SALT LAKE CITY — After a steep monthly hike, Utah gas prices are now among the highest in the nation.
A new report from AAA Utah showed that gasoline prices have increased across the country, with Utah’s pump prices surging 40 cents in the past month, making the state’s average price the fifth-highest in the lower 48 states.
Only Alaska, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington report prices higher than Utah. Some areas of the state saw prices increase as much as 15 percent in one month.
The average price at the pump in Utah is $2.93 for a gallon of regular gas — 40 cents higher than last month but still 65 cents less than the same period last year.
Of the Beehive State cities surveyed by AAA, all posted increases ranging from 32 cents in Moab to 41 cents in both St. George and Provo. St. George was the only Utah city surveyed to register an average price of more than $3.
Nationally, the average price increased in 26 of the past 28 days, data showed. The current national average price is $2.66 a gallon, a bump of 27 cents from a month ago but 99 cents less than a year ago.
California drivers are paying the highest average price in the country at $3.72 a gallon, while South Carolina motorists enjoy the lowest average price at $2.37 per gallon.
“West Coast refinery issues are blamed for playing havoc with gasoline prices in the region as product is moved to the area,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. “Hopefully, the refinery issues will be resolved soon, as the upcoming Memorial Day holiday ushers in the beginning of the summer travel season and Utah gas prices typically increase during the summer because of the increased demand.”
Crude oil prices have moved higher since mid-March due to the slowing of U.S. production, a weakening U.S. dollar and speculation of increased demand in China, Fairclough explained. Despite the price increase, many oil analysts believe the recent rally may be nearing an end due to continuing oversupply that characterizes the global market, she said.