Demand for gasoline down, but prices still go up, AAA says
The latest report from AAA Utah finds every city 9in Utah where AAA tracks the cost of has has seen a significant monthly average jump at the pump. This follows Utah enjoying the lowest gasoline prices in the country since the first of the year.
Utah's current average price for a gallon of regular, serf-serve gasoline is $3.00, a 20-cent increase since last month's AAA report on Jan. 11. That is also 26 cents higher than a year ago. The state's average is now tied for the twelfth lowest price in America. Moab's average price of $3.09 per gallong was the highest average price of Utah cities, a 13-cent increase since last month. All but one of the Utah cities tracked by AAA saw a double digit increase in its average price. All of the mountain states report an increase in their average price.
The national average for regular, serlf-serve gasoline is $3.12. That is a 3-cent increase from last month's AAA survey and 47 cents higher than a year ago. Among the areas where AAA tracks fuel prices, the least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyo., where for the second consecutive month the average price of gas is $2.68. The highest average price in the nation is in Wailuku, Hawaii, where the average price per gallon is $4.01. Among the lower 48 states, the highest average price reported by AAA is in Eureka, Calif., where the average price is $3.62. California's average price of $3.41 is the highest price in the lower 48.
"Recent uncertainty about the political turmoil in Egypt has helped to make investors nervous, forcing up the price of crude," explained Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "However, over the past week investors finally took notice that the United States' oil reserves had risen, showing a decrease in demand. This helped to stabilize the price per barrel."
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, weekly averages for gasoline demand have been dropping for the last six weeks. Just this week, traders begrudgingly agreed that market fundamentals - hefty crude supply and weak demand - needed to be accounted for an, while keeping one eye firmly trained on Egypt, oil prices began to retreat. This downward pressure on crude prices was counpounded by strength in the U.S. Dollar versus the Euro. When the dollar strengthens, investors, including those hlding foreign currencies, are less likely to invest in commodities, including crude, which pressures prices down.
"Despite bearish fundamental data for gasoline," said Fairclough, "consumers have continued to see prices rise at the pump."
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are averaging $3 or more per gallon for self-service regular. That's nine more than the total listed on AAA's gas prices survey one month ago.