U.S. gas prices fell just shy of 100 days of consecutive declines this week as the average per gallon costs started inching back up on Wednesday.
On Thursday, AAA reports the average national price for a gallon of regular came in at $3.68, up three-tenths of a penny after Wednesday’s seven-tenths of one cent increase.
Small changes but, according to AAA, the increases are possible signs of a tide shift.
“All streaks have to end at some point, and the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen $1.34 since its peak in mid-June,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a statement earlier this week. “But there are big factors tugging on global oil prices — war, COVID, economic recession, and hurricane season. All this uncertainty could push oil prices higher, likely resulting in slightly higher pump prices.”
While prices across most of the U.S. have declined significantly since hitting an all-time high average of $5.02 in mid-June, western states have seen less relief at the pumps.
On Thursday, the average price per gallon in Utah was $4.22 per gallon, down from the state’s own all-time high, clocked in early July, of $5.26 per gallon. And, California continues to lead the nation when it comes to filling up, with gas now at an average $5.52 per gallon across the Golden State.
Petroleum industry experts say numerous factors contribute to differing gas prices from state to state, including variations in state gas tax rates and clean fuel surcharges. And, western states have less robust petroleum distribution networks than other regions that lead to higher costs for delivering fuel to consumers and, ultimately, higher prices at the pumps.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gas demand decreased from 8.73 million barrels per day to 8.49 million barrels per day last week, per AAA. And total domestic gasoline stocks declined by 1.8 million barrels to 213 million barrels. Although gasoline demand has decreased, fluctuating oil prices have led to smaller pump price decreases. If oil prices spike, the national average will likely reverse as pump prices increase.
Here’s where the average price per gallon stood on Thursday for select Utah metro areas, according to AAA’s latest data:
- Logan — $4.31 per gallon.
- Ogden — $4.16.
- Provo/Orem — $4.10.
- Salt Lake City — $4.16.
- St. George — $4.54.