Gasoline prices in the Castle Valley region and across Utah continue to drop, relieving the strain on the pocketbooks of local motorists.
On Dec. 10, the average per gallon price for regular unleaded gasoline at the self-serve pumps in Carbon County registered at $1.67.
At the state level, prices declined a 74 cents per gallon in the last month as the worldwide economic slowdown continues its grip, reports AAA, which tracks gasoline prices as a service to consumers.
Utah's average price for regular, self-serve gasoline is $1.61, a 74 cent drop from last month's report.
The average price is $1.46 less than Utah motorists paid last year. The per gallon cost is also $2.61 less than the highest recorded Utah price of $4.22.
Currently, only 11 states are reporting lower average gasoline prices than Utah.
"It was only five months ago that oil was selling for more than three times today's price, and economists speculated what its peak price would be," explained Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "Today, the decreased the demand for oil has created a glut on the world market and OPEC has difficulties controlling the price."
"Even though there are calls to reduce production levels, these cuts in the short term would further reduce members' revenues while inviting non-OPEC countries to step in to supply the market," indicated the AAA Utah spokesperson.
The national average price is $1.70, a 52 cent drop from last month's report. The present average pump cost is $1.30 less than a year ago and $2.41 less than the highest $4.11 per gallon price recorded last July.
Only three states - Alaska, Hawaii and New York - reported average prices exceeding $2 per gallon.
Alaska has the highest average gasoline price at $2.71 per gallon.
New York's price, $2.05, is the highest in the lower 48.
The lowest average price can be found in Missouri at $1.48.
Of the Utah cities surveyed by AAA, Moab has the highest average price at $1.89 per gallon, a 70 cent drop from last month.
Ogden's average, $1.52, is 76 cents lower than last month's report and is the lowest average price.
Vernal's price dropped 83 cents this past month. The current price in Vernal is $1.80.
The current average price in St. George is $1.65, an 84 cent decrease from last month.
Motorists are paying an average of $1.55 per gallon at gas pumps in Salt Lake City, Provo and Logan.
The current average price represents a 69 cent decline at the self-serve pumps in Salt Lake City, a 72 cent decrease in Provo and a 77 cent drop in Logan this past month.
Surrounding states also reported substantial decreases in the cost of gasoline, noted the AAA Utah spokesperson.
Idaho's average price decreased 70 cents to the current average, $1.65.
Montana's price dropped 56 cents to $1.67.
Wyoming's average price, $1.60 per gallon is 58 cents lower than last month's report.
Colorado motorists saw prices drop 53 cents to the current average, $1.66.
Arizona's average price, $1.74 is 70 cents lower than a month ago.
Nevada's price dropped 60 cents to $1.84.
California's average price, $1.80 is 72 cents lower than November's report.
The lower prices may encourage motorists to consider driving vacations during the holidays, pointed out the AAA Utah spokesperson.
Current prices in close destination cities included Las Vegas, Nev., at $1.82; San Francisco, Calif., at $1.87; Denver, Colo., at $1.58; Los Angeles, Calif., at $1.80; and Phoenix, Ariz., at $1.69 per gallon.
"Gasoline and oil prices at these levels may help spark demand and perhaps become a factor for economic growth," pointed out Fairclough.
"Unfortunately, these prices are extremely harmful to those who made investments in alternative energy and new sources of oil. These efforts were economical when barrel prices were $90 to $100, but do not make economic sense at prices at or lower than current levels," added the AAA Utah spokesperson
AAA's fuel gauge report is a comprehensive retail gasoline survey available, with more than 85,000 self-serve stations polled daily nationally. Data is provided in cooperation with OPIS Energy Group and Wright Express.