The latest news on local, regional, and national fuel prices for Idahoans
Idaho Gas Prices Slide in Run-up to Winter-blend Fuel
Gem State pump prices drop two cents on the week, while U.S. average is down three
BOISE – As the summer draws to a close, fuel demand is starting to slip in Idaho and across the country, and gas prices along with it. According to AAA, the average price in the Gem State dropped two cents on the week, while the U.S. average was down three cents.
And there’s more good news on the horizon – soon, refiners and retailers will be making the switch to winter-blend fuel, which requires fewer additives and is cheaper to produce than summer blend. Barring an unexpected supply issue related to wildfires or Tropical Storm Sally in the Gulf Coast, pump prices are expected to continue their slow descent this week.
“’Never say never’ seems like an appropriate reaction for just about everything in 2020, but if we follow the normal trend, the most expensive gas prices of the year are already well behind us,” says Matthew Conde, AAA Idaho public affairs director. “It may take a little time for the last of the summer-blend fuel to work its way through the system, but when it does, we could see gas prices drop all the way to Thanksgiving.”
Today, the Idaho state average for regular fuel is $2.45, which is two cents higher than a month ago, but 31 cents cheaper than a year ago. Meanwhile, the current U.S. price is $2.19, which is a penny higher than a month ago, but 38 cents less than a year ago. Idaho ranks 9th in the country for most expensive gas prices, which is typical for our state.
The Energy Information Administration reports that national gasoline demand currently sits at 8.3 million barrels per day. Even though stock levels dropped by nearly three million barrels this week to 231 million bbl, that’s still a surplus of three million barrels over last year. In the Rockies region, stock levels actually increased on the week by 400,000 barrels to reach 7.4 million barrels on hand.
With an 86 percent utilization rate, Rocky Mountain refineries are currently some of the most active in the country, trailing only the Midwest region. As long as regional refineries stay busy and finished gasoline supplies continue to grow, Idaho prices are likely to stabilize or even decrease.
Tropical Storm Sally and the devastating wildfires in the West could delay fuel deliveries in some areas, but at this time, disruptions are expected to be temporary and site-specific.
Crude oil market dynamics
Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is trading near $37, which is five dollars cheaper than a month ago and 18 dollars less than a year ago.
“The United States is currently producing 10.3 million barrels of crude oil per day, compared with 12.4 million a year ago,” Conde said. “With fewer opportunities for people to travel for business or pleasure, commute, or even take kids to school, there’s less demand for some finished products like gasoline and jet fuel. That’s been offset to some extent by rising diesel demand related to shipping and e-commerce, but not enough to make up the difference. The market continues to believe that there is a global glut of crude oil out there, and gasoline and jet fuel could seem more like unwanted byproducts in some parts of the world this fall.”
After being distilled at a refinery, the average 42-gallon barrel of crude oil produces 20 gallons of gasoline, 11 gallons of diesel, and 4 gallons of jet fuel, among other things.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 9/14/20:
- Boise – $2.48
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.33
- Franklin – $2.44
- Idaho Falls – $2.34
- Lewiston – $2.43
- Pocatello – $2.46
- Twin Falls – $2.45
Hurricane Laura, Labor Day Run-Up Push Fuel Demand and Gas Prices Higher
Gem State prices jump two cents in a week, U.S. average up a nickel
BOISE – After weeks of relative calm at the pump, gas prices are on the move in Idaho and across the country. AAA says that Gem State prices are up two cents in a week and that the U.S. average jumped a nickel as Hurricane Laura and end-of-summer road trips motivated more drivers to fill up. And with 97 percent of travelers choosing their car over other modes of transportation for a summer getaway, gas prices could continue to climb heading into Labor Day.
According to the Energy Information Administration, fuel demand hit 9.2 million barrels per day this week – the highest level since the start of the pandemic. But demand is still 739,000 b/d below where it was last year, and gasoline stock levels are still seven million barrels higher than last year.
“If fuel demand trails off after Labor Day, as we would expect during a typical year, drivers should see some nice savings when they fill up throughout the fall,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Of course, ‘typical’ isn’t a word we’ve been using a lot lately, and with good reason. Pent-up travel demand and the possibility of a record-setting hurricane season still have the potential to change the landscape in a hurry.”
The National Hurricane Center is currently tracking four tropical formations that could escalate in the coming days and weeks. Seven of this season’s 13 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. As a precautionary measure before the arrival of Hurricane Laura, 70 percent of oil production in the Gulf Coast went offline, and many Americans living in affected areas topped off their tanks in case fuel supplies were interrupted. Both actions put additional upward pressure on gas prices.
The average price of regular in Idaho is $2.45, which is four cents higher than a month ago, but 36 cents less than a year ago. The current national average is $2.23, which is four cents higher than a month ago, and 35 cents less than a year ago. Idaho currently ranks 8th in the country for the highest gas prices.
Labor Day Travel Advice
“It’s still really warm in most parts of the state, but if you’re heading up into the backcountry, the temperatures are starting to drop overnight,” Conde said. “Even if you’re planning a simple day trip, it’s not a bad idea to toss a couple of emergency blankets, an extra change of clothes, and an emergency kit into your car in case you run into trouble in a remote area.”
AAA also recommends that drivers bring along food and water for people and pets, along with flares or reflectors that can be used to signal for help, and a flashlight with extra batteries. If you’re going somewhere with limited cell phone service, share your travel plans with a friend or family member who can act on your behalf if you fail to return home on time.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 8/31/20:
- Boise – $2.49
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.32
- Franklin – $2.45
- Idaho Falls – $2.34
- Lewiston – $2.45
- Pocatello – $2.38
- Twin Falls – $2.42
Start of School, Falling Demand Hold Idaho Gas Prices Steady
But Tropical Storm Laura is expected to become a hurricane in the Gulf Coast this week
BOISE – As families in Idaho and other parts of the country start to wind down their summer activities and settle in for another busy school year, the demand for fuel is beginning to slip, which could put downward pressure on gas prices in the Gem State sometime in the next few weeks. That’s great news for Idaho drivers who have saved big at the pump this year but have seen the average price for regular stuck at $2.43 since the beginning of August.
