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After recording steady price increases since mid-January, Utah’s average gasoline price moved two cents downward in the past ten days. The current price in Utah for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.41. This is two cents lower than a week ago and fourteen cents higher than last month’s AAA report. Today’s price is fifteen cents lower than a year ago. Only two states have prices lower than Utah – Wyoming at $3.32 and Montana at $3.36.
All of the Utah cities, which AAA tracks as a service to consumers, report increases of at least fourteen cents since last month’s report. Prices rose in Salt Lake City and Provo by fourteen cents. St. George reported the greatest increase, twenty-three cents, followed by Moab at twenty cents.
The national average price reflects the same pattern as Utah with increased prices early in the past month and then recent declines. Motorists in forty-one states are paying less at the pump than a week ago but their current price is higher than a month ago.
The national average price is $3.70 for a gallon of regular gasoline. This price is four cents lower than a week ago and ten cents higher than last month’s AAA gas report. The national price is ten cents lower than a year ago. Hawaii has the highest average price, $4.40. At $4.17, California has the highest average price in the 48 contiguous states. Wyoming’s motorists enjoy the lowest average price in the country, $3.32.
“The steady increase in prices early this year was caused by refinery maintenance and infrastructure concerns rather than higher prices for crude oil,” said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. “It is too early to say whether retail prices have peaked for the spring because there are refinery concerns and the transition to summer-blend gasoline is not complete. Even if prices do increase, AAA predicts that the national average price will likely crest lower and earlier than in recent years.”
At the close of formal trading yesterday on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices settled up 11 cents at $92.06 per barrel. For comparison, on the nearest trading day in 2011 and 2012, WTI settled at $101.16 and $106.34 respectively. These more expensive prices were driven by violence and geopolitical tensions overseas (Libya in 2011 and Iran in 2012). Without similar concerns at the beginning of 2013, crude oil prices have been less expensive and volatile.
One way consumers can reduce the amount of money they spend on fuel is to shop aggressively for the lowest price. AAA now offers text alerts via mobile phone for low gas prices in your area. Sign up today at www.aaa.com/gas.
To get the best mileage possible, AAA recommends keeping tires at the proper pressure, performing routine maintenance and making sure fluids are clean and belts and hoses are in good repair. Smooth driving to avoid sudden stops and starts, combining trips and lightening your load also help conserve gasoline.