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GAS PRICES JUMP AS HOLIDAY NEARS

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Retail gasoline prices have jumped as much as 13 cents a gallon this week in some areas along the Wasatch Front, in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.

But even with the price increase, paying $1.129 for unleaded regular in Murray is less than what vacationers will pay this weekend in most rural and recreational areas in the region. (See chart)."Prices have been extremely low in Salt Lake County," said Paul Ashton of the Petroleum Retailers Organization, a service station trade group. "What you are seeing is a delayed price correction between the wholesale price and the price on the street."

He explained that retail pump prices have steadily declined during the past six months as wholesale prices have crept up.

When unleaded regular prices were less than $1 per gallon throughout much of April, Ashton said, the profit margins were slim and pressure was building for a big increase to make it up.

Kevin Duffy-Deno, economist for the state Department of Natural Resources, said crude oil prices have increased from $15 a barrel in April to just under $18 currently. That increase has driven up the wholesale price of gasoline.

"Chevron raised my wholesale price five cents this week," Ashton said.

Ashton predicted that prices motorists pay near the Memorial Day weekend usually hold throughout most of the summer.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Holiday gas prices:

Prices on May 25, 1994, for regular unleaded in selected regional cities and towns of the Wasatch Front:

UTAH

LOCATION PRICE

St. George $1.159

Moab 1.249

Blanding 1.229

Vernal 1.069

Bullfrog 1.449

Logan .989

THE WEST

Las Vegas $1.209

Flagstaff 1.199

Jackson Hole 1.119

W. Yellowstone 1.349

Evanston 1.099

Twin Falls 1.099