SALT LAKE CITY — It was nice while it lasted, but what a difference one month can make.
In January, the AAA Gas Price Report showed Utah with the lowest fuel price in the country after dropping 50 cents from December, with six states registering average prices less than $3.00. Today, however, Utah’s average price is 37 cents higher, and no states report average prices below $3.00. Two states have prices over $4.00.
The current average price in Utah for a gallon of regular gasoline is at $3.27. Even with the dramatic increases, Utah has the fourth lowest average price in the nation, with only Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming registering lower prices than the Beehive state.
All of the Utah cities tracked in the monthly report showed double digit increases. Logan motorists saw prices climb 56 cents while Vernal’s price increased 16 cents. The remaining cities report increases between 30 and 37 cents.
The national average price is $3.60 per gallon — 29 cents higher than a month ago and 9 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price has increased for 26 consecutive days, which is the longest streak since February and March 2012.
Drivers in California saw prices rise above the $4 mark with the current average price at $4.06 — the highest in the lower 48 states. Hawaii reported the highest average prices in the nation at $4.24, while Wyoming had the lowest average price in the country at $3.07 per gallon.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices declined slightly last week but moved up Monday before settling $1.31 higher at $97.03 per barrel — up $3.84 higher from January.
“Dramatic increases like those experienced since mid-January typically result from escalating geopolitical tensions or extreme weather disturbances,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. “The recent increases can be attributed to more expensive crude oil and, more notably, to regional refinery issues plus the approaching switchover to summer-blend gasoline."