high gas prices, although they may be taking shorter trips, eating out less and looking for free activities.

And other travel-related expenses have gone down since last year, she said.

“If you look at the price of car-rental rates, those are down by about 7%,” she said.

“Hotel costs are down between 2% and 3% depending on the type of hotel you are staying in. And then airfares are holding steady.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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