Utahns fearing a recession have cut back on driving, which has led to high supplies in gasoline and a small decrease in gas prices this month.

Utah's average price for a gallon of regular, self-service gasoline is $2.99, down four cents from Jan. 8's average of $3.03, according to figures released by AAA Utah on Tuesday.

"Typically, driving habits are not significantly altered because of high gasoline prices," said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. "It is only when combined with other factors that drivers make dramatic changes to their driving patterns. Concerns about recession and the continuing encroachment of high gasoline prices on business and family budgets appear to be causing a significant change in driving habits."

Although gas prices have dropped in Utah, they remain 83 cents higher than a year ago. The highest average price was $3.28 on May 31, 2007.

AAA Utah surveys a handful of communities across the state. Individual gas stations sell gas at higher and lower prices. AAA's report focuses on self-serve regular gas without regard to octane level.

AAA found the average gas price in Salt Lake City is $2.93 a gallon. In Logan, the price is $3.01. In Provo and St. George, the average gallon costs $2.98. In Vernal, it is $3.03 and in Ogden, it is $2.96.

Moab was the only city that AAA found an increase from last month. Gas is now $3.06, up 6 cents.

"The drop in demand has played out over a significant period of time to show that it is more than just a momentary reaction to high prices," Fairclough said.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.96. Twenty-two states currently have higher gas prices than Utah, including in Wailuku, Hawaii, on the island of Maui, where a gallon of gas costs $3.88. Drivers in Springfield, Mo., have the cheapest gas at $2.73 a gallon.


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