Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Gas prices on the way up

| April 16, 2024 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Stop us if you’ve heard this one – Idaho gas prices are going up. 

AAA reports that the average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State jumped another 9 cents this week to $3.86. That’s 51 cents more than a month ago, and 39 cents more than a year ago.

Meanwhile, the national average sits at $3.63 per gallon, which is 3 cents more than a week ago and 20 cents more than a month ago, but 4 cents less than a year ago.

Today, Idaho continues to rank 10th in the country for most expensive fuel behind California ($5.46), Hawaii ($4.74), Washington ($4.67), Nevada ($4.64), Oregon ($4.43), Alaska ($4.35), Arizona ($4.14), Illinois ($3.98), and Utah ($3.86). 

Gas prices for a gallon of regular unleaded averaged $3.94, while in Boundary County, prices averaged $3.89 per gallon of regular unleaded. In Kootenai County, prices were as high as $3.89 per gallon at some stations, and as low as $3.68.

“On the week, gasoline demand decreased, regional refineries started rebounding from seasonal maintenance, gas inventories increased, and oil costs dipped slightly,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “But think of pump prices as a train — it takes time for these variables to work through the system and overcome the current momentum. And unfortunately, we may not see enough of a trend for things to stop or even significantly slow down right now.”

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading just below $85 per barrel, which is about $1.50 per barrel less than a week ago, but $4 more than a month ago and $2.50 more than a year ago.

The crude market faces uncertainty as Ukraine continues to target Russia’s oil production infrastructure, and with Iran’s recent attacks on Israel. If geopolitical tensions escalate, the market could respond with another surge in crude oil prices.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Rockies refineries have increased production to 87% of capacity, a 7% jump from the trend of 80% production over the previous three weeks.

Gasoline demand fell by about 600,000 barrels per day, while stocks increased by 700,000 barrels.

“Current gas prices are unlikely to impede most people’s vacation plans,” Conde said. “There may be one less souvenir in the budget, but fuel is seen as an essential component of most trips.”

AAA recommends consolidating errands whenever possible, avoiding stop-and-go traffic, and if possible, sharing the commute to save on fuel.

A look at Idaho gas prices as of Monday: Boise, $3.91; Franklin, $3.87; Idaho Falls, $3.72; Lewiston, $3.85, Pocatello, $3.79, Rexburg, $3.81 and Twin Falls, $3.85.