Let's Get Political: Pump Prices Fuel Election Day Debates


Phoenix, Oct. 11, 2012. As vice presidential candidates prepare for tonight’s debate, fuel prices continue to be politicized as Election Day nears. This week, Arizona’s average rose 3.4 cents to $3.716 per gallon, while the national average climbed 2.9 cents to $3.813 per gallon.


Motorists across the state and country have grown accustomed to seeing higher pump prices this year. In fact, the statewide fuel average has spent 175 days – or 61.6 percent of the year so far – above the $3.50 mark. As a result, pump prices have been a hot topic this election season – and will likely be a point of discussion during tonight’s debate.


“As an advocacy organization representing the motoring public, AAA understands high gas prices are an important issue to voters in the upcoming election,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “However, it’s important to remember there are more factors involved in fuel prices than the presidency. No matter the party in office, the price of fuel will remain volatile until a comprehensive energy solution is in place.”    


With 26 days remaining until Election Day, AAA recently analyzed state fuel data from January 1 to Election Day for the previous two presidential elections to see how it compares to prices this year:

  •  In 2004, Arizonans paid an average of $1.93 per gallon.
  •  In 2008, the state average increased by $1.50 to $3.43 per gallon.
  •  To date, Arizonans have paid an average fuel price of $3.61 in 2012.

“AAA expects the state and nationwide fuel prices to recede before Election Day, barring unforeseen circumstances,” Gorman said. “However, we also anticipate that Election Day pump prices will be the highest on record for any presidential election year.”

Tucson and Flagstaff hold the low and high state fuel averages at $3.495 and $3.884 per gallon, respectively. South Carolina holds the lowest average price for the lower 48 states at $3.511 per gallon, while California holds the highest average price at $4.659 per gallon.


Today’s Price

Change from last week



Last Year’s Price

East Valley
(Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Queen Creek)
























Phoenix (city)






Pima County












(Scottsdale, Fountain Hills)




































*E85 MPG/BTU adjusted price








As an advocacy organization representing the motoring public, AAA offers a variety of free resources to help motorists keep fuel budgets in check, including: 


*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 about 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.