Utah among highest gas prices in nation despite dropping costs

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 00:26:07-05

SALT LAKE CITY - For the sixth straight month, gas prices dropped both nationally and locally in Utah.

With sanctions being lifted against Iran over the weekend, it seems as though that trend will continue for at least the foreseeable future.

As of Monday, the national average for prices dipped to $1.89, down from $2 from a month ago.

Yet, the average price in Utah remained over $2.01, one of the top 15 highest prices nationwide.

"I believe we are seeing a lot of our refinery product going and filling our supply needs to the West Coast," said Rolane Fairclaugh, a spokeswoman for Utah's AAA.  "California's prices are high, and so are Washington, Oregon, and Nevada's right now."

Fairclaugh said the western states are having some difficulties with refineries.  As a result, supplies in other states, like Utah, are being sent out west to help fill the void, driving up prices here as a result.

Another reason for the higher-than-average prices in Utah include a recent 5-cent-per-gallon state tax that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Still, as price-per-barrel continues to drop worldwide, it looks as though prices everywhere will continue to drop.  However, they may not drop much further.

The current price per barrel sits at $28 as of Monday.  Exactly one year ago, prices were around $50 a barrel.

However, gas prices at the pump were relatively the same price despite the disparity. That's because oil companies and refineries have to turn a profit.

Dropping prices much lower than they are now, one local refinery spokesperson admits, would make that next to impossible.​