Utah motorists didn't get much of a holiday gift: Gasoline prices on Tuesday were down 4 cents from a month ago, according to figures released by AAA Utah.

Utah's average price for a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline is $3.03, down from $3.07 on Dec. 11 but nonetheless 74 cents above the average price last January.

Fifteen states have lower averages than Utah. The national average price is $3.11, up 11 cents from December and 80 cents higher than a year ago.

"The first quarter is traditionally a time of lower oil and gasoline prices as demand drops while the country waits out winter," said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. "This scenario is in stark contrast to this year, when the barrel price is almost double from last year and the national average gasoline price is increasing."

AAA Utah surveys a limited number of communities across the state in its monthly gas report. Individual service stations sell gas at both higher and lower prices, sometimes in the same city block. AAA's report focuses on self-serve regular gasoline without regard to its octane level.

Among cities in the Utah survey, Moab saw the biggest decrease from December, slipping 19 cents to an average of $3. Ogden motorists were paying 9 cents less per gallon, at $2.98.

Other Utah decreases were in Provo, where gas prices fell 5 cents to $3 per gallon; Salt Lake City, with a 4-cent drop to $2.98; Vernal, 4 cents lower at $3.05; St. George, with a 3-cent drop to $3.11; and Logan, where prices fell 2 cents to $3.05.

Utah sits between the least-expensive gasoline-sale site in the most and the most-expensive site in the lower 48 states. The cheapest is in Casper, Wyo., where motorists are forking over an average of $2.76 per gallon. San Franciscans are paying $3.56. Wailuki, Hawaii, on the island of Maui, has the highest overall U.S. average, at $3.86 per gallon.

Most of Utah's neighboring states likewise saw decreases. The largest was in Montana, where the $3.01 per gallon average is down 13 cents. Other decreases were in Idaho, down 4 cents to $3.07; Wyoming, down 7 cents to $2.92; and Colorado, down 3 cents to $2.29.

The average of $2.99 in Arizona was the same as in December. Nevada's price rose a penny per gallon to $3.14.

AAA's Fuel Finder, at www.aaa.com/gasprices, features real-time information on gas prices at more than 85,000 gasoline stations throughout the United States.


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