Phoenix gas prices drop but are still higher than most of U.S.
Metro Phoenix drivers spent an average of $3.56 per gallon of gas as of Feb. 1, GasBuddy data shows. That price is higher than the $3.40 national average, which was down 6% from last February, but up 2% month over month.
The big picture: (Relatively) cheap gas is good news for consumers, especially commuters.
Yes, but: Lower prices may disincentivize drivers from switching to more efficient cars, going electric or embracing public transit — all of which can have big environmental benefits.
- The Phoenix area is one of the metros most polluted by ozone in the country. The EPA last year reclassified the Valley's ozone pollution as "moderate" because we failed to meet federal environmental standards.
Why it matters: More than three-quarters of American commuters drive to and from work, meaning they're sensitive to the ebbs and flows of prices at the pump — especially as other basic goods also get more expensive.
- Gas prices are also a political football, rightfully so or not. When they're high, many Americans tend to blame whoever's sitting in the Oval Office — even though, as Axios' Andrew Freedman has reported, they lack significant control over the cost of commodities priced on global markets, oil included.
Driving the news: Crude oil prices have fallen over the past year, leading to cheaper automotive gas.
- A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude — a common industry benchmark — cost around $76 as of late February, down from about $122 in June 2022.
- Oil prices spiked last year amid uncertainty over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia — a major oil producer — that followed.
- As the fighting drags on, oil markets have largely stabilized, CNN reports.
Reality check: Charging up an electric vehicle isn't always significantly cheaper than filling a tank with gasoline — especially on road trips, Axios' Joann Muller recently found.
- EVs aren't perfectly clean, either. Mining for the requisite materials can damage local ecosystems, while EVs' environmental benefit is lessened if they're charged with "dirty power" from, say, a coal plant.
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