Arizona gas prices may hit $2 a gallon this summer : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Summer gas prices may hit $2 a gallon

Max Jarman The Arizona Republic Mar. 10, 2001

Phoenix-area motorists could see gasoline prices spike this summer if electrical blackouts on the West Coast curtail the production of the reformulated gasoline that is sold during hot weather to curb air pollution.

California power outages were blamed earlier this year for pipeline shutdowns and resulting higher gas prices.

Fred Rozell, retail pricing director for Oil Price Information Service, a Lakewood, N.J., firm that tracks gas prices, predicts average gas prices could go as high as $2.50 in areas around the Midwest and Northern California. Valley prices could approach $2, but probably not hit $2.50, he said.

Laura Rightenburg, a spokeswoman for AAA Arizona, agrees gas prices in the Phoenix area will be at least what they were last summer and could spike upward. But she thought prices in the Phoenix area might hit $1.65 or $1.70, but not the $2 figure seen by Rozell.

The culprit is reformulated gasoline used during the summer in the Valley to cut down on ozone pollution. The hybrid product already is in short supply and is feeling some upward price pressure due to rising prices in chemicals used to produce the fuel.

With supplies already thin, Rozell predicts that any refinery interruptions could cause critical shortages.

Last summer, Phoenix-area average gas prices ranged from $1.50 to $1.55 per gallon, about 30 cents higher than the year before. Rozell expects they will be at least that high this summer.

But she noted that it's hard to predict gas prices a few weeks out, let alone three months. "There's just so much that can happen," she said.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 10, 2001

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