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Gas prices creeping ever higher

By Jed Boal  |  Posted Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:24pm


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Gas prices hit record highs today and may go even higher, possibly reaching $5 per gallon by summertime. That would be the most that gas has ever cost in this country, and if it goes that high, the economic recovery could slow.

That's what worries Holly Langston. She drives a lot. From running her kids around town to making trips into the city from Tooele, she spends most of her hard earned money at the pump.

"When I work, my paycheck covers my gas," Langston said. "Four dollars a gallon scares me to death."

And soon she could pay out much more for gasoline. Five dollars a gallon - is a real possibility. Over the past month gas prices in Utah jumped about 12 cents to an average of $3.10 per gallon for regular. Analysts say prices will shoot even higher.

"We just don't know from week to week how bad it could get," said John Hofmeister, the former CEO of shell oil.

Monday, the national average was $3.56 a gallon, with some states paying much more. Hawaii and California had the highest prices, both over $4 per gallon.

Gas price stats
Highest Prices

Hawaii - 4.257
California - 4.031
Alaska - 4.008
New York - 3.865

Lowest Prices

Wyoming - 2.998
Colorado - 3.054
Utah - 3.087
Montana - 3.116

Source: gasbuddy.com

"Americans feel sick to their stomach when they see that and it impacts the purchases that they make," said Patrick Dehaan, senior petroleum analyst at gasbuddy.com. "So if gas prices go up even further it's likely that we will see a dent in the economy"

Right now the inter-mountain West has some of the lowest gas prices in the country. But Utahns have said if they go up, something else will have to give.

"I would definitely find myself going to the grocery store less," said Johnny Harris, a frequent driver. "I probably wouldn't go out to eat as much."

Langston said she would look at getting a smaller car.

The highest-ever national average price per gallon was $4.11, recorded on July 17th, 2008. A day later, Utah saw its highest-ever average at $4.22 per gallon.

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