Arizona gas prices decline at slower rate than country

December 6, 2018

Crude oil fell to its lowest price in 2018 last week, but Lake Havasu City residents haven’t felt less of a burden at the pump.

The cost of crude oil weighs heavily in the price of gasoline, according to American Automotive Association spokeswoman Michelle Donati. But despite a low of $50 per barrel, Western states are still paying more for gas than other regions of the country.

“The entire West is home to the highest fuel prices in the country,” Donati said. “While the prices in Arizona are moving lower, it’s not happening quite as quickly as the rest of the country.”

The average cost of gasoline in Arizona was $2.78 per gallon on Tuesday — its lowest price since April, according to fuel-cost database Gasbuddy.com. But that average is still 41 cents higher than prices last year.

“There are a lot of factors at play,” Donati said. “The price of crude oil and geopolitical factors can affect the price of gasoline, and hurricane season can affect summer prices. But even the threat of a hike in crude oil prices, or the threat of a hurricane, could result in a spike in gasoline prices.”

According to Donati, much of the reason for high gas prices comes from supply and demand. Demand has traditionally been highest during summer months, and lowest during cooler seasons. For the past several years, however, that hasn’t happened.

“It’s a situation where the inventory has dropped, but the demand remains strong,” Donati said.

The Lake Havasu City and Kingman metropolitan areas maintained the highest gas prices in the state earlier this year, due to factors including the fact there are fewer gas stations in such rural areas, resulting in less competition and less incentive to keep prices low among local stations. Other factors in Havasu’s high gas prices include the city’s lack of proximity to a pipeline distribution point, unlike Phoenix and Tucson.

Lake Havasu City’s lowest gas price on Tuesday was $2.79, about 35 cents higher than the national average.

“The prices in Havasu are still better than in California, but they’re not as good as in Bullhead City,” said Havasu resident Tim Van Houten on Tuesday. “It’s frustrating at times … we see the price of gas per-barrel come down, but it doesn’t seem like that savings is being transferred to consumers in Havasu.”

Brothers Tony Veramontes and Raul Veramontes purchased only a few gallons of fuel Tuesday at an Acoma Boulevard gas station.

“I can’t fill my truck up,” Tony said. “It would cost about $70. The only reason the price is high is because rich people also live here. We’re paying 30 cents more than the rest of the state … but it’s still better than prices in California.”

According to Gasbuddy.com, the average price of gasoline in California was about $3.51 per gallon.

“The price of oil is supposed to go down,” Raul said. “But it’s the same price. I don’t understand. It sucks, especially if you live on a fixed income.”

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