But AAA says that a couple of factors could temporarily disrupt the trend. Tropical Storm Laura is expected to become a hurricane as early as tomorrow, and as a precaution, 58 percent of the crude oil production in the Gulf Coast is currently offline. Gasoline stocks are still healthy, but if platforms and rigs experience any significant operational delays, supplies could tighten, forcing crude oil and finished gasoline prices higher across parts of the country. AAA and other industry stakeholders will keep a close eye on activity in the Gulf Coast this week.
Meanwhile, Labor Day could be a very busy holiday this year, with road trips representing 97 percent of all summer travel. COVID-19 restrictions have forced many travelers to postpone their vacation plans throughout the summer, and for most Americans, the Labor Day weekend is a final chance to gather with family and friends before the weather turns nasty. That could be especially important for people who have had a difficult time connecting with loved ones this year.
“2020 has been anything but typical, but with gas prices, that has been to our advantage,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Based on what we know today, we believe that Idaho drivers will have plenty to smile about when they fill up this fall.”
Today, the average price in Idaho is $2.43, which is seven cents more than a month ago, but 39 cents less than a year ago. The current U.S. average price is $2.19, which is the same as a month ago and 41 cents less than a year ago. Idaho, which often ranks 7th in the country for most expensive gas prices, is currently in 9th place. The most expensive fuel is in California today, at $3.22 a gallon, and the cheapest fuel can be bought in Mississippi at $1.84 per gallon.
This week, 30 of the 50 states saw gas prices move by a penny or less, Idaho included. While total gasoline stocks fell by four million barrels to 243 million barrels (the largest draw on supplies since May), overall stock levels are still nine million barrels higher than they were last year. In the Rockies region, stocks are currently at seven million barrels, nearly one million barrels less than they were a year ago. Even so, shrinking supplies have not been enough to raise retail prices anywhere close to where they were last year.
Rockies region refineries have adjusted their production activity, also known as the utilization rate, throughout the pandemic in an effort to match supply with demand. At the low point, the area’s refinery production dropped to 63% on April 10, then jumped as high as 90% on July 10 – the highest level since the pandemic began. Currently, the region’s utilization rate sits at 82%.
Crude oil prices have hovered between $42 and $43 per barrel for most of August, about $13 cheaper per barrel than a year ago. As fall and winter weather slow the demand for gasoline in many parts of the world, and jet fuel continues to be an undesirable product due to low airline travel volumes, crude oil prices should continue to fall below last year’s figures, barring an unforeseen change in market conditions or geopolitical tensions.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 8/24/20:
- Boise – $2.44
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.32
- Franklin – $2.45
- Idaho Falls – $2.34
- Lewiston – $2.45
- Pocatello – $2.40
- Twin Falls – $2.41
Idaho Pump Prices Up Just a Penny in a Week
Gem State prices held steady despite Utah’s recent nine-cent increase
BOISE – Idaho drivers were in for a pleasant surprise when they filled up this week – even though more people are visiting the Gem State at the height of the summer travel season, the state average gas price only went up by a penny. Utah drivers looked on in envy as they watched their own prices jump by nine cents, the biggest increase in the country this week.
“Most of our gasoline products are produced in Salt Lake refineries, so it will be interesting to see if Utah’s price hike is a sign of things to come,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “We would expect Idaho to continue to be a popular destination for outdoor recreation and social distancing during the final weeks of summer.”
Supply and demand activity held gas prices steady across much of the country this week. After U.S. fuel demand hit 8.8 million barrels per day last week, the highest level since the pandemic began, it recently dipped to 8.6 million barrels per day. Meanwhile, national gasoline stocks increased to nearly 248 million barrels. The combined effect pushed the national average down half a penny.
In the Rockies region, gasoline stocks dropped by 300,000 barrels, with area refineries operating at nearly 87 percent of capacity. Except for Utah, every state in the region saw only a minimal impact on pump prices.
Today, the U.S. average for regular is $2.17, which is two cents less than a month ago and 58 cents less than a year ago. Idaho’s current price is $2.43, which is nine cents more than a month ago, but 45 cents less than a year ago. Idaho currently ranks 8th in the country for most expensive gas prices.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 8/11/20:
- Boise – $2.48
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.29
- Franklin – $2.43
- Idaho Falls – $2.34
- Lewiston – $2.45
- Pocatello – $2.43
- Twin Falls – $2.35
Idaho Gas Prices Surge With Summer Tourism
BOISE – Temperatures are climbing across the Gem State, and gas prices along with them. According to AAA, tourism is increasing in Idaho and other Western states as travelers look to the Great Outdoors for fun and adventure amid COVID-19 travel restrictions, resulting in busy backroads, higher demand for fuel, and slight upward pressure on gas prices. Even so, drivers are still saving big at the pump over last year.
“Idaho’s mountains, lakes and rivers are an attractive destination every summer, but with the limitations imposed during the pandemic, they’re especially popular this year,” says AAA Idaho Public and Government Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “With plenty of opportunities to maintain social distancing, outdoor recreation is a great option for Idahoans and visitors to our state.”
According to the Idaho Transportation Department, record numbers of travelers are using Idaho’s backroads in recent weeks, including Idaho Highways 21 and 55. Anecdotally, AAA has learned that campgrounds are also very busy, and even walk-in camping sites are getting hard to find.
Across the country, fuel demand reached 8.8 million barrels per day last week, about three percent higher than the previous week, but eight percent less than last year. Current demand is at its highest level since the pandemic started.
Today, the average price of regular fuel in Idaho is $2.42, which is seven cents more than a month ago, but 48 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average has held steady at $2.18, the same as a month ago and 53 cents less than a year ago.
“With the states in various stages of reopening, pump prices are moving in places that are further along in the process or that have abundant recreational opportunities, including Idaho, Utah, and Florida,” Conde said. “As long as people in other areas face tighter restrictions, the natural tendency will be to travel to destinations with fewer limitations.”
