12/20/2012 9:30:00 AM Dropping... slowly: Gas price drop 'not enough' for many
Steve Kaine of Prescott Valley pumps gas at the Shell Station on Robert Road and Highway 69 Tuesday morning. Kaine said he saw $2.99 gas in Phoenix yesterday and he can afford to pump premium gas when prices drop like they have recently.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
Tony Lucarelli of Dewey-Humboldt said he fills up his Chevrolet Malibu only once a month, and noticed gas prices probably dropped 20 cents a gallon over the past month.
"I notice they go up and down, and that has more to do with the world (oil) market than anything else," Lucarelli, a U.S. Army veteran, mused before filling up his gas tank Tuesday afternoon with regular unleaded at the Shell convenience store off Robert Road and Highway 69. The convenience mart posted $3.14 per gallon for regular unleaded fuel Wednesday.
Across the highway at the Express Fuels, former Marine Dave Galbraith of Prescott Country Club acknowledged awareness of falling prices as he pumped regular unleaded into his Chevy pickup. The mini mart's listed price for regular unleaded was $3.13 per gallon Wednesday.
"I notice it is going down, but it is still not enough," Galbraith said, adding he wanted to see the price drop to $2.80 per gallon. "It's a Christmas wish."
Galbraith, Lucarelli and other consumers in the quad-city area and throughout Arizona are benefiting from a drop in fuel prices, which might be only temporary.
Arizonagasprices.com announced Wednesday that the lowest unleaded gas prices in the previous 36 hours in the quad-city area was $3.09 per gallon at Sam's Club off Highway 69 and Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott Valley at Costco on Highway 69 in Prescott and at Maverik at Glassford Hill Road and Lakeshore Drive. That contrasts with an average price of $3.14 per gallon a year earlier in Arizona.
Gas prices can change day to day, and several factors have contributed to recent price drops, according to Michelle Donati, a spokeswoman for AAA Arizona in Phoenix.
AAA Arizona announced average prices of $3.328 Thursday in the Prescott area, down 7.6 cents a gallon from the previous Thursday and 27.9 cents from a month earlier.
"Looking at 2012 as a whole, 2012 has been one of the most expensive years for fuel prices on record (in the) state and country," Donati said.
However, she said stabilization in crude oil prices in recent weeks, lower demand during the winter and the use of winter blends caused the recent drop in pump prices. Crude oil has been trading recently in the $80-a-barrel range, down from as high as $128 per barrel in 2008, she said.
The summer-blended fuel costs more in part because of higher standards that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets, Donati said.
"That is one of the reasons we see higher prices during the spring and summer," she said.
Pump prices are much higher in California, two recent transplants from Orange County, Calif., said Tuesday afternoon.
"The prices here are probably about 60 cents (a gallon) cheaper and are much more consistent," retired machinist Tom Townsen of Prescott said as he filled his Pontiac at the Circle K at Highway 69 and Robert Road. The mini mart's listed price for regular unleaded was $3.14 per gallon.
East of the Circle K on the highway at Navajo Drive, Don Archambault of Prescott Valley expressed appreciation for lower gas prices as he filled up his Corvette with a high-grade premium at the Texaco mart.
"The reason I come here is because it is top-tier gas," he said of the Texaco mart