PHOENIX — Some relief at the pump is hopefully on the way for Arizona drivers. After seeing near-record prices and some of the sharpest increases in the country, experts say prices will soon be coming down.
Patrick DeHaan of Gas Buddy told ABC15 those price drops could be anywhere between 25 and 50 cents per gallon.
According to AAA, the average price of gas in Arizona is $3.78/gallon with some stations well above that at $4.25. Nationally, the average is $3.35/gallon.
According to DeHaan, the omicron variant is behind the price drop.
“What’s transpired since late November, really since Thanksgiving, is the discovery of the omicron variant and there’s a lot of anxiety around another new variant. We just don’t know enough about it yet and oil prices plummeted as a result," DeHaan said.
This recent gas price surge put Arizona prices in line with California prices, which makes sense, according to DeHaan, because refinery issues in California caused a supply shortage here.
“Oftentimes, when there are refinery kinks and Arizona lies at the end of two pipelines that creates some unique bumps in the road. Arizona also has its own blend of gasoline. So, if there’s a refinery issue in California it can have a ripple effect not only on California’s gas prices but Arizona’s as well,” he explained.
That, he said, means Arizona will now see an equally big drop in price.
“In the last month the national average is actually down about six cents a gallon and in Arizona is up 20 cents; 8.35 so in the days ahead Phoenix and Arizona are seeing some relief from those refinery issues,” he continued. “There’s just been a myriad of issues in the west coast and unfortunately Phoenix and Arizona as a whole have a very unique challenge when we see these types of things rise to this magnitude.”
One thing he says is not to blame for the high gas prices, or the low ones, on politics.
“Seventy-five percent of the reason we’re paying more in gas prices this year than last year has to do with the pandemic and the mass changes in consumer behavior coupled with how the oil companies reacted and maybe 20-25% is simply the optics…behind President Biden’s decisions. But I think most Americans vastly overestimate the impact a president can have on gas prices. It’s far smaller than what most Americans believe," DeHaan said.