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Pumped up: Tucson gas prices down from last year, still high nationally

Posted at 4:18 PM, May 22, 2024

TUCSON, ARIZ — Memorial Day Weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and Tucson residents are feeling the impact of gas prices despite a significant drop compared to last year.

The average price of regular unleaded gas in Tucson is $3.86 per gallon, about 75 cents less than the same time in 2023, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

"The gas prices... they are just going too high!," said Ronald Wood, a Tucson driver who was gassing up for the weekend at the Fry's Fuel Center at Pantano Road and Speedway Boulevard.

While the drop in price from last year's record-high holiday prices offers some relief, many Tucson drivers are still cautious about their travel plans.

Wood expressed his frustration despite the price drop, saying gas costs remain a significant burden.

“I’m gonna stay home,” Wood said about the holiday weekend. “Because if I put all my money on gas, I got no money for groceries.”

The national average for regular unleaded as of May 22 is $3.61 per gallon, with Arizona slightly higher at $3.88 per gallon.

Other states, like California and Hawaii, are seeing much higher prices, averaging $5.18 and $4.80 respectively, according to AAA data.

For many, like Casey Krepklick, the costs of filling up remain a concern.

“It’s costing me about 60 to 70 dollars to fill up this tank each time,” Krepklick said while refueling his vehicle.

The lower gas prices compared to last year provide some respite, but drivers still face the cumulative financial strain from high rents and grocery prices.

Wood, who dreads his daily school pick-up trips due to gas costs, highlighted the broader economic pressure many are experiencing.

“Gas is hurting me the most because I need it to go make more money,” he said, indicating that every dollar spent on fuel is one less for essential expenses.

As Tucson prepares for the Memorial Day weekend, the decision to travel or stay home hinges on more than just lower gas prices.

For some, the holiday will be a time to stay put and save, reflecting a cautious approach to spending amid ongoing economic challenges.