If variety is the spice of life, then the recent gasoline war has spiced up gasoline buying for Salt Lake Valley motorists.

When purchasing gasoline they can pick from a variety of prices because the cost dropped dramatically in the last couple of days in West Valley City, Taylorsville and Kearns while remaining constant at some stations in Salt Lake City.One motorist reported purchasing unleaded regular at a Rainbo station at 3612 W. 4700 South on Tuesday at 3 p.m. for 99.9 cents -and two hours later the price dropped another cent. Wednesday morning the price at that station remained at 98.9 cents, but across the street at a Conoco station the price was 99.9 cents. Thursday morning the price went down to 97.9 at both stations.

Up the street, Holiday Oil stations at 2716 W. 4700 South and 2729 W. 4700 South and the Rainbo station at 2570 W. 4700 South sold unleaded regular for 97.9 cents Wednesday morning. A Sinclair station at 105 W. 600 South sold unleaded regular for 111.9 cents Wednesday morning.

Paul Ashton, executive director of the Utah Petroleum Retailers Organization, attributed the drop to a gasoline war, calling gasoline retailing in the area a "vicious and cutthroat" business.

Ashton said the wholesale price of gasoline hasn't changed enough in the last few days to warrant a dramatic price drop, which he said is good for the consumer but not for the industry.

If some operators go out of the business because of the cutthroat pricing, the big companies will come in and the price of gasoline will increase dramatically, Ashton said. He said the price of gasoline in Utah is still well below the price in larger metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, the price of gasoline at many areas in the Salt Lake Valley jumped from $1.02 per gallon to $1.14 even in the face of dropping crude oil prices, but since then the price has slowly dropped until Tuesday and Wednesday's significant decline.

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