Utah Gas Prices Spark Investigation, Huntsman Looks to Source of Fifth-Highest Gas Prices


    By Ashley Evanson

    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. directed the Utah Department of Commerce and Utah”s Energy Adviser to begin an investigation of high gas prices in Utah.

    As of Wednesday, Utah ranked fifth highest in the nation for highest gas prices, according to AAA”s Fuel Gauge Report, which tracks gas prices across the nation daily. The investigation will look to find the reasons behind such elevated prices and ultimately try to lower them, said John Hill, state executive for Utah Petroleum Marketers & Retailers Association.

    In Utah, one gallon of regular gas averages $2.86, 39 cents higher than the national average of $2.47. Only four states- Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada and Idaho- have higher gas prices than Utah. Hawaii is the highest in the nation at $3.23, and Missouri is the lowest at $2.15, according to the report.

    “This time of year prices should be dropping. We are even higher than California, and that”s just a very, very different situation,” said Roylayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokewoman.

    While Utah gas prices remain high, the rest of the nation has seen falling prices within the last month. Gas prices have recently been higher than average nationwide because the industry was anticipating a major hurricane season. With only two more months left in the season, prices are expected to fall, Fairclough said.

    The current price in Provo for one gallon of regular gasoline is $2.85, a 10-cent decrease from last month, but still 4 cents higher than one year ago.

    Hill recently told the Deseret Morning News oil refineries were partly to blame. There are five refineries that provide the majority of gasoline to Utahns, and three of them were down for maintenance. The result raised prices on the limited gas available in order to meet demand.

    However, this isn”t true, Lee Peacock, the president of Utah Petroleum Association, later told the Deseret Morning News. Peacock blames it on Utah”s booming economy.

    With the blame constantly shifting, Utahns are left in the dark as to what really is the problem.

    “I understand that things change in the economy, and there”s always stuff the public doesn”t know about, but I think it”d be nice to know what”s really going on,” said Klysta Brooks, a junior from Granby, Mass.

    Upset Utahns who are tired of pointing fingers hope that the investigation of high gas prices will get both answers and results – and fast.

    “We are anxious to do all we can to get results in an area as important as gasoline prices for all Utahns,” Huntsman said in a news release.

    AAA Fuel Efficiency Tips:

    * Consolidate trips and errands to cut down on driving time and keep needless miles off the odometer.

    * Slow down. The faster a vehicle travels, the more gas it burns.

    * Lighten the load. Don”t haul extra weight.

    * Routinely maintain your vehicle. Keeping tires inflated, moving components properly lubricated and ignition and emission systems operating properly will help your vehicle achieve maximum fuel economy and extend its useful life.

    For more tips visit AAA”s Web site at www.aaa.com

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