Utah gas prices drop below national average; Logan prices remain higher

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Utah gas prices have dropped below the national average, but Logan has had the smallest price drop in the state as the holiday season continues.

According to AAA, the average gas price in Utah is $2.18 compared to the national average of $2.21. A gallon in Logan costs more than the national average, at $2.28.

Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson, credits the Utah price drop to a robust supply and decreased demand.

While the average price of gas across Utah has dropped 17 cents from Nov. 8 to Dec. 13, the price in Logan only dropped by 8 cents. Vernal, St. George, Moab and Logan have the highest prices in the state.

“All of the outlying areas, they have the higher prices,” Fairclough said.

The cost of trucking in fuel rises in more rural areas. Also, there are fewer gas stations in less populated areas, which creates less competition than places like Ogden and Salt Lake City.

In her 20 years of watching gas prices, Fairclough said Utah prices are consistently above the national average in the summer. In the winter, Utah is typically below the national average, sometimes down to the lowest 10 or 15 states. Utah currently has the 27th highest average cost of gas.

“Now, we’re not that low,” Fairclough said.

Fairclough attributes this to Utah refineries transporting more oil to Nevada, Idaho and the Northeast. Also, Utah has a growing population. Oil, however, is a global commodity.

On Nov. 30, OPEC agreed to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day beginning January 2017. John Rogers, associate director of Utah Oil, Gas and Mining, said oil prices have risen significantly in the past few weeks in reaction to the agreement.

“If it is honored and oil production is cut back worldwide, then that would raise oil prices here and most likely gasoline prices,” Rogers said.

Fairclough said the Rocky Mountain states generally have a very protective supply of oil from Canada and domestic producers, which can insulate prices in Utah, keeping them low.

“We still have an incredible glut in supply in the system … it’s not like all of a sudden we are without this huge cushion; we still have that, so we will see how long this is sustained,” Fairclough said.

She said gas prices tend to “go up like a rocket and down like a feather,” but if the markets follow the normal trend, Fairclough expects to see lower prices in the coming months.

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