Visit AAA.com/covidmap for an interactive map with the latest travel restrictions and policies for North America.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices continue to hold steady near $40 per barrel, about 15 dollars cheaper than a year ago. As long as the market continues to believe that there is a glut of crude oil in the market, oil prices will be held in check for the foreseeable future. Crude oil prices are responsible for roughly 50 percent of the cost of finished gasoline.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 8/4/20:
- Boise – $2.49
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.30
- Franklin – $2.37
- Idaho Falls – $2.34
- Lewiston – $2.45
- Pocatello – $2.36
- Twin Falls – $2.32
Highest Gas Prices of the Year May Already Be Behind Us
Boise, ID – After the lowest gasoline demand in April since 1968 – when the name Richard Nixon dominated the headlines – AAA says that continued COVID-19 uncertainty and abundant gasoline stocks throughout the spring and early summer may keep pump prices from returning to where they were at the beginning of the year.
On January 1, Idaho drivers paid an average of $2.68 for a gallon of regular, the most this year. After that, prices followed the usual winter trend as demand fell, then dropped dramatically when COVID-19 reached the Gem State. While stages of reopening have put more drivers behind the wheel and more upward pressure on gas prices, the effects of the pandemic continue to reduce the number of work commutes and travel opportunities, and Idaho pump prices have held within a penny of $2.35 since the beginning of July.
Experts estimate that U.S. fuel demand is at least 15 percent lower than expected this time of year.
“It’s been a quiet start to the summer,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “The cheaper fuel prices are great for every day life, but with the rise of COVID-19 cases in various parts of the country, Idahoans have limited ways to use these savings to their advantage, particularly when it comes to travel.”
This summer, 97 percent of travelers will opt for the flexibility of a road trip, in part to avoid the confines of a plane, train, or cruise ship. Based on low ridership, making jet fuel is expected to be a losing proposition until some time in 2021, and most refiners are also scaling back their production capacity to avoid flooding the market with additional gasoline and diesel products.
“Idaho and its neighboring Mountain states are especially attractive to visitors during the summer, where the opportunities for outdoor recreation naturally tend toward social distancing,” Conde said. “While gas prices in the Gem State may bump a little higher due to increased tourism, the current thinking is that Idahoans should still pay less than they did to fill up on New Year’s Day.”
Today, the price for a gallon of gasoline in Idaho is $2.35, two cents more than a month ago, and 57 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average price is $2.19, which is six cents more than a month ago, but 58 cents cheaper than a year ago. Idaho currently ranks 11th in the country for most expensive gas prices. The Gem State usually falls between 7th and 9th place.
AAA says that the first six months of the year have created a glut of crude oil and finished gasoline in the marketplace. While those stocks are starting to be depleted, they are still well above where they were this time last year. Higher oil and petroleum stocks will help keep gas prices in check.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the Rockies region currently has 7.6 million barrels of finished gasoline on hand, about 200,000 more barrels than last year. Regional refineries are also outpacing their counterparts across the country, operating at nearly 90 percent of capacity. U.S. gasoline stocks are 16 million barrels higher than last year.
Other key considerations
“Because there is so much untapped capacity in our refineries right now, this year’s hurricane season, particularly in August, could bring more mixed results than usual,” Conde explained. “If some refineries are forced to shut down when a hurricane makes landfall, there’s a reasonable chance that others will be able to ramp up production and pick up some of the slack.”
If schools across the country can’t open on schedule, fuel demand will further drop – less gasoline used by parents to take their children to and from school, and less diesel consumption by buses.
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $42 per barrel, about two dollars more than a month ago and $14 less than a year ago.
Visit AAA.com/covidmap for an interactive map with the latest travel restrictions and policies for North America.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 7/22/20:
- Boise – $2.40
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.30
- Franklin – $2.28
- Idaho Falls – $2.22
- Lewiston – $2.41
- Pocatello – $2.25
- Twin Falls – $2.29
Rising Gas Prices Hit the Pause Button Despite Demand Reaching Four-Month High
Boise, ID – U.S. fuel demand recently hit its highest level since March at 8.7 million barrels per day, but most Americans didn’t feel it at the pump. According to AAA, falling fuel supplies weren’t enough to seriously impact gas prices this week. The national average went up by just two cents to $2.20 per gallon, while Idaho gas prices have held at $2.35 since the beginning of July. Both are significant savings from a year ago.
From May to early July last year, the average gasoline demand reached 9.5 million b/d. But this year’s lower demand has created an unexpected surplus – an additional 24 million barrels of gasoline in reserve that is helping to keep pump prices in check. But the demand for fuel could be on shaky ground in the coming weeks and months.
“During the stages of re-opening, some people have grown more confident getting behind the wheel, including the 97 percent of summer travelers who say they’ll take a road trip this year,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But with the number of COVID-19 cases soaring in Idaho and other parts of the country, that confidence is pretty fragile these days. If states change course and start imposing more travel restrictions, demand will fall, and gas prices along with it.”
Today, the U.S. average price is $2.20, which is ten cents more than a month ago, but 59 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, Idaho’s current price is $2.35, a nickel more expensive than a month ago and 60 cents cheaper than a year ago.
The most expensive fuel in the Rockies region can be purchased in Colorado at $2.48 per gallon, while the cheapest fuel in the region can be found in Wyoming at $2.15 per gallon. The region’s gasoline stocks currently sit at 7.5 million barrels, a typical measurement for summertime in the Rockies. If demand holds steady or even drops, abundant fuel supplies could continue to relieve some of the upward pressure on gas prices.
Since the beginning of the month, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil has been trading near $40 per barrel, about four dollars more than a month ago and 20 dollars less than a year ago. According to the Energy Information Administration, total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.7 million bbl last week, a sign that the market is still oversupplied.
AAA expects to rescue more than 14,000 motorists at the roadside this summer, about 15 percent less than last year. Engine problems (including fluid leaks and overheating), dead batteries, lockouts, and flat tires will be the biggest culprits. As the mercury continues to climb across Idaho, AAA encourages drivers to pack an emergency kit, including water, and take their vehicle in for a pre-trip inspection before they head out for a summer adventure.
