Gas Prices Rising

Idaho gas prices up two cents from a week ago, but still 73 cents cheaper than last year

 After more than a month of skyrocketing gas prices, drivers were finally able to catch their breath this week.  The national average went up just three cents in the last week, while prices in Idaho were up just two cents.  Across the country, 30 states saw an average increase of only a penny or two, as drivers strike a difficult balance between the desire to travel and the need to exercise caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a very challenging situation right now.  Drivers may be ready to hit the road, and their preferred destination may be open in some cases, but other places along the route may not be, at least for the time being,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde.  “All of the uncertainty could make fuel demand pretty shaky in the next few weeks.”

Last week, U.S. gasoline demand dipped to 7.87 million barrels per day, about 21 percent lower than this time last year.  As states enter various stages of re-opening, demand will likely increase in the coming weeks, particularly as family and friends attempt to gather for the 4th of July weekend.

Today, the national average gas price is $2.13, which is 19 cents more than a month ago, but 53 cents less than a year ago.  Idaho drivers are currently paying an average of $2.33 today, which is 22 cents more than a month ago, but 73 cents less than a year ago.

In the Rockies region, Montana (+8 cents) and Colorado (+6) saw the biggest jump in pump prices last week, while Utah’s price went down by a penny.  In the middle of the pack, Idaho and Wyoming were up two cents and three cents, respectively.  Today’s most expensive fuel can be found in Hawaii at $3.16 per gallon, while Mississippi drivers are paying the least for fuel at $1.76 per gallon.

“The good news is that regional refineries are beginning to pick up the pace – they’re currently operating at 82 percent, a thirteen-percent increase from a month ago,” Conde explained.  “That extra production may help keep prices in check while the demand is weaker than usual, but keep in mind that the demand hasn’t really gone away – COVID-19 simply hit the pause button.”

Crude oil prices are slowly beginning to climb as well.  Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark is currently trading for around $40 per barrel, about eight dollars more expensive than a month ago, but thirteen dollars cheaper than a year ago.  Ongoing production cuts by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its partners are beginning to drain the global glut of crude oil from the marketplace.

Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State:

  • Boise - $2.42
  • Coeur d’Alene - $2.18
  • Franklin - $2.20
  • Idaho Falls - $2.27
  • Lewiston - $2.23
  • Pocatello - $2.29
  • Twin Falls - $2.30

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