Arizona gas prices closing in on $3/gallon

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PHOENIX -- For the fifth week in a row, Arizona drivers are seeing gas prices edge closer to the $3 mark.

Prices have not been that high since October 2008.

Statewide, Arizonans are paying out $2.84 per gallon of regular unleaded gas. That's up nearly 6 cents from last week. The national average went up just over a penny to $2.81.

It was summer 2008 that market speculation pushed the prices of crude and fuel to record highs. Those prices then crashed to historic lows.

Experts say the market since then has been reacting to a variety of economic factors rather than simple supply and demand. According to AAA Arizona, that trend will likely continue, at least in the near future.

“As we move into the spring and summer driving season, there is a strong likelihood that market factors will substantiate a fuel price of $3 per gallon for most of the state,” said AAA Arizona Public Affairs Director Linda Gorman in a news released. “However, it is unlikely that current market factors could validate a crude or fuel price much higher than that, barring a dramatic shift in demand or unforeseen circumstances.”

Tucson drivers are paying the lowest gas prices in the state -- $2.78 per gallon -- and, as usual, Flagstaff drivers are paying the highest -- $2.95.