Residents along the Wasatch Front are welcoming a sight not seen in nearly three years: gasoline cheaper than $2 a gallon.
The last time it averaged that low here was in April of 2016, according to GasBuddy.com. That website said gasoline is now averaging about $2.06 in Salt Lake City, but many stations along the Wasatch Front have dropped below $2.
For example, on Monday morning, a Sam’s Club in West Jordan sold gasoline at $1.92 a gallon. Other Sam’s Clubs and Costcos in Salt Lake County sold it between $1.93 and $1.95 a gallon.
Numerous other gas stations in South Jordan were selling it at $1.96. Some in Sandy were at $1.97. Some stations in Kearns and West Valley City were at $1.98.
Elsewhere, prices reported by GasBuddy.com included $1.89 at a Conoco in Pleasant Grove — with numerous other stations in Lehi, Pleasant Grove and American Fork under $2.
The lowest prices in the region were in Tooele County, where a Walmart was charging $1.84 a gallon and several other stations were charging between $1.85 and $1.98.
Prices in Davis and Weber counties were reported all above $2 a gallon on Monday morning, according to GasBuddy.com.
The low prices now are a significant change from just last summer, when gasoline hit an average of $3.18 a gallon in Salt Lake City, the peak average over the past three years, according to GasBuddy.com.
The AAA Fuel Gauge report said Monday that prices were fluctuating widely in Utah.
It said prices in the wider Salt Lake metro area averaged $2.116; in Provo-Orem they were a bit lower at $2.108; $2.290 in Logan; $2.291 in Ogden; and $2.663 in St. George.
AAA said the average gasoline price statewide in Utah on Monday was $2.265, about a penny a gallon less than the national average of $2.278.
Rikki Hrenko-Browning, president of the Utah Petroleum Association, gave some possible reasons for the low prices currently.
“Pricing is really a function of supply and demand,” she said. “Gasoline consumption or demand goes down in the winter.”
She added that the price of crude oil is now in the low $50 per barrel range. “Just last summer it was in the mid-70s,” she said.
“The low crude prices along with the lower demand in the winter” are creating the current low prices, she said. “I certainly don't want to speculate about where prices would go in the future. My crystal ball is not any better than anyone else’s.”
John Hill, state director of the Utah Petroleum Marketers & Retailers Association, said, “I don’t know why gas prices are so low, except for the weakening economy of China and their reduced consumption of international crude.”
The AAA Fuel Gage report also said on Monday that frigid temperatures across much of the country have contributed toward a half a million barrel per day drop in demand. But it said prices rose in most of the nation because of maintenance at oil refineries that also limited supply.
It said Utah saw the third largest average drop in gas prices among the states during the past week, an average of 6 cents per gallon.