Here’s a sample of gas prices around the Gem State as of 7/14/20:
- Boise – $2.39
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.26
- Franklin – $2.28
- Idaho Falls – $2.24
- Lewiston – $2.44
- Pocatello – $2.28
- Twin Falls – $2.27
Idaho Gas Prices Kick Off 4th of July Travel with a Bang
Boise, ID – Idaho families may face a few challenges getting together for food and fireworks this 4th of July weekend, but high gas prices won’t be among them. AAA says that, on average, Gem State pump prices for regular fuel are 65 cents cheaper today than this time last year – a welcome sight given the number of vehicles expected to hit the road this summer.
According to AAA’s latest projection, Americans wIdaill complete 683 million summer road trips, representing 97 percent of the total summer travel this year. Due to concerns during the pandemic, most travelers are opting for the open road over the confines of planes, trains and buses.
“While many attractions remain closed, and some cities have eliminated large fireworks displays and festivals as a health and safety precaution, that won’t stop people from getting together with family and friends for a quick campout or a splash in the lake where circumstances allow,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “With the savings we’re seeing at the pump, most Idahoans can afford to throw a few extra burgers on the grill this weekend.”
Today, the U.S. average price for regular fuel is $2.18, which is 20 cents more than a month ago, but 54 cents cheaper than a year ago. Meanwhile, the current price in Idaho is $2.35, which is 14 cents more than a month ago, but 65 cents cheaper than a year ago. With fewer available destinations, the daily demand for gasoline nationwide is millions of barrels below where it was last year.
“Whether you’re making a longer road trip or staying closer to home, please remember the safety basics,” Conde said. “Never light fireworks where it isn’t safe and legal to do so. Please avoid driving in or near tall grass, as this could spark a wildfire, and please make sure you take an emergency kit, including extra water, with you. Above all, please drink responsibly.”
AAA encourages drivers to build in extra time to arrive safely. Two-lane highways could be especially busy this holiday weekend as people achieve social distancing while enjoying the great outdoors. The busiest drive time will likely be Thursday afternoon, as evening commuters co-mingle with travelers who have Friday off as an observed holiday.
Here’s a look at gas prices across Idaho for 7/1/2020:
- Boise – $2.41
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.24
- Franklin – $2.23
- Idaho Falls – $2.25
- Lewiston – $2.35
- Pocatello – $2.29
- Twin Falls – $2.30
Rising Gas Prices Tap the Brakes – For Now
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 for 6/22/2020:
- 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
Idaho Gas Prices Back to 8th Highest in Country as U.S. Average Tops the $2 Mark
But Gem State prices are still 88 cents less than they were a year ago
Boise, ID — Idaho is back in familiar territory with the 8th highest gas prices in the country, but there’s a silver lining – drivers here are still paying 88 cents less per gallon than they were a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average is back above the $2 mark after 66 days below it.
“The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt. Because fuel demand was held down during stay-home orders, stock levels are about 24 million barrels higher across the country than last year, including 500,000 barrels more in the Rockies region,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “That large cushion could keep pump prices lower than last year until the 4th of July and possibly beyond.”
Today, the price for regular gasoline in Idaho is $2.28 per gallon, which is 48 cents more than a month ago, but 88 cents less than a year ago. The current U.S. average is $2.03, which is 20 cents more than a month ago, and 73 cents less than a year ago. On the national level, gas prices haven’t been this low at the beginning of June since 2004.
This week, Rockies states Colorado (+13 cents) and Montana (+10 cents) landed on the week’s top 10 list of states with the largest weekly increase. Today, the most expensive fuel is being purchased in Hawaii at $3.19 per gallon, and the cheapest fuel can be found in Mississippi for $1.66 per gallon.
“The trend of rising gas prices in Idaho will likely continue this week, but some drivers will see it as a small price to pay for the increased opportunities to work and play that we are all enjoying,” Conde said. “With many large events canceled, family get-togethers and visits to state and national parks will be especially popular this summer.”
Today, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is trading for about $38 per barrel, which is about $13 per barrel more than a month ago, but $16 per barrel cheaper than a year ago. 50 to 60 percent of the cost of finished gasoline is related to the price of crude oil.
Over the weekend, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to extend deep production cuts through July, a move that is expected to reduce global crude oil supplies by nearly 10 percent. At the same time, Saudi Arabia sharply increased its official selling prices for crude oil, but in the short term, may struggle to find any takers. If effective, the combination will eventually apply strong upward pressure on crude oil in the coming weeks, and, in turn, gas prices.
For now, however, Idahoans have plenty to smile about while they fill up.
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State for 6/8/2020:
- Boise – $2.39
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.03
- Franklin – $2.24
- Idaho Falls – $2.28
- Lewiston – $2.09
- Pocatello – $2.30
- Twin Falls – $2.28
Idaho Gas Prices Up Another Eight Cents in a Week, Third Largest Gain in the Country
All five of the Rockies region states made the Top Ten list for weekly price jumps
Boise, ID – Although the national average for gas prices moved just a penny in the last week, things have been much more volatile for Idaho and its Rocky Mountain neighbors. Gem State pump prices went up another eight cents this week – the third-largest increase in the country. All five states in the Rockies region (Colorado = +12 cents, Idaho = +8 cents, Utah = +7 cents, Montana = +6 cents, Wyoming = +4 cents) made the top ten list for the biggest price hikes this week.
Today’s U.S. average is $1.98 for a gallon of regular fuel, which is 20 cents more than a month ago, but 84 cents less than a year ago. In Idaho, the current price is $2.21, which is 29 cents more than a month ago, but 98 cents less than a year ago. After several weeks out of the top ten, Idaho is now ranked 10th in the country for most expensive gas prices. Hawaiian motorists are paying the most today at $3.18 per gallon, while the cheapest fuel can be found in Mississippi for $1.58 per gallon.
“Without question, the reduction of COVID-19 restrictions is reviving the demand for fuel, both here in Idaho and across the country,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “Our region maintains one of the smallest supplies of finished gasoline in the nation, and even though stocks increased slightly last week and remain higher than they were last year, the enthusiasm to commute and to travel is building, and that’s going to keep putting upward pressure on gas prices.”
