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Here's why Utahns are seeing gas prices nearing $4 a gallon

Posted at 8:33 AM, Feb 10, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Over the past several days, Utahns have seen gas prices sneaking back up again and as of Friday morning, it costs drivers on average $3.76 for a gallon of gas in the Beehive State.

On Thursday, the average price per gallon of gas was $3.71, which means Utah prices have risen by five cents in about 24 hours.

CHEAP GAS: Here's where to find the cheapest gas across Utah

In addition, prices have risen by about 17 cents since last week and 53 cents since last month.

Nationally, it costs above $3.43 on average for a gallon of gas, according to AAA.

In a statement earlier this week, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox blamed the rising prices on a Utah refinery closing for annual maintenance that's taking longer than expected.

"Utah’s gasoline prices typically increase in March because of higher demand; however, due to the regional supply decrease, those price increases have jumpstarted earlier than expected," Cox said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this comes on top of an increase in natural gas prices, and we’re very concerned about those struggling to make ends meet."

He also said a Colorado refinery shut down in December due to malfunctioning equipment and a series of safety concerns, placing additional strain on supply in the Rocky Mountain region.

The company is making repairs and it's expected that the refinery will be back up and running again in March.

Skyler McKinley with the American Automobile Association expanded on the impacts of the closed refinery.

"The Suncor refinery outside Commerce City, which supplies about 35% to 40% of all the refined gas that we use as a state, is down. It's going to continue to be down until March," said McKinley. "How quickly are rising in Colorado is almost entirely attributable to the fact that we lost a lot of our supply here in the state. It just costs more to truck, train and pipeline fuel into Colorado than refined it on-site."

With the increased prices, Cox said leaders are especially concerned about negative impacts on those with lower incomes and larger families.

In a statement, he pointed to resources for those in need in order to keep basic utilities on during cold weather.

“The HEAT program provides energy assistance to those with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty level," a statement reads in part. "We also have great partnerships with Dominion Energy and Rocky Mountain Power that provide additional credits for low-income households.”