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12/14/2012 6:00:00 AM
Gas prices dip just in time for the holidays
Abundant supply and low demand end pricey fuel year on a happy note
JC AMBERLYN/MinerVehicles stop for gas Thursday along Stockton Hill Road. The price for unleaded at Smith’s was less than $3 a gallon.

Vehicles stop for gas Thursday along Stockton Hill Road. The price for unleaded at Smith’s was less than $3 a gallon.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The average price for a regular gallon of gas in Arizona dropped 9 cents in the last week, and in Kingman there are several stations where a gallon of gas will cost you less than $3.

But don't get too comfortable, because prices should start heading back up during the first quarter of 2013, explained Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski.

"All good things must come to an end," Laskoski said.

During the first quarter, refineries across the country will begin flushing out the winter blend of gasoline to prepare for replacing it with the more expensive summer blend, he said. To do this, refineries often shut down portions of their infrastructure, which lowers capacity and inventory and applies upward pressure to prices.

"It's like clockwork every year," he said.

But right now is a promising time for consumers.

America's refineries are operating at 90.4 percent capacity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's most recent weekly report. This has increased the level of gasoline inventory, and since demand is still rather low prices are coming down across the country.

The average price for a gallon of gas across the nation is nearly $3.30 while the price of a West Texas Intermediate barrel of oil sits at $86.26.

But don't let these low prices fool you. The average price for a gallon of gas throughout 2012 is $3.60.

"That's quite a bit higher than any other year," he said.

Following Hurricane Sandy, East Coast refinery output plummeted, Laskoski said. Many of the refineries lost power, others were flooded and plenty of them were flooded and lost power, he said.

Prior to Sandy, refineries in the East Coast region were operating at about 80 percent capacity. Immediately after Sandy, capacity dropped to about 58 percent. As a result, people in the northeastern part of the country were paying roughly $4 a gallon.

But according to the energy report released Wednesday, East Coast refineries are back up to pre-Sandy capacity, Laskoski said.

"Inventories are up significantly," he said.

For example, nationwide oil inventory goes up or down by about 500,000 to 2 million barrels in a typical week. Inventory for the week of Dec. 5 increased by 8 million barrels, and for this week it increased by another 5 million barrels, he said.

Low demand mixed with increased inventory equals lower prices, he said.

Even as demand increases in the next week with people hitting the road for Christmas, Laskoski said prices should remain low. It's not until late January that people should see prices headed back up.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2012
Article comment by: what a crock

Winter blend/Summer blend?.. Yea Thats why gas drops at Christmas and then shoots back up after new years.

Same reason gas drops around easter and then skyrockets all summer.

Give us a break. If the lies cant be more convincing then this. Just come out and finally tell the truth. Which is the reason gas prices rise and fall at the same times each year is to keep the public trained to pay whatever we are told. Whenever we are told to pay it.

Oil companies have lied to the public since day one about everything to do with pricing. We hear excuse after excuse, supply, demand, light crude, heavy crude, blah blah blah.

Crying poor mouth yet every fiscal quarter its always the same thing. 100's of millions in profits.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

@ Ahron Sherman

Back off??? You're a reporter and subject to the same criticisms as anyone else on this paper. I could start in on you the way I do on Thurlow. Who are you to tell me to back off. You're putting incorrect information in the public eye. I gave you the websites for the information I provided. It's a public problem when you pretend to journalistic integrity and don't even know how to conduct credible research.

If you think my numbers wrong, then explain why WTI prices are stable within a few pennies, and gas prices move up and down with the price of Brent Crude? Especially when we import more than twice as much Brent as we produce of WTI.

["Thurlow" responds: After reading and hearing Ahron's side of the story and reading Ed Tomchin's, it's clear there is no problem with the accuracy of the reporting.

Ahron asked the petroleum analyst cited in the story which type of crude is the best to quote. He was told that WTI is what is most widely used by reporters covering the industry.

Ahron also points out that he has a rocky online relationship with Ed Tomchin because he perceives Tomchin's comments as being accusations rather than criticisms. Those interested enough in that analysis can read back and draw their own conclusions.

And Ed Tomchin is always welcome to "start in on" Thurlow if he wants. I won't edit for accuracy.]