Conde said that while Idaho gas prices are climbing, they’re likely to remain below where they were last year for most of the summer, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Nationwide, the demand for fuel is down nearly 25 percent from what it was last year, and experts estimate that Memorial Day travelers purchased just 7 million barrels of gas per day during the holiday weekend. That’s the lowest demand for the holiday since 1983, the third year of the Reagan Administration.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline stocks built by a modest 100,000 bbl in the Rockies region, lifting total stocks to 7.8 million bbl. Year over year, the region has a surplus of 1.1 million barrels, but quantities are expected to shrink in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, local refineries that routinely operate at 90 to 95 percent of capacity are currently maintaining a 69 percent utilization rate.
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil settled at $35.49, and today, it’s trading near $35 per barrel, about $19/bbl cheaper than a year ago, but $14/bbl higher than a month ago. There are early signs that the market believes that OPEC-led production cuts are reducing the global oversupply of crude oil, and that national economies are beginning to recover from the effects of the pandemic. If the trend of growing confidence continues, crude oil and gas prices will increase in the coming weeks.
“Here in Idaho, we saw a period of rapid descent as gas prices dropped during the height of the COVID-19 stay-home orders,” Conde said. “’Rapid ascent’ will be a recurring theme at the pump in the weeks to come, especially as families begin to take part in the Great American Road Trip.”
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State for 6/1/2020:
- Boise – $2.31
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.92
- Franklin – $2.24
- Idaho Falls – $2.19
- Lewiston – $1.98
- Pocatello – $2.20
- Twin Falls – $2.24
Idaho Gas Prices Jump Another 12 Cents in a Week as U.S. Average Nears $2 Mark
After biggest spike in the country last week, Idahoans see 4th largest this week
Boise, ID – After a turbulent week at the pump, Idaho gas prices jumped another 12 cents despite leading the nation with a 16-cent increase just the week before. As COVID-19 restrictions ease in the Gem State and around the country, more people are getting behind the wheel, which continues to apply upward pressure on gas prices.
“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have more people commuting to work and patronizing brick-and-mortar businesses, which increases the traffic volume. On the other hand, those who are staying closer to home are getting more involved in e-commerce, which raises the miles traveled by delivery vehicles,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “Demand is pushing gas prices higher, and the trend is likely to continue this week.”
Idaho’s price increase was the fourth-largest in the nation this week. First and second place for the week go to regional neighbors Colorado (+16 cents) and Utah (+15). Idaho currently offers the 12th highest price in the country for regular fuel. With an average price of $1.58 per gallon, the cheapest gas in the country can be purchased in Mississippi.
Today, Gem State drivers are paying an average of $2.14 per gallon, which is 29 cents more than a month ago, but still $1.06 cheaper than a year ago. Meanwhile, the current U.S. average is $1.96, which is 18 cents less than a month ago and 87 cents cheaper than a year ago. The national average could hit the $2 mark as early as this week.
In the Rockies region, gasoline stock levels have decreased by 18 percent since the beginning of April, but they remain 1.3 million barrels above where they were a year ago, which is part of the reason why gas prices remain significantly lower than they were this time last year.
Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is $34 per barrel, which is $15 more than a month ago, but $25 less than a year ago. If the market continues to believe that crude oil production cuts by OPEC members and Russia are having the desired effect of shrinking the global supply, and if gasoline demand continues to grow, oil prices will increase.
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State for 5/26/2020:
- Boise – $2.24
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.86
- Franklin – $2.14
- Idaho Falls – $2.10
- Lewiston – $1.94
- Pocatello – $2.12
- Twin Falls – $2.18
Idaho Gas Prices Jump 17 Cents in a Week, The Biggest Spike in the Country
Pump prices more volatile as COVID-19 restrictions lift, fuel demand increases
Boise, ID – In an ominous display of things to come, Idaho gas prices leaped by 17 cents in a week as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted and fuel demand rebuilds. For the week, the Gem State’s price jump was the largest in the country.
“At the peak of the stay-home orders, pump prices in Idaho dropped by double digits for four or five weeks in a row,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “But as people return to work, more attractions and businesses re-open, and the end of the school year approaches, we could see something of a boomerang effect, with prices sharply increasing in the weeks ahead.”
Today, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Idaho is $1.98, which is four cents more than a month ago, but $1.22 less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average price is $1.88, which is six cents more than a month ago, but 97 cents less than a year ago. Nearly every state’s average gas price is more expensive this week – on average, four cents higher than a week ago.
In addition to COVID-19-related economic forces, gas stations across the country will also make a belated switch to summer-blend fuel this week, which is more expensive to produce.
The last time the national average was under $2 per gallon heading into the Memorial Day holiday was 17 years ago, when drivers paid just $1.50 per gallon to fill up in 2003. While this year’s holiday gas prices won’t be nearly as low, drivers in many parts of the country will still see a substantial savings over last year.
“Idaho gas prices recently fell below the national average for a few days, which is definitely the exception and not the rule,” Conde explained. “Gasoline stocks in the Rockies region have been dropping for the last six weeks, even as regional refineries are slowly ramping up production. We would expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future.”
Idaho drivers are quickly returning to familiar territory, taking their place among those who pay the most for fuel nationwide. Gem State pump prices usually fall between 7th and 9th most expensive in the country – today, Idaho is 14th after falling as low as 25th just a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, global crude oil prices are also beginning to recover. Today, the West Texas Intermediate is trading near $32 per barrel, about twelve dollars per barrel more than a month ago, but 30 dollars per barrel less than a year ago. As crude oil and finished gasoline supplies around the world begin to shrink, it will apply additional upward pressure on gas prices.
“If there’s a secondary spike in COVID-19 cases, a lot of these price movements will stop in their tracks,” Conde said. “Really, our gas prices through the rest of the spring are going to be closely tied to the level of fuel demand and how quickly that demand comes back online.”
