It's the beginning of the summer driving season, and as usual we're watching gas prices climb.

If you live in Arizona, you might have noticed the odd spike in gas prices in places you don't normally expect.

Econ 101 with Val. Don't listen to me. What do I know about prices and the economy? (Hint: Not much!) Credit // Canva

Arizona is currently hovering between third and fourth place for highest gas prices in the nation, not far behind that BASELINE for all things expensive, California. Hawaii and Washington State are still slightly higher, but not by much.

So why is gas so expensive in Arizona? There are the usual suspects of course, but there are also some hidden reasons and they're affecting our pocketbooks.

Gimme a Summer Blend Hi-Octane Latte with Extra Foam, Please

People Who Know also like to blame the more expensive Summer Blend for the increased price. That's always sounded to me like Starbucks' obsession with seasonal beverage blends and an excuse to jack up the price.

These are not real beverages. I made them up. With the help of Canva
These are not real beverages or gasoline blends. I made them up. With the help of Canva

Grande Supply with Venti Demand

If, unlike me, you paid attention in your high school econ class, you probably remember your teacher talking about supply and demand. Gas prices are heavily influenced by those fluctuating curves, and when summer demand pulls on the supply, the price spikes nationwide.

Econ 101 looked something like this. I think. I may have been sleeping that day. Thanks to Canva for the graphic.

According to AAA, gas demand has been steadily rising since people began driving again now that the pandemic is officially over. But supply hasn't kept pace with demand. It's been plagued by refinery issues and pipeline disruptions and it's hitting Arizona pretty hard.

Add a Shot of Taxes and Fees

Gas prices also include taxes and fees that vary by state. Arizona has a state gas tax of 19 cents per gallon, which is lower than the national average of 25 cents per gallon.

A double shot of ridiculousness, anyone? Credit // Canva

Some counties in Arizona have local gas taxes that add an extra 1 to 4 cents per gallon, and this may be partly responsible for the increased price in some areas where we're used to seeing lower prices.

An Extra Double Shot to Arizona These Arizona Counties

According to AAA, Western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, are the highest in the nation. Curiously, Illinois also has inflated gas prices, as well.

Anyone travelling between Cochise and Pima or Maricopa counties usually make sure they fill up in or around Tucson at the latest because fuel prices are usually much lower there.

Western States' Gas Prices. Canva
Western States' Gas Prices, according to AAA. Graphic // Canva

Lately there's been a notable shift. Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties are experiencing the highest gas prices in Arizona, averaging around $4.37 to $4.78 per gallon.

Cochise County's average has held steady at around $3.72, which is completely flipped compared to what we're used to seeing.

Your Feedback is Important to Us!

Alright, I may have pushed the Starbuck's metaphors a bit too far, but you get the idea. Is the price of gas changing your summer plans? Grab the App and send us a chat with your thoughts.

Are your plans going to change based on Gas Prices this summer? Credit // Canva

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

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