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When it comes to state average gas prices, Utah has spent a lot of time recently at the lower end of the chart. No longer. Utah’s state average is now ranked 11th highest in the nation. Despite its ranking, the state price has been slowly dropping over the past three weeks.
Utah’s current average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.72, which is an increase of two cents since last month’s AAA report on May 8. Today’s price is 10 cents higher than a year ago. Of the Utah cities surveyed by AAA, Salt Lake City had the highest average price at $3.80 per gallon. St. George had the lowest average price at $3.69 per gallon.
The national average price of $3.54 is down by 22 cents, which is 17 cents less than the national price on this date last year, when it was $3.71.
“Over the last month, a number of states west of the Rocky Mountains saw their average pump prices rise as refining concerns and tightening supply applied upward pressure to the cost of gasoline,” said AAA Insurance spokesperson Matt Skryja. “The past week has seen much of this upward pressure removed, with many of the states experiencing declines in their retail prices.”
While Western states are just coming out of a period of increasing prices, the opposite is true of the national average. With the exception of May 16, the national retail price of gasoline has fallen for 55 of the last 56 days. The multi-month slide in gas prices has been largely the result of bearish global economic news and declining crude oil prices, which have fallen more than $20 per barrel since the beginning of May. As a general rule-of-thumb, a $1 per barrel decline in crude oil prices results in a decline in gas prices of about 2.5 cents per gallon. However, these lower gas prices at the pump usually lag behind cheaper crude prices by a week or two, as the less-expensive crude oil makes its way through the supply chain to consumers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, demand for gasoline has dropped in the United States over the past week.
Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.87 per gallon. The highest price reported by AAA in the lower 48 states is in Eureka, California, where the average price is $4.32.
Among all 50 states, Hawaii has the highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline at $4.47. Among the lower 48 states, the highest average state price reported by AAA was achieved by Washington State, with an average price of $4.14. Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, California, and Oregon all have averages above four dollars per gallon. Alaska has the second highest state average price at $4.40.
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 and stretch your gasoline dollar, AAA recommends keeping your vehicle’s tires at the proper pressure, performing routine maintenance, and making sure fluids are clean and belts and hoses are in good repair. The way you drive can also impact a vehicle’s fuel economy. Smooth driving to avoid sudden stops and starts, planning errands and lightening your load also help conserve gasoline. More gas saving tips are available at www.aaa.com/gas.