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State for 5/18/2020:
- Boise – $2.09
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.69
- Franklin – $1.94
- Idaho Falls – $1.93
- Lewiston – $1.90
- Pocatello – $1.95
- Twin Falls – $2.01
Idaho Gas Prices Now Below the National Average – But Both are Climbing
U.S. price jumps six cents in the last week, Gem State price is up by a penny
Boise, ID – In a rare turn of events, Idaho gas prices are currently below the national average, even as both prices went up in the last week. Today, the U.S. average is $1.85, which is two cents less than a month ago and $1.02 less than a year ago. Meanwhile, Idahoans are currently paying $1.81 per gallon, which is 26 cents less than a month ago and $1.32 less than a year ago. Currently, 40 states have average prices under $2 per gallon.
The Gem State normally falls between 7th and 9th place in the nation for most expensive fuel, but thanks to dramatic price increases in other parts of the country, Idaho currently ranks 25th.
“Some of the more-populated states with large metropolitan areas have been among the first to see pump prices soar as COVID-19 restrictions have been or are about to be loosened,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “In our area and in other parts of the country, the oversupply of gasoline is starting to shrink up a little bit. As more people get out and about, and as the overall demand continues to grow, it will put upward pressure on fuel prices.”
Last week, Michigan gas prices skyrocketed by 31 cents per gallon, followed by Ohio (+28 cents), Indiana (+26 cents) and Illinois (+26 cents). Overall, prices sharply increased in many of the Great Lakes, Central, and Southern States. While the national average price for regular jumped six cents, Idaho’s average price only went up by a penny. The other states in the Rockies region saw gas prices slide one to two cents on the week.
Nationwide, the demand for gasoline increased by 800,000 barrels per day to 6.7 million b/d last week, which is still about 3.2 million b/d less than a year ago. But that gap is expected to shrink heading into the late spring and early summer as more people travel and return to work.
According to the Energy Information Administration, regional gasoline stocks are currently at 8.4 million barrels, about 1.5 million barrels more than this time last year. Refinery utilization rates and gasoline demand are increasing, and fuel stocks have dipped during the past three weeks. All signs indicate that the trend will continue.
“Idaho’s multi-phase plan to re-open the economy will likely be accompanied by a corresponding increase in gas prices, but they may not move as forcefully here as in other parts of the nation over the short-term,” Conde explained. “The Rockies region is often one of the last to react to a change in pump prices on the national level.”
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is around $25 today, nearly $40 cheaper than this time last year. But crude oil prices have increased by six dollars per barrel since the beginning of the month, a sign that the market believes that the economy is beginning to recover.
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices around the Gem State for 5/11/2020:
- Boise – $1.81
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.62
- Franklin – $1.90
- Idaho Falls – $1.69
- Lewiston – $1.90
- Pocatello – $1.86
- Twin Falls – $1.91
Idaho, U.S. Average Gas Prices Just Two Cents Apart
National average beginning to increase while Gem State pump prices keep falling
Boise, ID – It could be the beginning of the end for falling gas prices across the country, as the U.S. average for regular gasoline was up a penny over the last week due to sharp increases in pump prices across the Great Lakes and Central States regions. Meanwhile, states in the West, including Idaho, continued to see prices drop last week. The U.S. and Idaho average prices are now just two cents apart. Idaho is usually 20 to 30 cents higher than the national price.
“It’s fairly common for states in the Rockies region to react slowly when the U.S. average changes course,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “In this case, that’s a good thing, and Idaho drivers might save a few cents more during the week than some drivers in other parts of the country. But if demand continues to grow on the national level, it’s only a matter of time before prices here start to react.”
As some states ease COVID-19 health precautions in an effort to re-open businesses and jump-start local economies, there’s greater demand for fuel, but overall use is still below six million barrels per day – a far cry from the amount of fuel typically purchased this time of year. Wisconsin, which recently sold the cheapest fuel in the country, saw prices leap 27 cents in a week, followed by Ohio (+19) and Indiana (+16). Idaho prices dropped five cents during the same time period, along with Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Every state in the Rockies region is now below $2 per gallon.
“It’s likely that Idaho pump prices will start to bottom out somewhere near the $1.75-per-gallon mark,” Conde explained. “As phases of COVID-19 restrictions are lifted here and around the country, all of that pent-up demand to travel and commute to work could put significant upward pressure on gas prices in the coming weeks, depending on how fast the demand comes back and barring any secondary spike in COVID-19 cases.”
For now, however, Idahoans will continue to reap some rewards when they fill up.
Today, the Idaho average price for a gallon of regular is $1.80, which is 44 cents less than a month ago, and $1.32 less than a year ago. The current U.S. average is $1.78, which is 16 cents less than a month ago, and $1.12 less than a year ago.
May 1 marked the beginning of additional crude oil production cuts by OPEC and its partners, an additional 9.7 million b/d for May and June. As demand for finished gasoline products increases and the available supply of crude oil diminishes, gas prices will climb. Today, the West Texas Intermediate price for crude oil is $20, which is five dollars less than a month ago and $42 dollars less than a year ago.
Here’s a sample of today’s pump prices around the Gem State for 5/4/2020:
- Boise – $1.78
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.59
- Franklin – $1.96
- Idaho Falls – $1.67
- Lewiston – $1.91
- Pocatello – $1.88
- Twin Falls – $1.92
U.S. Gas Supply Tops Last Week’s Record-High, Fuel Prices Still Falling
Idaho’s average price drops another eight cents in a week, second-most in the nation
Boise, ID – Gas prices kept tumbling last week amid record-high stock levels and continued low demand due to COVID-19 precautions. With another eight-cent drop for the week (the second-largest in the country behind Alaska), the Idaho average price for regular fuel is now just seven cents higher than the national average.
“A few weeks ago, AAA predicted that Idaho’s average price could make it to $1.85 per gallon, or even lower,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But if current trends continue, we could see Idaho pump prices dip as low as $1.75 per gallon before it’s all said and done.”
Today, Idahoans are paying an average price of $1.84 per gallon, which is 52 cents less than a month ago, and an astounding $1.18 less than a year ago. The national average is currently at $1.77 per gallon, which is 28 cents less than a month ago, and $1.11 less than a year ago.
