Arizona gasoline prices dropped to a nearly-five-year low Thursday with East Valley motorists paying the lowest average per gallon in the state at $1.61 - a decrease of 15 cents from last week, according to AAA Arizona.
The drop for the 12th consecutive week was also evident across Arizona and the nation with the average price for unleaded fuel statewide falling to $1.70, also a 15 cent drop, and nationally to $1.66, a drop of 13 cents from last week.
The statewide average is nearly $1.30 lower than motorist were paying at this time last year and is the lowest since February 2004, the association said.
Scottsdale drivers paid an average of $1.75, a drop of 15 cents from last week.
Flagstaff drivers continued to pay the highest fuel prices with an average of $1.92 per gallon.
The averages for all areas of Arizona surveyed by AAA Arizona are below the $2 mark for the first time since February 2005.
“Given the state of the economy, we are still anticipating that prices will continue their downswing through the end of the year and likely early into 2009,” said Linda Gorman, public affairs director for AAA Arizona.
Gorman added: “Looking ahead to 2009, prices are likely to move higher in response to an improving economy, especially given further cuts in oil production and refinery output. In the spring, we will likely experience a seasonal upturn in pump prices as refineries begin to process summer fuels and demand for oil begins to increase.”
The Energy Department, meanwhile, predicted that global oil consumption will decline by 500,000 barrels a day in 2008 and by 450,000 a day in 2009. If the prediction’s hold true, this would be the first time in 30 years that world consumption would decline for two consecutive years, Gorman said.