Idaho gas prices just three cents higher than this time last year

BOISE – (May 23, 2019) – In typical fashion, high seasonal demand and the switch to summer-blend fuel have pushed Idaho gas prices 90 cents higher since March.  But for Memorial Day travelers, there’s some good news – fuel prices appear to be leveling off heading into the holiday weekend.

“Although Memorial Day gas prices in the Gem State will be the highest in five years, they’ll be very close to last year’s numbers, and they definitely won’t deter people from traveling,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.

Since May 15, the Idaho average gas price has held at $3.20, which is five cents more than a month ago, but just three cents more than a year ago.  The modest bump is unlikely to interfere with most holiday travel plans.  Nearly 230,000 Idahoans will be traveling 50 miles or more from home for the weekend, with almost 90 percent of them participating in a traditional road trip.

Overall, nearly 43 million Americans will take a Memorial Day vacation.  The busiest time on the roads will be Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, as commuters mix with families who are getting an early jump on the holiday weekend.  Today, the U.S. average gas price is $2.85.

Here’s a seven-year comparison of Memorial Day pump prices:

 

In recent weeks, the Rockies region has been plagued by unexpected refinery maintenance, and at one point, refinery utilization dropped to 83 percent.  But this week, regional utilization jumped back to 93 percent, slowing the drain of gas inventories in the area.

Regional airports will be busy for the holiday, and Idahoans who are flying should plan ahead.  Los Angeles and San Francisco project unusually high travel volumes on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and Seattle expects its busiest day to be Monday, as friends and families return home.

 

This year’s Memorial Day marks the fifth year of consecutive growth.  High consumer confidence, the lowest unemployment in 50 years, and higher wages have put more spending money in many Americans’ pockets, who often use it to cross travel off of their bucket lists.

“For most Idahoans, Memorial Day isn’t just the start of the summer travel season, it’s also the start of the camping season,” Conde said.  “Drivers should expect to see a caravan of RVs heading up the state highways through central and northern Idaho this weekend, including to popular destinations like McCall, Coeur d’Alene, and Sun Valley.”

AAA expects to rescue 350,000 people nationwide over the holiday weekend.  Although people are as likely to take their vehicle in for a pre-trip inspection as they are to enjoy a visit to the dentist, AAA says that it could save time and money in the long run.

“The most common issues are highly preventable – flat tires, dead batteries, and low fluid levels,” Conde said.  “We’ll be there to help handle the unexpected, but if you’ve noticed a nagging problem, like a tire that looks a little low or a steady drip on the garage floor, it’s time to get it checked.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, the national average gas price will reach $2.92 per gallon during the summer months as gasoline inventories continue to fall amid strong travel demand.  Today, fuel inventories in the Rockies region hover near 6.3 million barrels, the lowest level since September 2017.

Sanctions in Iran and political unrest in Venezuela and Libya continue to severely disrupt the crude oil supplied by those countries.  In addition, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) officials will meet next month to decide whether or not to continue or even deepen current production cuts.  AAA and other industry stakeholders will be monitoring these events to determine how they may impact gas prices in the future.

Here’s a look at gas prices around the Gem State: American Falls - $3.17; Ashton - $3.20; Blackfoot - $3.17; Boise - $3.26; Burley - $3.20; Carey - $3.30; Coeur d’Alene - $3.07; Donnelly - $3.36; Driggs - $3.27; Emmett - $3.28; Franklin - $3.19; Glenns Ferry - $3.19; Gooding - $3.16; Hayden - $3.07; Homedale - $3.30; Idaho Falls - $3.16; Island Park - $3.50; Jerome - $3.18; Kellogg - $3.21; Ketchum - $3.40; Lava Hot Springs - $3.14; Lewiston - $3.15; McCammon - $3.22; Montpelier - $3.21; Moscow - $3.19; Mountain Home - $3.17; New Plymouth - $3.30; Oakley - $3.25; Pinehurst - $3.22; Pocatello - $3.08; Pocatello - $3.18; Rigby - $3.05; Sandpoint - $3.14; Sun Valley - $3.40; Twin Falls - $3.23; Wallace - $3.19; Weiser - $3.26; White Bird - $3.20. 

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