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Average gas pump prices jump in county, across state

Gas prices across Utah jumped more in the last four weeks than any other state in the intermountain west.

According to AAA Utah, the average statewide price for a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline registered at $1.98 last week.

The cost is 22 cents higher than reported on March 10 by AAA Utah.

Carbon County motorists paid $1.89 at the pumps until the average climbed to $2 during the weekend.

Utah's 22 cent jump is the greatest increase in prices for one month in all of the Intermountain West.

Utah prices rose from the second lowest average price in the country to the 18th lowest.

The International Energy Agency's recently released report suggested that global demand for oil may fall to the lowest level in about five years in 2009 due primarily to the global recession, explained the organization.

A drop of the projected magnitude would mark a nearly 3 percent fall in the global demand for oil compared to last year, indicated AAA Utah.

"Decreasing demand, together with a glut in supplies at refineries in the United States, should help stabilize prices as we go into the driving months of summer," pointed out Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "The increases in spring are typical and caused by the anticipated demand as the weather warms and summer approaches and the higher cost of summer formulated fuel."

Nationally, prices at gas pumps across the United States appear to be stabilizing, continued the AAA Utah representative.

The national average price registered at $2.05 per gallon last week. The pump cost is 14 cents higher than March, but only 1 cent higher than two weeks ago.

Alaska has the highest average price, $2.54. California has the highest price in the lower 48 states at $2.34. New Jersey motorists are enjoying the lowest average price, $1.88. Twenty-eight states report average prices over the $2 mark.

All the Utah cities surveyed by AAA experienced significant increases in gasoline prices since last month's report on March 10.

Logan's increase, 27 cents, was the largest. The average price in Logan is currently $1.97.

Moab's price jumped 26 cents to $2.03, while Salt Lake City motorists saw pump costs increase 24 cents to an average price of $1.95.

Ogden and Provo's prices increased 23 cents to $1.96 per gallon at the self-serve gas pumps.

St. George's price rose 20 cents to $2.05, while Vernal's average pump cost climbed 17 cents to $1.94.

"Oil prices have hovered in the $50 per barrel range over the past few months," said Fairclough. "There are many factors that contribute to the relative stability in oil prices. These include unease over the direction in the global economy, weak consumer spending, and significant oil and gasoline stockpiles."

Gas prices climbed in nearly all intermountain states, with the exception of Nevada and Arizona.

The price dropped 2 cents in Nevada to $2.15. Arizona's price dropped 7 cents to $1.92.

Idaho's price increased 20 cents a gallon to $2.02. Montana's price jumped 14 cents to $2.08.

Wyoming's motorists experienced a 19 cents increase to $1.93 a gallon.

Colorado's price also increased 19 cents this past month. The current price in Colorado is $2.02. California's price increased 14 cents to $2.34 a gallon.

Gasoline prices in nearby destination cities included Los Angeles, Calif., $2.33; San Diego, Calif., $2.36; San Francisco, Calif., $2.37; Las Vegas, Nev., $2.13; Reno, Nev., $2.13; Phoenix, Ariz., $1.84; Boise, Idaho, $2.01; and Denver, Colo., $1.97.

Proper motor vehicles maintenance and appropriate driving practices can help stretch gasoline dollars, noted AAA Utah.

As the temperatures continue to warm, local motorists should consider using vent settings rather than air conditioning.

A well-maintained vehicle with clean fluids, flexible belts and hoses tends to run more effectively. Therefore, the vehicle is cheaper to drive.

Decreasing unnecessary loads inside the vehicle, keeping tires at proper pressure and driving smoothly without sudden starts and stops will also help conserve gasoline.

AAA's fuel gauge report is a comprehensive retail gasoline survey, with more than 85,000 self-serve stations contacted daily.

Data is provided in cooperation with OPIS Energy Group and Wright Express.

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