Gasoline prices are 25 cents a gallon more than last July Fourth, but drivers are still fired up about taking off for the long weekend, AAA Arizona reported Thursday.
Motorists in the south East Valley are paying $2.27 a gallon on average for regular, up nearly a nickel from the week before. Last year at this time the price was $2.02 a gallon. Scottsdale drivers are paying $2.31 a gallon, up nearly 3 cents from the week before. Last July Fourth, fueling up in that city cost $2.06 a gallon.
The same trend is visible statewide and nationally. The average price for regular unleaded self-serve gasoline in Arizona is $2.30 a gallon, up more than 4 cents from the week before, and whopping 30 cents higher than last year. The average price for the entire United States is $2.22 a gallon, up 4 cents from the previous week and 30 cents from last July 4.
Gas prices in Arizona have climbed nearly 15 percent in the past year. Even so, nearly 34 million people plan on driving to their Independence Day destination, an increase of 2.6 percent over the 33.1 million who vacationed by car last year.
"The economy is good and people are traveling in spite of high gas prices," said Yvette Lopez, the automobile club’s spokeswoman. "At $2.29 per gallon, the gas for a 1000-mile trip will cost $91, only $12 more than last year and $25 more than in 2003. No one stays home over $12."
Las Vegas, San Diego and Flagstaff are the top three drive destinations for Arizonans this weekend with gasoline prices averaging, $2.37, $2.51 and $2.37 per gallon, respectively, AAA said
The state’s wildfires may be harder to take than pump prices.
The Cave Creek Complex fire, burning north of the Valley and east of Interstate 17, could lead to road closures due to smoke. Motorists driving north to Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim should first log onto www.az511.com or call (877) 864-6985 to determine road conditions and closures, AAA said.
Crude oil prices fell by more than $1 a barrel Thursday, bringing the decline in crude futures to more than $4 a barrel over the past three days.
Brokers attributed the downward momentum to profit-taking at the end of second quarter, rising U.S. supplies of oil and related products and solid refinery output.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $1.21 to $56.05 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Nymex contract has been sliding since Monday’s record close of $60.54 a barrel.