At $2.04, Utah is the only state in the Rockies region with an average price above $2 per gallon – one of just a dozen states in a similar predicament. The other states in the area are well below the two-dollar-mark (Colorado – $1.73, Montana – $1.81, Idaho – $1.84, and Wyoming – $1.90).
According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. gasoline demand grew slightly over the week to 5.3 million barrels per day, but that’s still extremely low when compared with 9.5 million barrels per day last April. National gasoline stocks also set a new record at 263 million barrels.
“Crude oil and gas prices still face significant downward pressure – producers and refiners are having trouble convincing their customers to buy and store products that are still in the pipeline,” Conde explained. “Even as refineries cut back, and in some cases, shutter their operations temporarily, there just isn’t enough demand to make a dent in the available supply.”
According to an April 11 report from Google, mobility related to retail and recreation is down by nearly 40 percent.
At the end of Friday’s trading session, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil was at $16.94 per barrel after going negative last week for the first time since 1983. A barrel of crude is currently trading near $13 per barrel, which is $50 less than a year ago. OPEC nations and their partners recently agreed to record production cuts starting in May and June, but they are expected to have a minimal impact over the next few weeks.
“We sometimes get asked the question, but even with negative crude oil prices and continued low demand, gas stations won’t be giving away free fuel any time soon,” Conde said. “Retailers still need to cover distribution costs and try to make up for some of the major losses they’re taking in their convenience stores. We’ll be watching closely, but as stay-home orders start to ease around the country, we could see gas prices heading in the opposite direction fairly soon.”
Here’s a sample of today’s pump prices around the Gem State for 4/27/2020:
- Boise – $1.83
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.63
- Franklin – $1.99
- Idaho Falls – $1.74
- Lewiston – $1.94
- Pocatello – $1.91
- Twin Falls – $1.95
Gas Prices Drop as U.S. Fuel Supply Hits Record High, Demand Destruction Continues
Idaho’s average price drops another 10 cents in a week, most in the nation
Boise, ID – In what AAA and others have described as severe demand destruction, efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have kept most Americans close to home, resulting in record levels of finished gasoline on hand (262 million barrels) and forcing average gas prices nationwide and throughout Idaho even lower this week. The process has been further accelerated by an overabundance of cheap crude oil in the global market.
“Today, 20 states have fuel prices that are a dollar or more per gallon less than they were a year ago, and Idaho is very close to joining their ranks with an average price that’s 98 cents cheaper today,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “As long as it remains necessary to take the health and safety precautions that we are, we can expect the trend to continue.”
On the week, Idaho had the biggest price drop in the nation at ten cents per gallon, tied with Alaska. Today, the Gem State’s average pump price is $1.93 for regular, which is 57 cents less than a month ago and 98 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the current U.S. price is $1.81, which is 36 cents less than a month ago and $1.03 cheaper than a year ago. Wisconsin currently offers the least expensive gas in the country at $1.22 per gallon.
“Refineries have really slowed down their production. They’re operating at 69 percent of capacity nationwide, and just 63 percent here in the Rockies, but that hasn’t stopped gasoline stocks from growing,” Conde explained. “Even after things get back to normal, which we all hope will happen soon, there’s going to be a big supply out there. But if the pent-up demand is strong enough to start draining it quickly, we can expect a substantial bump in gas prices to follow as we move further into the spring and summer travel season.”
U.S. gasoline demand held steady at just over five million barrels per day this week, and today, one in four U.S. gas stations are selling fuel for $1.49 per gallon or less.
After a ten-cent decrease last week, Idaho ($1.92) now joins regional neighbors Wyoming ($1.94), Montana ($1.87) and Colorado ($1.77) on the list of states where drivers are paying less than $2 per gallon. Utah ($2.11) has the highest average price in the region. Total gasoline stocks in the region currently sit at 9.1 million barrels.
On Friday, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil dropped to $18.12 per barrel despite an historic production cut agreement between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their partners, including Russia. Oil prices have plummeted as crude inventories continue to grow around the world, and prices are expected to remain highly volatile this week. Shockingly, the WTI is currently trading for about $17 per barrel, nearly $50/bbl less than a year ago.
Here’s a sample of today’s gas prices across the Gem State for 4/20/2020:
- Boise – $1.92
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.69
- Franklin – $2.15
- Idaho Falls – $1.84
- Lewiston – $1.98
- Pocatello – $1.95
- Twin Falls – $2.02
Idaho Pump Prices to Hit $2 Mark as Soon as Tomorrow
Gem State average price drops 17 cents in a week, 45 cents in last three weeks
Boise, ID – It’s the continuation of a now-familiar pattern – COVID-19 concerns further reduced gasoline demand over the last week, forcing the Idaho state average price to drop by another 17 cents. That’s the largest dip in the Rockies region and the second-largest in the entire country. With a 45-cent drop in the past three weeks, Gem State drivers could be paying $2 per gallon or less as soon as tomorrow.
Today, the Idaho average price is $2.02, which is 53 cents less than a month ago and 72 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average price is $1.86, which is 44 cents less than a month ago and nearly a dollar (96 cents) cheaper than a year ago. AAA expects the national average to drop as low as $1.70 per gallon in the coming weeks, and Idaho could reach $1.85 per gallon if current trends continue. Today, Wisconsin ($1.30) has the cheapest gas prices, and Idaho currently ranks 13th in the country for most expensive fuel.
“Obviously, stay-home orders and other efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus are having a big impact on travel demand, and even the normal commute,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “In recent weeks, U.S. demand for gasoline has decreased by 44 percent to just five million barrels per day. Shockingly, the demand hasn’t been that low since the spring of 1968.”
Gasoline and crude oil stocks continue to build in every region across the country, even as refineries have reduced their production capacity to roughly 70 percent – extraordinarily low for this time of year.
Crude oil dynamics
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently negotiated the end of a crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, with member nations agreeing to historic production cuts that will remain in effect until at least the spring of 2022. In addition to the 10-million-barrel-per-day reduction that was already in place, participants agreed to cut an additional ten million barrels in May and June, about eight million b/d from July 1 through the end of 2020, and six million b/d from January 1, 2021 through April 30, 2022.
