It’s a so-so holiday season for motorists — much lower gasoline prices than two months ago but much higher prices than last year.
Arizona gas prices are virtually unchanged since last week at $2.23 a ga llon, AAA Arizona reported Thursday.
Last year at this time, it was $1.88.
Declining prices the past two months have been stopped by cold weather and its accompanying increase in crude oil prices, the automobile club said.
Prices have plummeted 91 cents since they peaked at $3.13 after Hurricane Katrina.
In the East Valley, the average price is $2.14 a gallon, 25 cents more than last year. In Scottsdale, drivers are paying $2.22 a gallon, 29 cents more than last holiday season. Nationally, regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $2.21 per gallon, an increase of nearly 2 cents since last week and only 2 cents below Arizona’s price.
The normal spread between the two prices is closer to 10 cents. The club expects the national average to drop over the coming days as the weather in the Northeast moderates, the demand for heating oil decreases and the price of crude oil goes down. AAA says 51.5 million Americans are expected to drive to their holiday destination. The cheapest gasoline in the continental United States is in Utah, where unleaded regular is $2.03 per gallon. New York is the most expensive place to gas up, at $2.40.
In spite of sharp increases in gasoline prices, airfares and hotel rates, AAA estimates that more people will travel this holiday than last year.