Consumer prices in Utah down as fuel prices drop

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 12:15 p.m. MST

Kyle Williams pumps diesel fuel into an underground storage tank at the rate of one gallon per second Thursday morning, Jan. 3, 2013.

Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Consumer prices had the largest decline in almost three years last month.

According to a report released Wednesday, the Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index fell by 0.7 percent from November to December — the most since 2009.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national, non-seasonally adjusted CPI decreased by 0.3 percent. The decline was driven by falling gasoline prices in Utah and across the United States. Fuel prices in Utah followed the downward national trend, driving down transportation prices 3.9 percent month-over-month.

Transportation costs account for almost 20 percent of the average Utahn’s monthly expenditures, so falling prices in this area can have a profound impact on consumer spending, the report states. Housing prices, including rent and hotel fees, also decreased 0.2 percent from November to December, while conversely, U.S. housing prices increased by 0.1 percent.

Most of the other goods that make up the CPI increased in price in December.

“Gasoline price fluctuations were a big story in 2012,” said Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson. "Volatility defined much of the economy in 2012, and still we here in Utah are much better off than we were 12, 24, or 36 months ago.” 

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