It’s summer and Arizona gas prices sizzle to third-highest in country

May 14, 2023, 6:30 AM

(Photo by Alexandra Aley/Cronkite News)...

(Photo by Alexandra Aley/Cronkite News)

(Photo by Alexandra Aley/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – If you thought the jump in gas prices this spring was bad, just wait until your summer vacation days. The pumps are coming for your bank accounts – perhaps putting that road trip to Disneyland on pause.

Arizona’s average price for regular gas has been third-highest in the country for at least the last month, trailing only California and Hawaii, data from the AAA gas calculator shows.

While the current average price of $4.68 for a gallon of regular in Arizona is a welcome break from the all-time high of $5.38 that was recorded in the state last summer, it’s still $1.14 more than the national average of $3.54 as of Thursday, the calculator shows. Summer is headed our way. Are we going to have to switch to biking and scootering around the city? Maybe dust off the rollerblades sitting in the garage?

Here’s the why and the what of gas prices:

Spring maintenance for refineries, oil supplies is to blame

Julian Paredes, a spokesperson for AAA Mountain West, said that the biggest driver of gas prices increasing is the fact that two refineries in New Mexico and Texas both went down for spring maintenance, hurting the supply that goes to Arizona. He added that this can happen every few years, but it is pretty rare that both refineries go down for maintenance at the same time. “That really hurt the supply side regionally,” he said.

But it is not just the refineries to blame. Another factor affecting supply is the oil market. OPEC, a group of the top producing oil companies in the world, recently cut the supply of oil, raising prices around the world. “Between those two things, the Arizona gas market was hit really hard,” Paredes said.

Big cities mean big costs for motorists

While prices are high across the state, Maricopa and Pima County are more impacted than others.

“Maricopa County gets its gas from California, so the prices are usually higher in Phoenix,” Paredes explained. Pima County, on the other hand, gets its gas from Texas, making the prices “traditionally a lot cheaper.” But due to the refinery issues, “gas prices in Maricopa County and Pima County are almost identical, so that’s probably a big shock to people in Pima County.”

Prices might, just might, drop

Paredes said there is some good news: “The national gas prices have actually been going down for about a week … and the oil market has actually stabilized recently.”

He said that if everything goes as planned and the refineries do come back, typically before Memorial Day, the oil market and gas market in Arizona could “go down or at least settle down.”

But don’t get your hopes up.

“It’s really hard to say because typically summers are when demand for gas goes up anyway,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Brandon Gray

Phoenix Water Services Department offers incentives for water conservation

The Phoenix Water Services Department is introducing new financial incentives for residents to promote sustainable water use and conservation.

3 hours ago


Brandon Gray

HUD awards ASU $3M grant for Arizona Research Center for Housing Equity and Sustainability

Arizona State University was chosen as one of four Hispanic Servicing institutions to receive a grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development for research centers.

3 hours ago

An artist's rendering of The Parque, which is a proposed mixed-use project at the former CrackerJax...

Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Billion-dollar CrackerJax redevelopment project gets first approval in Scottsdale

The next billion-dollar development project in north Scottsdale took another step toward reality on Wednesday.

4 hours ago

Kathleen Allen lifts light weights during an exercise activity at the FSL ReCreación Center on Sep...

Angelina Steel/Cronkite News

A national caregiver shortage strains organizations and families across the Valley

The Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) ReCreación Center provides full-time care for Kathleen five days a week.

4 hours ago

Downtown Phoenix skyline...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 30-Oct. 1

In case you missed it. Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

14 hours ago

A damaged saguaro cactus stands with a recently fallen arm resting on the sidewalk on Aug. 2, 2023,...

Associated Press

Arizona’s biggest city has driest monsoon season since weather service began record-keeping in 1895

After a summer of extreme heat, Arizona’s most populous city is in the record books again. This time Phoenix is notching a record for dry heat.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

It’s summer and Arizona gas prices sizzle to third-highest in country