Originally Published: March 11, 2008 10:42 p.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY - Shaun Hill stood at a local gas station flabbergasted by the soaring fuel costs.Hill, a landscaper, spent $50 for less than 16 gallons of unleaded gasoline for his Toyota Tundra Tuesday afternoon."Half my money goes in there (the tank). It's insane," he said. "Everything is going up except for our wages."Motorists like Hill are recoiling over escalating fuel prices as industry experts predict prices could keep climbing this spring."I think it's just ridiculous. The cost is just so high," Tina Stark said. "I pity anybody who has a truck, which includes us."Ed Powney said other items are getting more costly too."It's not just the fuel; it's anything that's petroleum-based," he said.As of Tuesday morning, the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Prescott area was $3.17 a gallon and $3.82 per gallon for diesel, according to the American Automobile Association of Arizona.The average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Prescott area is 63 cents greater now than it was at the same time in 2007.The costliest average gasoline price in the state Tuesday was $3.26 per gallon in Flagstaff. The cheapest was in the East Valley at $3.09 per gallon.Michelle Donati, public affairs specialist for AAA Arizona, said the state average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.15 per gallon and $3.80 for diesel.Donati said prices could continue to skyrocket as more people begin to hit the roads this spring and refineries switch to more expensive summer blends."Demand has remained relatively flat over the last month and, as it picks up, that could drive prices higher," she said.Another factor pushing fuel prices higher is the record-high trading levels of crude oil.Crude oil futures rose 85 cents to $108.75 a barrel Tuesday.And Donati said crude prices make up for more than 60 percent of the prices at the pump."It's not looking like there is much relief in sight right now," she said.Donati said the national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.22 a gallon and motorists in 35 states are paying more than people in Arizona."We're still below the national average and many other states when it comes to filling up," she said. She said people could try carpooling and combining trips to reduce fuel use. If that is not possible, Donati said motorists should make sure that their cars are in good working order for optimal fuel economy.Dewey resident Jim Holtshouser spent nearly $22 for less than seven gallons of gasoline as he tries to reduce his driving."When in the hell is it going to stop - that's the question," he said.Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org