March Madness: Pump Prices Politicized, Fuel Flirts with $4

NOTE: AAA Fuel Gauge data should include attribution to AAA.

Phoenix, Ariz., March 15, 2012. Pump prices across the state and country continued to advance this week. Statewide, prices continued their cadence, increasing 4.2 cents to $3.869 per gallon. This is up 41 cents from last month and nearly 36 cents higher than last year. Nationally, prices increased 6.3 cents to an average of $3.821, up 31 cents from last month and nearly 27 cents higher than last year.
This week, pump prices perpetuated political discourse. In a speech today, the President defended his energy policy which includes alternate forms of energy such as wind and solar power. In addition, Republican candidates continued to contend gas prices on the campaign trail.
“The topic of fuel is often politicized during times of high prices, especially in an election year. But if fuel prices were purely based on political parties, and if President Obama were solely to blame for current fuel prices, then President Bush would also be responsible for $4 gas in 2008,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “There are more factors involved in pump prices than the Presidency, and until we have a comprehensive energy solution in place, gas prices will continue to be dictated by oil prices driven by increasing global demand and volatility.”
Tucson and Scottsdale hold the low and high state fuel averages at $3.690 and $3.957 respectively. Wyoming and California hold the low and high price extremes for the lower 48 states at $3.377 and $4.362, respectively. Currently, six states including the District of Columbia hold averages at or above $4 per gallon.

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) $3.913 +3.3 $4.161 $4.174 $3.510
Flagstaff $3.902 +7.5 $4.129 $4.290 $3.603
Glendale $3.903 +2.7 $4.164 $4.197 $3.525
Peoria $3.901 +3.8 $4.148 $4.167 $3.490
Phoenix (city) $3.911 +3.5 $4.155 $4.185 $3.522
Pima County $3.706 +3.7 $3.911 $4.179 $3.339
Prescott (Tri-Cities) $3.814 +3.3 $4.035 $4.195 $3.501
Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Fountain Hills) $3.957 +2.5 $4.225 $4.241 $3.612
Tucson $3.690 +3.3 $3.906 $4.168 $3.328
Yuma $3.921 +5.0 $4.119 $4.166 $3.668
Statewide $3.869 +4.2 $4.107 $4.206 $3.512
National $3.821 +6.3 $4.096 $4.122 $3.553
E-85 $3.262 +4.4 - - $2.995
*E85 MPG/BTU adjusted price $4.292 +5.8 - - $3.942

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

*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.