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Arizona Gas Prices May Rise Through Summer

Gas prices could make a record run through this summer, according to a report from AAA Arizona.

Fuel prices in Arizona in January were the highest on record for that month, and the climb is not expected to slow through the summer, the organization said.

Arizona’s average gas price has increased about 22 cents a gallon since the start of the year, AAA said.

Typically, January and February have lower gas prices because people are settling in again after the holidays, AAA spokeswoman Michelle Donati said. To see steadily high prices in months when demand is low is an indication that prices are likely to keep increasing throughout the year, she said.

One reason gas prices have been higher than normal is that Iran has been threatening to shut down a major oil passageway, the Strait of Hormuz, since late December.

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most significant oil passageway, with 20 percent of all oil traded worldwide passing through there, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, a fuel-price tracking website, said Thursday that he does not think gas prices will break all-time-high records, which were set in 2008.

He said, however, that prices in April and May will be “nasty” and could reach around $4 per gallon in Arizona and the rest of the nation during the summer.

Prices normally peak in May because many oil refineries switch to producing a more expensive type of gasoline for summer, DeHaan said.

GasBuddy.com’s 2012 gasoline-price outlook estimates that Phoenix will see its highest gas prices during the first major driving holiday, Memorial Day, at $4.20 per gallon.

Florist Kristina Dyrr, owner of Cactus Flower, said she feels prepared for high gas prices in the coming months because of changes she made in response to increases last year.

Some of those changes include replacing vehicles in her fleet with vehicles that are more fuel-efficient and rerouting deliveries from her six Phoenix area stores, Dyrr said.

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