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Ahron Sherman

I asked questions based on your accusations and received an answer. Back off. I tend to believe the person who works with fuel prices every day as opposed to the Golden Valley guy who thinks he has all the answers. Go attack someone else, because I'm not the only one quoting those prices.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Gas wars are good for the consumer, I remember in a bygone era as a young man when I worked in gas station how that .32 cents a gallon could drop periodically to .17 cents when gas companies wouled compete, we see very little of that today, with usually only a few pennies between the gas stations but some have huge differences of .20 cents to .30 cents higher than some, Exxon in town has a cute trick, small print cash price, but credit card is .10 cents higher no doubt they are getting them travelers who merely look at the price never read the small print!

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Thai Mai Shue

If you really want to thank anybody for the decline in gas prices around the Kingman area then call MAVERICK and thank them.

Glad to see them come to town. They have a great looking and well stocked convenience store with friendly staff.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: You Bet

@ Dion Wallace (Iris)

I agree! If the prices were going up all the far right would be screaming and blaming Obama even though he has nothing to do with it.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

EIA expects U.S. total crude oil production (West Texas Intermediate) to average 6.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.8 million bbl/d from the previous year. (In 2011 the U.S. produced 5,600,000 barrels of WTI crude per day)

In 2011 the U.S. imported 11,504,000 barrels of crude per day.

The U.S. consumes approximately 19,000,000 barrels of oil per day. (

Given these figures, do you really think WTI is the benchmark that determines our oil prices? You refuse to accept information from a valid and verifiable source, which makes your articles very undependable. Wake up and smell reality, my friend. I offered you my services once and you turned your nose up at me. Now I'll use my talents to mock your incredulity.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: golden valley man

Just me but very curious that it all suddenly happened as the new maverick opened and a gas war strted here in kingman. and gas prices are still high else where

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Haven't you said more than once the Pres doesn't control gas prices?”

Yes, I have said that many times, basing that information on reading during the Reign of Error of The Criminal (when gas rose to more than $5 a gallon) that the president had nothing to do with the price of gasoline. A point I already knew and had never accused The Criminal of causing.

However, once Obama was elected the Right Wing Loon Idiot fringe started screaming about how he was responsible for the increase in gas prices.

“thank who for gas prices down, i seem to remember seeing $2.00 something around 3 years ago!!!!!!!!”

I seem to remember gas being twelve cents a gallon in the 1950s.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

Haven't you said more than once the Pres doesn't control gas prices? Or are you just trying to fire up those who think he can?

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: jist me a walkin

thank who for gas prices down, i seem to remember seeing $2.00 something around 3 years ago!!!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Take the bait come on

Every holiday we see this. It has nothing to do with presidents. Its a psychological game big oil has played for decades.

See everyone's feeling all warm and fuzzy toward the gas stations we cursed not so long ago. After the holidays gas will go up again. However, now that we have had a taste of "cheap" pricing. It wont seem so bad to pay 3.50 again. We'll still remember when it was 3.95-4.00 a gallon. We'll breathe deep and say to ourselves. Sure beats 4 bucks.

Bada bing...Oil companies win again. Its an on going brainwash psych out of the human mind.

Make the test subject feel scared or threatened with exteme high prices, cut the price drastically winning confidence from the test subject. Then raise the price to a mid level figure which happens to be slightly higher then the past normal rate.

Oil companies make extreme profits every quarter. The idiot public feels relieved to pay a lessor price then the maximum "scare" price.

Money is made. The consumer is under control. The fear factor continues to work beautifully year after year, decade after decade. We've been trained in this way so long. It honestly feels "natural". We've been drones for years now.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: concerned citizen

"It's like clockwork every year," he said.
It's amazing how every petroleum expert tries to explain away chnges in pricing. But, if it happens like clockwork every year, why haven't we seen prices below $3.00 every year. I can't remember the last time I saw $3 gas.
We just experienced Sandy, an election where the business favorite lost, and still the prices went to the lowest level in years!
It's called competition! Maverick is in town, and they started the whole thing with the lowest prices anywhere!
And, every other gas station had to follow.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

THANK YOU President Obama! Gas pricces down by almost a buck in the past few months and just in time for Holiday travel. What a great Christmas gift for everyone - well, maybe not for the "50% of people who pay no taxes" - but good news for the rest of us. THANK YOU Presdient Obama!

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Dion Wallace (Iris)

yeah because Obama's only to thank when the prices go back up.

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