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One year ago vs. today: Comparing gas price changes in Utah vs. national average

Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 09, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utahns are finally seeing a decrease in gas prices after a painful period of rising costs, the state average is 69 cents above the national average for a gallon of regular.

Why is that? Comparing the change in gas prices between Utah and the rest of the country sheds some light.

One year ago on Aug. 9, 2021, the average cost of gas in the United States was 84 cents per gallon cheaper than it is today.

The cost in Utah was also 84 cents cheaper one year ago.

In other words: Gas prices in Utah haven’t increased more than prices nationwide, but the prices simply started higher.

The months-long spike was clearly a product of inflation and other market pressures, but inflation is not responsible for the difference between a gallon in Utah and one in Texas or another state.

READ: Explaining why Utah's gas prices are still high

One reason why Utah and other western states are paying so much is the Rocky Mountains. The nation's biggest oil producers and refiners are on the other side of the mountains in Texas and other southeastern states.

Also, states west of the Rockies tend to have high gas taxes, with the coastal states and Nevada being especially high. But Utah and Idaho take more taxes at the pump than neighbors in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

The Associated Press reports that thanks largely to falling gas prices, overall inflation is expected to ease, albeit only slightly.

The government’s inflation report for July, to be released Wednesday morning, is expected to show that prices jumped 8.7% from a year earlier — still a sizzling pace but a slowdown from the 9.1% year-over-year figure in June, which was the highest in four decades.