Utah motorists are experiencing sticker shock at the pump after seeing gas prices hit new all-time record highs over the past month, according to the latest report from AAA Utah, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers.
On August 14, the average price for a gallon of gas in Utah hit $2.98, a new all-time record high. Prices continue to average $2.98 today. According to automobile association, the average price for regular, self-serve gasoline in Utah has jumped 11 cents in the last month and is 60 cents higher than this time last year.
"This marks a dramatic change for Utah motorists, who just once month ago were paying some of the lowest prices in the country for gasoline," said Rolayne Fairclough, spokesperson for AAA Utah. "The good news is prices throughout the country have started to decline over the past week so Utahns should start feeling some relief from these record highs soon as well."
While prices remain high, there are signs of improvement on the horizon. Recent events that threatened to drive fuel prices up have not had a significant impact on the energy markets as expected. Problems with an oil pipeline in Alaska have had less of an effect on output from the region than some analysts originally feared when the situation was revealed last week. A ceasefire in Lebanon seems to have eased immediate concerns that the military conflict there might spread throughout the Middle East region and threaten oil production. In addition, U.S. oil inventories remain at healthy levels, and production of gasoline continues to be strong.
The current national average price for a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline is $3. This is an increase of 3 cents from last month and 52 cents from a year ago. The current average price reflects a drop from last week when prices reached over $3.03 a gallon in response to the closure of the BP oil field in Alaska and international tensions. The highest recorded national average price was $3.06 on Sept. 5, 2005.
All of the cities surveyed in the report saw substantial price increases since the last survey on July 11. The largest increase, 14 cents, took place in Logan. The current average price in Logan is $2.99 per gallon for regular, self-serve gasoline. Prices increased 12 cents in Moab, Ogden and Salt Lake City this past month. The current average price is $2.93. Provo motorists are paying an average of 10 cents more at the pump this month. The average price in Provo is $2.96. The average price increased 9 cents in St. George to $3.02. Vernal's prices increased 5 cents to the current average of $2.97 a gallon.
Gas prices rocketed upward throughout the entire Intermountain West this past month. Idaho's price increased 13 cents from the last month to the current average price of $3.02. Montana saw the highest increase of all the states in the Intermountain West. The prices in Montana increased a whopping 29 cents to the current average of $3.14. Wyoming's price increased 22 cents to the current average price of $3.03. Colorado's prices increased 11 cents to the current average of $3.06 per gallon for regular, self-serve gasoline. Nevada's price increased a nickel to the current average of $3.07. Arizona and California motorists enjoyed a drop in their average price. The average price in Arizona is down a penny to $2.92. The current average cost of a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline in California is $3.22, 4 cents lower than last month's average.