If Riverton or South Jordan is searching for promotional banners to fly above their city entrances, either could try, "Home of the lowest gas prices in Utah."
For the past two months, pump prices in this southwest section of Salt Lake County consistently have been about 8 cents to 10 cents per gallon cheaper than other areas. Friday's average price among service stations in Riverton and the west end of South Jordan was $1.17 a gallon for unleaded regular, compared to a valleywide average of $1.26.At that price, it probably wouldn't be stretching it to say the area has the lowest fuel prices in the country.
But banners advertising the bargain basement price for fuel aren't necessary. The word is out.
"I come down once a week to visit my family and fill up," said Karen Hansen, who lives in Kamas, where she said gasoline costs about $1.46 a gallon.
Driving more than 60 miles to save 30 cents is a bit extreme. But Riverton city officials say people from around the valley flock to the service stations in this out-of-the-way community more than two miles west of the I-15, between 10600 South and 12600 South.
"One of our stores has tripled its gallonage (the number of gallons sold) compared to the same time last year," said a convenience store official, who spoke on condition he not be identified.
Nevertheless, many service stations and convenience stores aren't too excited about the increased business resulting from the low prices. Elsewhere in Salt Lake County, as wholesale prices plummet, retailers are delaying the drop in the pump price to pull in some extra profit during this time of year when business is slow.
But not in Riverton.
Only one service station owner would talk on the record about it. He confirmed other reports that the price plunge in Riverton and South Jordan can be attributed to one individual.
"I don't understand why he is against making a profit," said Denny Brown, owner of Denny's Auto Service in Riverton.
This hero to consumers and pain to competitors is Jim Kheralleh, owner of Montie's Bestway on the corner of 10600 South and Redwood Road in South Jordan and Premier Riverton at 12166 S. Redwood Road in Riverton. But Kheralleh, who operates 11 convenience stores in Utah, didn't want to talk much either.
All he would say is that accusations by his competitors that he is selling below cost - which is against the law in Utah - are not true. "I make more than 6 percent," he said, referring to the minimum profit margin required by the Utah Motor Fuels Marketing Act.