UTAH (ABC4) – For the first time in history, Utah gas prices have officially hit $5 per gallon on Thursday, marking another sobering record.

According to GasBuddy, the national average price for a gallon of gas has also hit over $5, marking a new record as well.

Drivers across the nation have been watching gas prices climb higher every day. Earlier this week, Utah set a record high price of around $4.98 per gallon, according to AAA. Utah’s average prices are also consistently higher than the national average.

“Gas prices have surged in recent weeks as U.S. gasoline inventories have fallen over 25 million barrels, or over one billion gallons, since the start of March amidst a global decline in refining capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerated demand going into the summer,” says GasBuddy. “The price of oil has also jumped due to escalations stemming from the Russian war on Ukraine, as countries choke off Russian oil supply via sanctions, pushing supply down at a time of rising demand.”

Although gas prices saw a slight decrease in April, oil prices never fully bounced back to pre-sanction prices. Experts now say the odds of the European Union implementing sanctions on Russian oil have increased, pushing volatile prices higher once again.

In general, Utahns are paying an average of $1.32 more today for gas when compared to last year’s average of $3.35.

As the weather warms and folks start planning summer road trips, experts are concerned the prices will climb even higher. 

A Forbes poll found that the cost of travel and today’s high gas prices are affecting plans for 54% of summer vacationers this year. 

Americans aren’t the only ones weighing their options as the summer travel season begins. Across the European Union’s 27 countries, gasoline has risen 40% from a year ago, to the equivalent of $8.40 a gallon.

Gas price records set in 2022:

  • March 5: National average price of gas breaks $4/gal for the first time since 2008
  • March 7: National average price of gas breaks previous record; $4.10/gal
  • March 10: Average price of gasoline peaks at $4.35/gal
  • April 29: Average diesel prices reach new all-time high; $5.16/gal
  • May 5: March record broken; prices rise above $4.35/gal

“It’s been one kink after another this year, and worst of all, demand doesn’t seem to be responding to the surge in gas prices, meaning there is a high probability that prices could go even higher in the weeks ahead,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “It’s a perfect storm of factors all aligning to create a rare environment of rapid price hikes. The situation could become even worse should there be any unexpected issues at the nation’s refineries or a major hurricane that impacts oil production or refineries this summer.”

Experts at AAA offer these helpful driving tips to minimize fuel usage: 

  • Got a heavy foot? Stop making “jackrabbit” starts or accelerating hard.
  • Don’t idle. If your car is stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save gas.
  • Red light coming up? Stop accelerating and let the car coast up to the signal until it’s time to brake.
  • Don’t waste money on premium fuel unless the manufacturer recommends or requires it.
  • Remove roof racks and top carriers that can have a major effect on gas mileage.
  • Take it easy on the air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power needed to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • If you have a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can and save fuel by “skip-shifting” when practical.
  • Do you have timed traffic lights where you live? Slow down and sync up your vehicle’s speed with the green lights to conserve fuel.
  • When accelerating, do it smoothly to let the automatic transmission upshift earlier, reducing the engine’s rpm and saving gas in the process.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated — soft tires mean the car needs to work more than it should. They also make handling more difficult and increase the risk of blowouts in the long run.

To check out GasBuddy’s live tool showing the cheapest gas prices in Utah right now, click here.