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Gas prices are falling across the country, but not in Arizona. Here's why

The average price of a gallon of gas has gone up in Arizona, according to AAA, while the national average has trended down.

ARIZONA, USA — Gas prices are up again this week in Arizona as the average national price is down.

AAA now has Arizona's average gas price at more than $4 a gallon, but it can vary by as much as 60 cents or more across the state.

While experts say the recent spike affects West Coast states, it's not expected to last long.

“It all depends on where the fuel is coming from,” GasBuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan said. “And that's why Phoenix is very unique.”

Thanks to air quality issues, Phoenix requires a higher quality fuel that comes from California.

Its refineries being down in California, De Haan said, are affecting prices in Arizona too.

“We’ve often cited that when a refinery has an issue that comes up, it can have an immediate impact on gasoline production, and that’s the case here,” De Haan said.

Arizona receives about half of the gasoline coming to pumps from Southern California, the California Energy Commission told 12News.

The CEC said the latest increase in gas prices in both Arizona and California "is related to refinery and production issues and lower than normal gasoline inventories."

While the CEC couldn't answer 12News' questions about how many refineries experienced issues, they did say the problems are resolved.

As for how long the prices should stick around at gas pumps in Arizona, both the CEC and De Haan said they'll go back down.

“It should only be temporary,” De Haan said.

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In Pima County, AAA said the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.533, more than 60 cents cheaper than in Maricopa County.

However, Tucson doesn’t require the cleaner burning gas that Phoenix does.

“The gasoline in Tucson is generally coming from refineries, closer to Houston and Texas,” De Haan said.

Still, on average, gas prices in Arizona are up nearly 90 cents from a year ago, according to AAA data.

"It’ll take time, though, to see our current prices to get back to something ‘more normal," ASU Research Professor of Economics Lee McPheters said.

“If you are asking me, ‘Are oil prices and gas prices going to return to what we regard as more normal?’, I would say, absolutely. Definitely,” McPheters said. “You asked me when? I would say, short term: no. Long term: yes.”

To find the lowest gas prices in Arizona, click here

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