Gas prices continue to tumble around the East Valley and around the nation despite crude prices that have edged close to $80 a barrel.
Drivers who filled up Thursday in Scottsdale paid the highest tab in the Valley at an average $2.77 per gallon.
But that’s still nearly 6 cents less than a week earlier and a whopping 20 cents below the average price a year ago.
In the south East Valley, a gallon of regular could be had Thursday for an average $2.68, the cheapest price in the state.
“It’s an anomaly,” said Linda Gorman, AAA Arizona spokeswoman.
“When crude prices go up, gas prices usually follow.”
But Gorman said a set of circumstances has left crude prices artificially high even though demand is stagnant.
Crude-oil investors are still betting on a bad hurricane season to keep prices high, but it hasn’t happened so far, she said.
And the batch of refinery problems that kept the overall gas supply low and pushed up pump prices in the spring has been fixed, she said.
With pump prices so high a few months ago, refineries coming back on line tried to produce as much gas as possible as fast as possible to rack up profits, Gorman said.
“Now we have plenty of gas to go around for the rest of the summer,” Gorman said.
And the bountiful supply caused gas prices to slip. Things could get even better for local motorists.
“If no hurricanes or other disruptions occur, prices could go even lower,” she said. That’s especially true as the end-of-September switch to a winter blend looms, and refineries need to get rid of excess summer supplies, Gorman said. But don’t count on it.
“August is probably the most unpredictable month for gas and oil prices,” she said.