Gas prices are on the rise in Utah where the average price for a gallon of gas on Thursday was $3.10, Rolayne Fairclough, spokeswoman for AAA Utah told South Utah’s The Spectrum.
With only Hawaii, Alaska and California posting higher prices that makes Utah’s gas prices the fourth highest in the nation. This is a huge leap over last month when Utah’s gas prices were the 17th highest in the U.S.
The national average was $2.86 per gallon on Thursday, Fairclough told The Spectrum. The price jump in Utah is due to increased investment activity in oil and other commodities, which is pushing prices upward, Fairclough noted. The closure of a Flying J oil refinery in Davis could also be a contributing factor, possibly disturbing the market by stifling product availability to an extent.
When gas prices inch over the $3 mark it can serves as a psychological barrier for some consumers, and could have an impact on driving practices as customers keep tighter fuel budgets in this economy.
Troy Newby, the owner of Hilltop Conoco in Utah, told The Spectrum he has seen the rising gas prices affect customer purchase practices.
“They can’t afford to come in and buy a Snickers bar,” he said. “They just cut back on some of their treats and do what they can to survive.” He added that his profit margin on gasoline is about 6-8 cents per gallon, regardless of the price.
Fairclough predicts further price hikes are ahead for Utah as warm weather increases demand for fuel, and gasoline formulated for the summer is more expensive.