Drivers see higher gas prices in Pima County vs. other places in Southern Arizona

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 6:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Sticker shock at the pump is leaving drivers with a lot of questions as to why they’re paying more for gas in certain parts of Southern Arizona.

The entire state is feeling pain at the pump, but it’s not shared equally.

On Friday, the average price of unleaded gas per gallon in Arizona sat at $4.54, which has gone up 60 cents in four weeks. Tucson’s average sat at $4.46, but both are way above the national average of $3.66.

There’s a lot of variation on the local level. For example, Sierra Vista’s gas sat at $3.95 on Friday.

The prices you see at the pump are spiking for several reasons. A lot of it leads back to what’s happening in other states and an increase in demand.

″It affects everything. That takes money away from you and your groceries and everything else that you do on your day-to-day life,” said Evelyn Vazquez, who drives all around town for her work.

The rise in price across the country leads back to a global cut in oil, which increased the price of fuel.

In Arizona, we typically get our gas from Texas and New Mexico. Julian Paredes with AAA says that’s where the problem lies.

He said ″Some refineries in both of those states went down for maintenance, so that hurt the local supply. Normally, California would pick up the slack, but they’ve been hit by a lot of storms, so there’s a lot of pressure that’s building up the prices right now.”

Across Southern Arizona, there’s a drastic difference in what drivers are paying. In Pima County, and specifically Tucson, you may be paying 50 cents more per gallon than you would if you went to a different gas station about an hour away.

″Tucson and Pima County just happen to be the biggest consumer of gas in those areas, so whatever happens to those areas is going to have the most pronounced effect in Pima County,” Paredes explained.

Drivers may be dishing out more cash at the pump for a while. According to AAA, we’ve seen the brunt of the increases, but the future doesn’t look bright.

″It’s impossible to say exactly where gas prices are going to go, but right now it’s not looking great. There’s not a whole lot of reason to believe that gas prices will be going down soon,” he stated.

Soon, companies will be making the switch to the summer blend of gasoline, which is more expensive. Demand for gas also tends to go up in the summer, so prices are expected to stay at this level for the foreseeable future.