Apr 22, 2024 - News

Why average Phoenix gas prices are above $4 per gallon

Data: GasBuddy; Chart: Axios Visuals

It may be April, but summer gas prices (and temperatures) are here already.

Why it matters: High fuel prices are one of the largest drivers of inflation and are likely to play a role in how voters perceive the economy in this competitive election year.

Zoom out: The entire nation has seen rising prices since January, but Phoenix's average price was 65 cents higher than the national average as of April 1, according to GasBuddy data.

By the numbers: Metro Phoenix started the month with an average price per regular unleaded gallon of $4.27. That's more than a $1 increase since January.

Driving the news: A combination of factors has pushed up prices this year, AAA spokesperson Julian Paredes tells Axios Phoenix

  • Seasonality: Spring break kicks off a period of increased demand for gas as more people take road trips. This typically keeps prices elevated through summer.
  • Supply: Several California refineries — which produce much of our gas — are undergoing maintenance, creating a supply shortage.
  • Global conflict: The wars in Ukraine and Israel have kept oil prices high internationally.

Between the lines: Arizona gas prices are almost always higher than the rest of the country because our car-dependent cities keep demand high, he added.

  • Plus, California refineries tend to produce the most expensive fuel because of that state's taxes and environmental regulations.

Could be worse: This time last year, the average gas price sat at $4.97 due to supply issues caused by refinery maintenance in Texas and New Mexico.

What we're watching: The work on California refineries should finish by Memorial Day, possibly giving Arizona a slight price reprieve.

  • Yes, but: High international oil prices from continued conflict in the Middle East may outweigh any refinery-related cost decreases, Paredes said.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more