Gas prices on the rise

Kingman, as usual, one of the priciest cities in Arizona

KINGMAN - The price of a gallon of gasoline rose sharply nationwide over the last month, with local stations now charging nearly 43 cents more on average than they did the week of May 20.

Kingmanites were paying an average of about $2.619 for a gallon of regular unleaded Wednesday afternoon, based on credit card transaction data collected from 25 local stations by AAA Arizona. That's about eight cents higher than the current statewide average of $2.532, and less than a cent below the nationwide average of $2.627.

The cheapest gas in the state remains in Tucson, where motorists currently pay $2.381 a gallon. Likewise, Flagstaff continues to sell the priciest gas in the state, averaging $2.642 a gallon, while Phoenix drivers pay $2.549. In Mohave County, prices remain mixed, with Lake Havasu City residents paying $2.601, while Bullhead City pays only $2.449.

Gas remains well below $4 it stood at this time last year, though prices have continued to rise, despite an enduring dearth in demand nationwide. According to AAA Arizona spokeswoman Michelle Donati, the primary cause of the current price increases is a corresponding rise in the cost of crude oil, which topped $70 a barrel on Wednesday, trading nearly double what it did five months earlier.

"The main culprit remains the same thing its been for the past several months, and that's the price of crude oil," Donati said. "Demand continues to lack strength, but on the other hand, we've had the price of crude oil continue to rise. It's currently trading at $71, which is a seven-month high for the commodity."

Donati said supplies of oil and gas declined slightly last week, though they remain relatively healthy.