PHOENIX, Arizona — Pain at the pump seems to be punishing the Grand Canyon State.
The national average for a gallon of regular on Friday was $3.63, while in Arizona it was $1 more, at $4.70, according to daily numbers released by AAA. In the Phoenix metro area, the average is only $5 a gallon.
“Before, it would have cost us maybe $80 to fill it up, and now it’s almost double that,” Phoenix driver John Baker told CBS News.
Baker said his family is moving elsewhere, fearing $5 gas may be here.
“We don’t really go out nearly as much as we used to,” Baker said. “We used to go to the movies as a family on weekends. Now we just stick to the swimming pool.”
In Tucson, two hours south of Phoenix, gas prices have risen more than 80 cents a gallon in the past month, now averaging $4.73 a gallon.
Experts say that rapid spikes in volume are bad timing.
“They get their gas primarily from a refinery in El Paso,” AAA national spokesman Andrew Gross said. “That refinery is down for maintenance. So, they have to bring more expensive gas from other places.”
It comes as refineries switch to more expensive summer blends OPEC cuts oil production Globally this peaks in driver fuel demand during the summer months.
Although still expensive, AAA predicts that the rest of the U.S. won’t see prices rise as much as last summer’s record highs.
“For the national average, I don’t think we’ll see it reach $4 (per gallon),” Gross said.
But for Arizona drivers, $4 a gallon will be a summer dream come true.
Chris Van Cleve