Arizona gas prices on the rise once again: Here's what to know about its impact on everyone

Arizona's drivers are paying more for gas, once again, as the cost has fluctuated up and down in the last year or so.

Here's what you should know about this latest increase in gas prices.

How expensive is gas getting?

According to a statement released by AAA on May 16, the price for a gallon of regular is above $4 in all but three states: Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The national average for a gallon of regular, as of May 19, is $4.589.

In Arizona, the average price for a gallon of regular gas stands at $4.84 on May 19. A month ago, the average price was $4.57.

To put the gas prices in perspective, filling up a 15-gallon tank, using Arizona's average gas prices, would cost a driver around $73.

What is causing high gas prices?

Officials with AAA say the current increase in gas prices is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil. 

"Price of crude oil continues to go up, and that, unfortunately, [has] been putting more pressure on the market, and driving these prices up," said Aldo Vazquez with AAA.

Vazquez says there may be room for further increases.

"We’re making that switchover from winter to summer blend, which is a little bit pricier. About 7 to 10 cents more," said Vazquez. "That doesn’t fully finish 'till June, so we can expect prices to go up for that as well."

How are high gas prices affecting people?

Besides the usual "paying more to fill up a car," higher gas prices are having an impact on other things, like everyday items.

"It's not just what goes in the tank," said Kent Potter of Utah. "It's what I buy in the store."

High gas prices are also impacting delivery drivers. Melody Gluth's flower shop, Le Bouquet in Scottsdale, sends out flower deliveries every day. They are seeing the impact of higher gas prices.

"I had to change delivery charges. That’s the hardest part," said Gluth. "People understand it’s a service. You’re delivering for them, but they don’t always want to pay."

Higher gas prices are also affecting rideshare drivers who are trying to make a living, with many questioning how long they can keep driving if they are barely making a profit.

"It is ridiculous. We don't make any money," said one rideshare driver.

"the amount Uber and Lyft take and the cost of gas, it is hard to make a profit, and this is our livelihood," said another rideshare driver.

Drivers say even with Uber and Lyft paying drivers 55 cents per ride, it is not enough. On top of that, drivers are also dealing with the Arizona heat, which means they have to put on air conditioning.

What about businesses?

Like the average driver, businesses are also feeling the impact from this latest round of pain at the pump.

Eric Amadio opened Amadio's Ranch nine years ago. He sold a few fruits and vegetables at first but now, pies are his biggest seller. With the high gas prices, however, Amadio says there's no money in it now.

"We’re doing sales, but our costs are up so much that we’re not making anything," said Amadio.

The record-breaking diesel prices in the Phoenix area have an impact on Amadio's refrigerated trucks and equipment.

Amadio says he uses diesel to run his equipment.

"We do a lot of mobile markets. We go out to Ahwatukee, we go out to Queen Creek, Chandler. We go to Peoria. All over the place. Central Phoenix Farmers Market. These guys have to be on the road every weekend. We’re usually doing five events on a Saturday. They have to be out working, and they take a lot of diesel fuel to make it happen.

Amadio has had to raise prices twice already, and will likely have to do it again soon.

"No choice," said Amadio. "It's either that or die."

Are some gas stations taking advantage of the gas price increase?

Complaints to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures are also up, with accusations of gas stations allegedly looking to charge people extra on top of what they are already paying.

"We have seen a 30% increase since fuel prices started increasing significantly," said Kevin Allen with the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.

The department monitors fueling device complaints, make sure consumers are receiving the amount of fuel they are paying for, and make sure prices at gas stations are posted accurately.

During the department's investigation process over the past several months, they have found that 14% of them have been valid complaints, but they add the majority of these discrepencies are not because the retailer is trying to price gouge.

"Rarely with fuel pricing do we find that it is anything intentional," said Allen. "A lot of calibration errors we see are mechanical devices similar to an automobile. Over time, it has a malfunction or a part to break."

While officials say this is more rare, there are some things drivers can do to protect themselves.

"Pay attention to the signs. Pay attention to the info being presented to you. Make sure that info matches, that the street sign isn't lower. Pay attention to the pump when you start that transaction, so after you pay cash or insert credit card, make sure the pump starts on zero. It is supposed to start on zero," said Allen.

What are people saying about the prices?

Dulce Montane from Texas says of the gas prices, while laughing, "Oh, they are outrageous."

Martin Richardson, meanwhile, says he's not shocked by the costs.

"Not really surprised that the prices are where they are, and it is what it is," he said.


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