Gas prices dropping

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Utah is ranked by AAA Utah as the 17th most expensive state to buy gasoline, but Utah has seen double-digit decreases at the pump over the last month.

Utah’s current average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.42, which is a decrease of 17 cents since last month’s AAA report on Oct. 11.

“It is great to see prices going down, I used to pay nearly $50 to fill up my tiny car,” said Meryll Larson, a Provo resident. “I usually shop for the best prices when I need to fill up, but it is great to see prices all over coming down.”

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Mohammad Rezaie changes the gas prices at his Union 76 gas station in Oakland, Calif. Consumers paid less for gas, cars and computers last month, as overall prices dropped for the first time since June. Inflation is easing after prices rose sharply this spring.
Recently, uncertainty about the Euro xone debt crisis has been a driving force behind crude oil prices. The price of crude oil jumped in October by 24 percent. Since then, figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show demand for gasoline has remained steady over the past three weeks, helping the price to come back down.

“Besides decreasing demand for gasoline, a stronger U.S. dollar has helped to keep oil and gas prices down over the past month,” said Matt Skryja, a spokesman for AAA Utah. “Oil futures are priced in U.S. dollars and as the currency strengthens, relative to those abroad, the effective purchasing power of those holding foreign currencies weakens.”

Skryja said as the dollar is strengthened oil futures become a less attractive investment and puts downward pressure on gas prices.

“I’m just glad I don’t live in California or somewhere where gas is really expensive,” said Alison Stewart, a Lehi resident who recently moved to Utah from California. “I remember buying gas for as much as $5 a gallon.”

California leads the lower 48 states with the highest average price per gallon of $3.84. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Albuquerque, at $3.07 per gallon.

One way consumers can reduce the amount of money they spend on fuel is to shop aggressively for the lowest price. Smartphone apps and websites such as aaa.com/gas help consumers find the best rates.

AAA Utah recommends keeping a vehicle’s tires at the proper pressure to get the best mileage possible while driving. Smooth driving, lightening the car’s load, performing routine maintenance and making sure fluids are clean can also help conserve gasoline.

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