Enjoy While You Can, Gas Prices Dropping


Prices at the pump have headed down for the ninth consecutive week, AAA Arizona reported on July 26.

Payson drivers are currently paying between $2.82 9/10 at Safeway with a fuel discount, and $2.89 9/10 at Chevron, for regular gasoline.

Local fuel prices plus 9/10 of a centTexaco $2.83 $3.05Circle K North $2.83Maverik $2.83 $3.08Express Stop $2.83One Stop $2.83Whiting $2.83 $2.93Mobil at Casino $2.95 $3.15Circle K South $2.83Safeway $2.85 $3.05Giant $2.83Chevron $2.89 $3.09Circle K, Star Valley $2.83Uncle Tom's, Pine $2.85 $3.15Taylor's Pine Service $2.85 $3.05

Cities in the East Valley metro area have the lowest gas prices, at $2.74 per gallon.

"When supply is tight, more fuel is produced and made available to the most populated parts of the state. As a result, there is less fuel produced and supplied to outlying areas of the state," AAA reports.

Current Payson gas prices are approximately 20 cents lower than Flagstaff.

AAA reports the retail margin on a gallon of gas is 7.5 percent. Taxes are more than double that amount at 16.8 percent. Refining and distribution costs make up 11.2 percent of the tally. The remaining 64.5 percent or $1.82 is the cost of the crude oil.

The nine-week decrease in prices since May 24 might make drivers happy, but to add perspective, prices have jumped about a dollar from nearly four years ago.

In mid-August 2003, when a Kinder Morgan Energy pipeline between Phoenix and Tucson shut down, pump prices in Payson ranged from $1.75 to $1.85 for regular gasoline.

Even though Arizona's summer fuel is a boutique, pollution-reducing blend that costs more to produce, gas prices in the state are 10 - 18 cents under the national average.

Demand for gas is up a single percentage point from one year ago, AAA officials said.

The Arizona Department of Commerce does not expect petroleum prices to rise, "much beyond" the present range, yet it predicts gasoline will rise to "$3.11 in August," generally a good month for tourism.

The AAA Fuel Cost Calculator at www.fuelcostcalculator.com estimates the cost of gas on your trip based on starting point, destination and the make model and year of your vehicle. The calculator factors in regional gasoline averages such as $3.04 in the Pacific Coast region and $2.94 in New England.

Arizonans consume approximately 2.6 billion gallons of fuel per year.

Consumers cannot help lower gasoline prices by obeying Internet e-mails to not buy gas on a particular day.

Reducing demand is the main option for consumers who wish to lower gas prices.

Part of that reduction can include proper vehicle maintenance.

Tech-Net's Car Care Council had these tips:

  • Loose gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
  • Underinflated tires can cost a mile or two per gallon.
  • Dirty spark plugs cause misfiring, which wastes fuel.
  • An air filter clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off air and creates a rich gas mixture. This in turn causes the engine to lose power. Replacing the air filter on a vehicle can improve mileage as much as 10 percent.

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