Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Utah gas prices should never be among the highest

The State of Utah's gasoline prices are, in mid-April the 5th highest in the nation.
Utah's petroleum industries claim the shutting down for maintenance of several refineries has caused a spike in prices.
If that's true, do you suppose prices will go DOWN once the refineries return to normal, or that Utah prices will at least hold steady while the prices in other states spike for the upcoming summer season?
Dream on!
I never recall gasoline prices decreasing from spring, until at least mid-summer.
Yet, Utah should NEVER EVER fairly have some of the nation's highest gasoline prices and here's why:
1. Utah has 85 octane gas as its standard. That costs less for refineries to produce and is commonly sold for 10-12 cents a gallon less than 87 octane, the standard product for most other states. (But, do you often see Utah having a 10 cent price difference from other states?)
2. Utah's oil to be refined comes from the western states or Canada and is at least not directly tied up in costly overseas oil.
3. Eighty-plus percent of Utah's population resides along the Wasatch Front, where many refineries are located, requiring no extensive transportation costs.
4. Utah's gasoline taxes are 26th highest of the 50 states at 42.9 cents per gallon.
(Compare that to California's 67 cents per gallon tax, or the U.S average of 47.7 cents per gallon. (Yes, gas suppliers do HIDE behind the variety in states' gasoline taxes and use that to their advantage.)
Conclusion: If ANY product in the U.S. should be federally regulated, it should be gasoline prices, because they can be the biggest consumer ripoff in existence and can influence the prices of almost every other product on the market too!
(However, many politicians receive big contributions from oil companies and so that isn't ever going to happen ...)

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