Phoenix - The year ahead looks to be a sunny one when it comes to fuel costs. This week, the statewide average slipped a half-cent to $3.046 per gallon, while the national average edged up almost 2 cents to $3.310 per gallon.

After dipping below year-ago levels, retail fuel prices are currently stabilizing, and in some areas rising as a result of elevated crude costs. As spring approaches, AAA expects fuel prices to climb through April or early May, peaking in late-spring in the mid to high-$3 range. This should enable prices to drop during the first half of the summer to the low to mid-$3 range. Prices will likely rise again before the Gulf Coast hurricane season and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline, ending 2013 at a low or near-low average for the year.

AAA is projecting that prices in 2013 will be lower than 2012, barring unforeseen circumstances, said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs. This is good news for motorists, especially considering 2012 was the most expensive fuel year on record.

Tucson and Flagstaff hold the low and high state fuel averages at $2.860 and $3.297 per gallon, respectively. Utah and New York hold the lowest and highest average prices for the lower 48 states at $2.879 and $3.748 per gallon, respectively.

As an advocacy organization representing the motoring public, AAA offers a variety of free resources to help motorists keep fuel budgets in check, including:

Fuel Price Finder ( locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
AAA Gas Price Alerts ( offers users weekly fuel price text alerts.
AAA Mobile ( provides directions and plots fuel prices along your travel route.
AAA's Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card ( accumulates double points on fuel purchases.

AAAs Fuel Gauge Report includes data from gasoline stations in every Arizona community. Local prices in some communities might be higher or lower than the averages shown here. This service is updated daily by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) with average national, state and local prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day, more than 100,000 stations are surveyed in cooperation with Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability.   back...
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