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2010 pump prices go out with a bang

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Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 3:30 pm

As the end of 2010 draws near, motorists are continuing to experience an atypical price climb at the pump. Statewide, Thursday's fuel price was $2.905, an increase of a penny-and-a-half from last week. Nationwide, prices increased by nearly six cents to $3.071 per gallon.

"On the heels of the end-of-year fuel surge, a variety of speculation has recently surfaced from industry analysts, including projections of $5-per-gallon pump prices and gasoline shortages," said Linda Gorman, director of communication and public affairs for AAA Arizona. "While the recent surge in crude prices has pulled end-of-year prices within reach of 2010 highs, AAA believes it is unpractical and even irresponsible to make these types of wild predictions."

AAA Arizona recaps the following Arizona fuel highlights of 2010:

Average fuel price

Statewide, Arizona's 2010 average fuel price was $2.755 per gallon. This is nearly 45 cents more, or a 19 percent increase, from 2009's average fuel price of $2.307.

Lowest fuel price

Arizona's lowest average fuel price for the year was $2.597 per gallon, which occurred Jan. 5. This is $1 more than 2009's low fuel price of $1.591.

Highest fuel price

Arizona's highest fuel price this year was $2.922 per gallon. This occurred on May 6 and is nearly 9 percent higher than the 2009 high price of $2.687. However, Arizona's 2010 high fuel price remains 28 percent below the state's all-time high of $4.090 per gallon, which occurred in July 2008.

Above and below

In 2009, the statewide average did not broach $2.70 per gallon. However, in 2010, the statewide average spent 250 days, or more than 68 percent of the year, above this mark. The state average spent the remainder of the year in the $2.60 range, with only one day in the high $2.50 range.

"A number of factors shaped 2010 crude and fuel prices, including modest economic recovery, the value of the dollar, the price of crude oil as well as the global economy," Gorman added. "Looking ahead to 2011, these factors will continue to have a major influence on pump prices, although it is too early to make major predictions on just how the market will react over the long term."

Tucson and Flagstaff hold the low and high state fuel averages at $2.760 and $3.029 per gallon, respectively. Utah and California hold these extremes for the lower 48 states at $2.811 and $3.315 per gallon, respectively. Currently, 30 states, including the District of Columbia, hold averages above the $3 mark, while five states hold lower fuel averages than Arizona.

Motorists can visit AAAaz.com/news/fuelnews.htm for fuel price information and saving tips or AAA.com/fuelfinder to locate the station with the cheapest gas in their neighborhood. They can also visit FuelCostCalculator.AAA.com, which can help budget travel expenses.

Submitted by AAA Arizona.

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