Utah gas prices hit a new high on Thursday, with the average price for a gallon of regular topping $5 for the first time ever, according data from AAA.
National averages continue to set new records as well, with an average price per gallon of $4.97. Utah’s average price of $5.005 per gallon is up more than 50 cents from the average a month ago and nearly $1.63 from the price at the same time last year.
California boasts the highest gas prices in the nation. Its average of $6.40 per gallon is more than 80 cents higher than the next closest state — Nevada — at $5.59. Georgia has the lowest prices, at $4.41 per gallon.
Why is gas so expensive? The price of crude oil remains high — with Brent crude closing at $123.58 a barrel on Wednesday, per MarketWatch. Although the United States doesn’t import much oil from Russia, the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions by European nations have played a role in driving up higher global oil prices.
For every $10 increase in the cost for a barrel of crude, gas prices rise nearly 25 cents, according to CNET.
Oil prices aren’t the only driver of pain at the pump. As the summer travel season ramps up, demand for gasoline is helping push prices higher, and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious end in sight.
Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks fuel prices for AAA, told CNN the national average for gas could approach $6 by the end of the summer, as travelers take long-anticipated trips.
“Anything goes from June 20 to Labor Day,” Kloza said. “Come hell or high gas prices, people are going to take vacations.”
As Deseret News reported last week, some analysts believe gas prices are reaching the point of altering travel plans or forcing consumers to cut back on other areas of spending. While that remains to be seen, such decreases in spending could spell trouble for the economy as a whole, according to CNN, which reports that further cutbacks could tip the economy into recession.
Where are gas prices highest? Gas prices in Utah aren’t level across the state, with differences county by county. Prices along the Wasatch Front are fairly similar to one another, with differences of only 1 cent per gallon across the three major metropolitan areas: Salt Lake City, $4.99; Ogden, $4.99; Provo-Orem, $4.98.
Piute County has the highest prices in the state — $5.31 per gallon — while Sanpete County has the cheapest at $4.91 per gallon.
Here’s how the rest of Utah stacks up, by county retail price per regular gallon:
- $4.910 to $4.966: Daggett, Uintah, Emery, Sanpete, Sevier.
- $4.967 to $4.989: Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Utah, Juab, Duchesne.
- $4.990 to $5.009: Cache, Salt Lake, Wasatch, Carbon, Wayne, San Juan.
- $5.010 to $5.120: Tooele, Morgan, Summit, Millard, Grand, Iron.
- $5.121 to $5.309: Rich, Beaver, Piute, Garfield, Kane, Washington.