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Utah pump prices up 14 cents from last month

Published: Tuesday, March 12 2013 12:17 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The average price for gasoline moved up in the Beehive State over the past four weeks.

The current price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.41 — up 14 cents from last month, but 15 cents lower than a year ago, according to AAA Utah. Only two states in the Mountain West region have prices lower than Utah — Wyoming at $3.32 and Montana at $3.36.

Of all the Utah cities surveyed, each reported hikes of at least 14 cents since last month, with St. George reporting the highest increase at 23 cents, followed by Moab at 20 cents.

Nationally, the average price is $3.70 per gallon — 10 cents higher than last month’s AAA gas report, but a dime less than a year ago. Hawaii reported the highest average price at $4.40 per gallon, with California recording the highest average price in the 48 contiguous states at $4.17 a gallon. Wyoming had the lowest average price in the country at $3.32.

“The steady increase in prices early this year was caused by refinery maintenance and infrastructure concerns rather than higher prices for crude oil,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. “It is too early to say whether retail prices have peaked for the spring because there are refinery concerns and the transition to summer-blend gasoline is not complete.”

She said that even if prices do increase, AAA predicts that the national average price will likely crest lower and earlier than in recent years.

At the close of formal trading on Monday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices settled up 11 cents to $92.06 per barrel. By comparison, on the nearest trading day in 2011 and 2012, West Texas Intermediate settled at $101.16 and $106.34 respectively, Fairclough explained.

These more expensive prices were driven by violence and geopolitical tensions overseas (Libya in 2011 and Iran in 2012), she said.

“Without similar concerns at the beginning of 2013, crude oil prices have been less expensive and volatile,” Fairclough added.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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