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Gasoline

Several factors influence Arizona’s retail price of gasoline including, but not limited to, supply, demand, the cost of inputs such as crude oil and blend stocks, fuel specifications, transportation costs, the number of competitors in a given market and traffic patterns. Arizona’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is usually at or near the national average, see average retail price chart below, but can sharply spike when supply is disrupted.


Arizona Gas Price Charts


There are no oil refineries in Arizona, so almost all of the state’s gasoline is imported from California via the “West Line” and Texas via the “East Line”. See pipeline map below. Refinery outages or pipeline problems, therefore, can severely limit Arizona’s supply and cause prices to spike. As it takes a shipment of gasoline approximately seven days to travel through the West Line from California to the Phoenix terminal and approximately 6 days to travel on the East Line from Texas to Phoenix, refinery outages or problems with either of the two pipelines can significantly affect Arizona’s supply and cause prices to rise for an extended duration.

Pipelines and Refineries
 


The Attorney General’s Office monitors gasoline prices statewide and, when appropriate, investigates allegations of illegal conduct. Gasoline prices are not regulated in Arizona; therefore, it is not illegal to sell gasoline at high prices, unless the high prices are the result of illegal activity. Consumers often contact the Attorney General’s Office to report “price gouging” by gasoline retailers. Arizona does not have laws prohibiting price gouging or charging high prices. Absent evidence of fraud, collusion or other anticompetitive behavior, the Attorney General’s Office cannot take legal action against retailers who may legally charge what they think the market will bear.     

The Attorney General enforces the Arizona Uniform State Antitrust Act, which prohibits anticompetitive behavior such as price fixing and unlawful monopolization. Price fixing occurs when competitors agree that they will not compete against each other on price. Consumers may suspect that because gasoline stations raise or lower their prices at or around the same time, they are fixing prices. Within a geographic market, prices often move more or less together as companies move independently and interdependently. This “parallel pricing” behavior is not illegal absent proof of collusion or an agreement to fix prices. Prohibited monopolization occurs when a company controls a market for goods or services and takes illegal anticompetitive actions to maintain its market dominance. The Attorney General also enforces Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act, which prohibits retailers from engaging in deceptive conduct or making misrepresentations in connection with the sale of gasoline. 

If you believe you have evidence of price fixing, consumer fraud or any other illegal behavior involving the oil and gas industry, please contact us at aginfo@azag.gov or fill out our complaint form. If you have complaints about gasoline pumps and/or discrepancies between the prices posted on the gasoline station’s street sign and the gasoline pump, you should contact the Department of Weights and Measures at www.azdwm.gov.


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