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Arizona drivers contend with unusually high gas prices

Arizona experiencing unusually high gas prices
Arizona drivers experiencing unusually high gas prices 01:54

Phoenix, Arizona — Pain at the pump seems to be punishing the Grand Canyon state.

While the national average for a gallon of regular was $3.63 Friday, according to daily numbers released by AAA, in Arizona it was $1 more, at $4.70. In the Phoenix metro area, the average is just over $5 a gallon.

"Before, it used to cost us probably $80 to fill up, and now it's almost double that," Phoenix driver John Baker told CBS News.

Baker said his family is cutting back elsewhere, fearing $5 gas could be here to stay.

"We don't really go out nearly as much as we used to," Baker said. "We used to go to the movies on the weekends as a family. Now we just stick to the swimming pool."

Two hours south of Phoenix, in Tucson, gas prices jumped more than 80 cents per gallon in just the last month, now averaging $4.73 a gallon.

Experts said the rapid spike amounts to bad timing.

"They get their gas primarily from a refinery in El Paso," AAA national spokesperson Andrew Gross said. "That refinery is down for maintenance. So, they're having to bring in more expensive gas from other places."

This also comes as refineries switch to more expensive summer blends, while OPEC cuts oil production globally. That is on top of increased driver demand for fuel during the summer months. 

While still expensive, AAA predicts the rest of the U.S. won't see prices climb quite as high as last summer's record.

"For the national average, I don't think we're going to see it reach $4 (per gallon)," Gross said. 

But for Arizona drivers, $4 a gallon would be a summer dream come true. 

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