Utah's gas prices 9th highest in nation

Utah's gas prices 9th highest in nation

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's average gas price, $2.45 a gallon, is the ninth highest in the nation, according to a new report released Tuesday from AAA Utah.

Problems with the Wasatch Pipeline that carries crude oil from the Evanston, Wyoming, area to Salt Lake refineries are to blame, said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokeswoman.

The pipeline was shut down on Feb. 10 because of apparent soil movement, she said, which forced local refineries to reduce production and rely on more expensive truck transportation of crude oil.

"The current high prices in Utah are not usual for this time of year because demand is typically rather low and refiners use these weeks to sell off supplies of winter formulated fuel before changing to summer blend," Fairclough said.

The states with higher prices at the pump than Utah right now are Hawaii, at $3.08 a gallon, followed by California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho and Pennsylvania. The cheapest gas is $2.03 a gallon in South Carolina.

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A year ago, Utahns were paying 63 cents less per gallon of gas and a month ago, the average price was 18 cents lower. Currently, the national average per-gallon cost is $2.29, an increase of just 1 cent per gallon since mid-February.

"Prices can be expected to move upward over the next month due to refinery maintenance and the May 1 deadline for switching over to summer-blend gasoline," Fairclough said, even as prices continue to drop nationally.

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Lisa Riley Roche

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