The price of gasoline jumped by a dime over the past week across the East Valley and marked the largest week-over-week hike to date this year, AAA Arizona reported Thursday.
A gallon of unleaded regular gas averaged about $2.53 in the East Valley, $2.54 in Phoenix and $2.58 in Scottsdale on Thursday. Statewide, a gallon of unleaded regular averaged about $2.58 on Thursday, which was about 8.5 cents more than last week.
“We’ve seen us as a state going up by about 8 cents. But in three weeks, we’ve gone from about $2.39 a gallon to $2.57 a gallon. That’s almost 18 cents in three weeks,” said David Cowley, AAA Arizona spokesman. The week-to-week hikes were the largest since Jan. 1 for the East Valley, the Valley, Scottsdale and Arizona as a whole, Cowley said. Part of the higher cost is due to maintenance at refineries as they change from winter to summer fuel blends.
“The maintenance is going on much longer than it normally does. This is the year that all the (government mandated) fuel specifications are changing, and it’s forcing changes at the refinery level,” Cowley said.
Typically this time of year, refineries are running between 93 percent to 98 percent capacity. This year, they are running between 80 percent and 83 percent due to the changes, Cowley said.
“That 10 percent drop is really starting to show up in prices. It reduces the supply of gasoline,” Cowley said.