Arizonans Spent 9 Percent of Income on Fuel in March

Phoenix, Ariz., April 5, 2012. While state and nationwide fuel averages appear to be reaching a plateau, motorists across the country are still facing pump prices near $4. Statewide, prices dropped nearly a penny this week to $3.890 per gallon. Nationally, prices increased 1.5 cents to an average of $3.936 per gallon.
The percentage of income that the average Arizona household spends on gasoline surged to 9 percent in March, according to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). This marks the fifth highest single most expensive month since OPIS began tracking the data in 2000. The last time fuel spending totaled 9 percent of Arizona household budgets was May 2008, the same record-setting year Arizona hit its all-time fuel price high.
As fuel budgets stretch, consumers seeking respite are turning to action. One such effort that has gained traction is the “April 15 Gas Boycott.” Circulated via email and social networking sites, the effort claims that a similar endeavor took place in 1997 and reduced fuel prices by 30 cents per gallon overnight. However, it is important to note that this claim is unfounded and overall effort is an urban legend that often surfaces during times of high gas prices.
“With a claim of a 30 cent price drop overnight, it’s easy to understand why drivers support movements such as a gas boycott,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “Unfortunately, such efforts are not proven to be effective, as participating consumers who opt not to fill up on the agreed upon day will fill up before and resume normal commuting activities immediately after.”
Motorists who wish to combat the dent that gas prices are making on their budgets should be mindful of their driving habits and what’s happening under their hood. Aggressive driving can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent, while fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve mileage by an average of 4 percent. AAA also encourages motorists to use free price finding tools to help locate the cheapest gas near them:

Tucson and Scottsdale hold the low and high state fuel averages at $3.725 and $3.991 respectively. Wyoming and California hold the low and high price extremes for the lower 48 states at $3.589 and $4.290, respectively.

City Today’s Price Change from Last Week Premium Diesel Last Year’s Price
East Valley (Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Queen Creek) $3.901 -3.3 $4.157 $4.152 $3.575
Flagstaff $3.978 +2.5 $4.189 $4.325 $3.678
Glendale $3.892 -3.1 $4.166 $4.168 $3.565
Peoria $3.887 -3.1 $4.140 $4.218 $3.538
Phoenix (city) 3.899 -2.6 $4.159 $4.173 $3.576
Pima County $3.740 -0.2 $3.950 $4.257 $3.404
Prescott (Tri-Cities) $3.888 +2.0 $4.103 $4.245 $3.554
Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Fountain Hills) $3.991 +0.1 $4.257 $4.242 $3.678
Tucson $3.725 -0.4 $3.938 $4.244 $3.392
Yuma $3.970 +0.6 $4.155 $4.187 $3.685
Statewide $3.890 -0.9 $4.125 $4.225 $3.596
National $3.936 +1.5 $4.200 $4.166 $3.707
E-85 $3.345 +3.2 - - $3.119
*E85 MPG/BTU adjusted price $4.403 +4.3 - - $4.104

*The BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is the nationwide average price of E-85 adjusted to reflect the lower energy content as expressed in British Thermal Units. The BTU-adjusted price is calculated and displayed as part of AAA's Fuel Gauge Report because according to the Energy Information Administration, E-85 delivers approximately 25 percent fewer BTUs by volume than conventional gasoline. Because "flexible fuel" vehicles can operate on conventional fuel and E-85, the BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is essential to understanding the cost implications of each fuel choice for consumers.
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report includes data from gasoline stations in every Arizona community. Local prices in some communities might be higher or lower than the averages shown here. This service is updated daily by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) with average national, state and local prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day more than 100,000 stations are surveyed in cooperation with Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability.