Suddenly Arizona Has the 2nd Highest Gas Prices in America: Who Do We Blame?

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Gas prices are always a hot button subject…when they’re high, at least. They certainly were during last year’s massive spike. But you may have noticed that prices these days are high. Really high.

How high? Arizona recently hit 2nd place amongst all US states in gas prices, second only to California and their notoriously ridiculous prices. So what gives?

Now typically, whenever gas prices are high, the blame often goes to the President in power (in this case, obviously Joe Biden). While some blame could certainly be assigned to policies that have made developing additional oil drilling or gasoline refinery capacity less economically advantageous, that only plays a part of the picture. Crude oil prices (currently near $80) are nowhere near their peak, and even if they were, that obviously doesn’t account for Arizona’s relative placement as 2nd in the country.

The conversation then needs to go to refinery capacity. And to that end, the price of refined gasoline in bulk has spiked up nationally recently, but yet again that doesn’t explain Arizona’s silver medal status. Many people don’t know that Arizona doesn’t refine any of its gasoline: part of the state’s gas comes from California and the other half from Texas. More specifically, most of southern and northern Ariona gets its gas from Texas, and the Valley gets it from California.

So can we participate in one of the biggest pastime activities of the western states and blame California for this? Actually…probably, yes. While it is often difficult to pin prices changes to specific activities, as there are usually a number of moving parts, this current spike in California and Arizona prices seems to correlate very tightly with a recent directive from Governor Gavin Newsom to cap the profits of refiners. It is tough to tell if this bill made prices go up as opposed to refiners purposely producing less in response, but the timing is uncanny.

So one tired excuse of why gas prices are high, President Biden, likely has little bearing in reality. He is not helping, but his impact is relatively muted…he is not the omnipotent king of gas refining. Our Lefty neighbors to the left geographically, however, that’s a different matter. Just because they’re an easy punching bag, the low-hanging fruit of mockery of liberal policies gone amuck, doesn’t always mean that it’s not true. We actually can blame California for Arizona having the 2nd highest gas prices in the nation.