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SALT LAKE CITY — Fuel prices in Utah are heating up along with the weather, but not as quickly as in previous months.
Gasoline prices are moderating a bit, according to the latest survey by AAA Utah, with a monthly increase of 11 cents, compared with the 40-cent surge Utahns experienced last month.
The Beehive State is paying on average $3.03 per gallon for regular gas — 11 cents higher than last month, but 55 cents less than the same period one year ago. The report showed that Utah registered the fourth highest average price in the lower 48 states behind only California, Nevada and Washington.
Utah reported a higher price over the past 76 days than its northern neighbor of Idaho in spite of a higher gasoline tax in the Gem State and the fact that Idaho has no refineries and must import its fuel with Utah as a major supplier.
“A penny can mean a lot … when analyzing gasoline costs,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. “AAA analysts calculate that in Utah, 1 cent in the cost of gasoline translates to over $11 million annually.”
In Utah, 1 cent in the cost of gasoline translates to over $11 million annually.
–Rolayne Fairclough, AAA
Nationwide the average price of gasoline registered at $2.75 per gallon — up 9 cents over a month ago, but 90 cents lower than last year at this time. The highest price among all 50 states was in California at $3.59 a gallon, while the lowest average price was found in South Carolina at $2.46 per gallon.
Fairclough said prices nationally are poised for a seasonal decline due to refineries having mostly completed seasonal maintenance as they gear up for the summer driving season. She noted that barring an unforeseen issue, the cost of crude oil is unlikely to rise significantly.
As expected, OPEC voted to maintain its current production levels at the June 5 meeting in Vienna, and the global market is likely to remain oversupplied in the near term, Fairclough said. The cartel is expected to continue to monitor developments and may reassess its decision at the next meeting in December, she added.
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose $1.13 to settle at $59.13 per barrel at the close of formal commodities trading Friday, Fairclough noted.