Gas prices drop for second straight week

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Gas prices across the state of Arizona have decreased for a second straight week.

According to AAA Arizona, the statewide average dropped 4 cents this week to $3.509 per gallon.

Tucson has the lowest average in Arizona at $3.364 per gallon, while Flagstaff’s $3.745 is the state’s highest.

Across the country, prices dropped 4.1 cents to $3.589 per gallon.

“The price of crude oil retreated slightly over the last two weeks, driving pump prices in the same direction,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “However, AAA still maintains that August will be a seesaw for pump prices due to tensions in the Middle East and impending hurricane activity.”

AAA Arizona also notes that this week the Environmental Protection Agency finalized 2013 standards for the Renewable Fuels Standard program.

The program requires renewable fuels, like ethanol, to be blended into gasoline in increasing amounts every year.

AAA says when the program was initially implemented, policymakers said U.S. gasoline consumption would continue to rise, supporting a higher ethanol use.

However, in recent years fuel consumption has remained relatively flat due to fuel-efficient cars, a weaker economy, and changes in driving habits.

As a result, the EPA said it would consider adjusting planned ethanol increases in 2014 and beyond.

“As an advocate for the motoring public, AAA applauds the EPA’s recent decision, which provided a temporary solution to prevent the use of potentially damaging E15 gasoline or a possible surge in gas prices,” said Gorman. “With congressional help, the agency can obtain the authority to make much needed changes to unachievable renewable fuel targets in the future.”