Why are Utah gas prices higher than Wyoming and Colorado?

Jul 14, 2022, 3:00 PM

Utah gas prices...

Gypsy Cottam pumps gas even as prices rose to more than $5 a gallon at a Chevron in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 9, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gas prices in the west always run a little higher than in the rest of the country. But why are Utah gas prices still higher than its neighbors in Wyoming and Colorado?

Gas prices remain high here in Utah, with the current average price of a regular gallon of gas around $5.13.

“In Western states, it’s really about access to oil,” AAA’s John Tremor told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic. “If you look at Utah, where prices have gone down. A week ago the average was $5.23, today it’s $5.13 — they’ve dropped about 10 cents there.

“The national average has dropped 15 cents. The national average has dropped more, but it’s kind of on pace.”

Tremor said historically western states have higher gas prices. 

“It’s really about how much it costs to get crude oil into the state or refined oil into the state,” Tremor said. “In Utah, 72% of the crude oil is imported into the state, and crude oil is extremely expensive right now.” 

The oil’s origin is also a factor. 

“The ease of getting oil is the number one thing that is going to affect your prices,” he said. “There are other things like demand in your state that could be affected by things like tourism or population size. There are things like state taxes, Colorado may have a cheaper state tax than Utah. But it’s where you get your oil from.” 

He said a lot of Utah’s oil comes from California, which has higher refinery prices because they have stronger environmental regulations. 

“So if you’re buying from states where they’re refining oil at a higher cost, that cost comes to you,” Tremor said. 

The part of the state you live in also impacts the cost. If you live in the northern part of the state, it might take more effort to get it to you. And that effort costs more money.

“The pathway to get oil into Colorado is cheaper than the pathway to get oil into Utah,” he said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on KSL NewsRadio weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Why are Utah gas prices higher than Wyoming and Colorado?