“In the short run, OPEC’s efforts to remove the oversupply of crude oil from the market will be fairly ineffective,” Conde explained. “But when the pandemic ends and millions of people with cabin fever are able to travel and get back to their normal work routine, crude oil prices could rally in dramatic fashion, pushing gas prices higher in a very short time period.”
Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is trading near $23 per barrel, which is 11 dollars less than a month ago and 41 dollars less than a year ago. Under normal conditions, crude oil prices make up about 50 percent of the price of gasoline.
Tips for disinfecting after filling up
“Drivers who are still reporting to work or who need fuel for groceries and other essential purchases should take extra precautions at the pump,” Conde said. “If possible, select a pump toward the end of the row to prevent unnecessary interaction with other drivers. Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down the pump handle, the screen and the touchpad. If you don’t have gloves, you can use a plastic bag or even a sandwich bag to touch the pump, which can then be thrown away. After you’re done, use wipes and hand sanitizer to clean your hands and your credit card.”
Here’s a sample of some of today’s gas prices from across the Gem State for 4/13/2020:
- Boise – $2.07
- Coeur d’Alene – $1.80
- Franklin – $2.23
- Idaho Falls – $1.93
- Lewiston – $1.97
- Pocatello – $2.08
- Twin Falls – $2.11
Idaho Gas Prices Drop Dramatically, U.S. Average Approaches $2 Mark
Cheap crude oil and low demand push Idaho prices 14 cents cheaper than a week ago
Boise, ID – The economic effects of coronavirus and a crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia continue to be felt around the world and here in the Gem State – Idaho gas prices dropped by 14 cents in the last week, and the U.S. average for regular gasoline is about to fall under the $2/gallon mark.
“Crude oil and the finished products that come from it, like gasoline, are a big indicator of economic strength, or in this case, the lack thereof,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “What we’re seeing right now is a one-two punch. On the supply side, disputes over production have motivated Saudi Arabia to flood the market with cheap crude oil, now approaching $20 per barrel. On the demand side, health and safety precautions are keeping many Americans closer to home, including here in Idaho. Both factors are driving down prices at the pump.”
Today, the U.S. average price is $2.01, which is 43 cents cheaper than a month ago and 68 cents cheaper than a year ago. Drivers in ten states are already paying $1.75 per gallon or less.
The average fuel price in Idaho is $2.34, which is 19 cents cheaper than a month ago, and 18 cents less than a year ago.
In the Rockies region, all states but Utah saw double-digit price drops over the last week. At $1.97 per gallon, Colorado was the first state in the area to fall under the $2 mark, but Montana could get there this week. Gasoline stocks in the region held steady at 8.9 million barrels, but regional refinery utilization dropped to 81 percent. If refineries keep production low, the move could reduce stocks in the coming weeks, especially when demand for fuel returns.
Since the beginning of the month, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil has taken a nose dive from $45 per barrel to nearly $20 per barrel today. That’s the lowest price since 2002. Until geopolitical tensions ease between Saudi Arabia and its oil-producing partners, the trend is likely to continue. While cheaper gas prices are a welcome by-product, Saudi Arabia’s move could eventually cripple U.S. crude oil production, impacting the domestic economy in other ways.
“Due to low demand, there’s an unusually high amount of winter-blend fuel still available, so the EPA has extended the sale of winter-blend gas,” Conde said. “It’s a cheaper product to make, and delaying the switch to more-expensive summer-blend fuel will help keep prices down this spring.”
AAA predicts that once the coronavirus has abated, pent-up demand to work, travel, and recreate will push pump prices higher in a relatively short amount of time, and in time for major summer holidays. But for the next few weeks, the trend of cheaper pump prices is expected to continue.
Social distancing after a crash
Although the roads aren’t nearly as crowded as they otherwise might be, essential businesses and their employees continue to operate, and use the roads. That means there is always potential for a car accident.
In the event of a collision, try to exchange as few physical items as possible, including pens and paper. Take photos of identification cards and proof of insurance, then email them to the other driver. You can also share insurance and license information verbally. Try to maintain an appropriate distance of six feet or more, even while photographing and documenting vehicle damage or while waiting for police or a tow truck to arrive.
If your vehicle needs to be towed, it may be appropriate to consider finding an alternative means of transportation (such as a friend or family member) rather than riding with the tow truck driver, purely for social distancing purposes. The situation is changing rapidly, so if you need to call for roadside assistance, please ask about the current policy on riding with the tow truck operator.
“These are unexpected times, but Idahoans are resilient, and we will make the necessary adjustments until life gets back to normal,” Conde said. “In the meantime, let’s be calm and neighborly, even after a collision or roadside event – mutual respect goes a long way.”
Idaho Gas Prices Slide Amid National Average Free Fall
Gem State prices drop eight cents, U.S. average 33 cents since the beginning of March
Boise, ID – With the spread of coronavirus forcing many to change their work and travel plans, and a prolonged price war in the global crude oil market, the U.S. average price for gasoline has plummeted since the beginning of the month, with the Idaho average price slowly but steadily following suit.
Today, the national average price for regular gasoline is $2.11, which is 36 cents cheaper than a month ago and 52 cents less than a year ago. In the Gem State, the current average price is $2.45, which is six cents less than a month ago and three cents less than a year ago. Currently, 21 states have pump prices below the $2/gallon mark.
“More people are working from home, limiting their errands, and providing care for children who are temporarily out of school. That has significantly impacted the demand for fuel, putting some downward pressure on gas prices across the country,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “At the same time, refineries in our area are using this opportunity to slow production and prepare for seasonal maintenance. The decline in our local supply has prevented some of our regional gas prices from falling as quickly as in other parts of the country.”
According to the latest report by the Energy Information Administration, gasoline stocks dipped for the 4th straight week in the Rockies region, though only by 200,000 barrels. Total stock levels sit at 8.9 million bbls, 1.6 million more than a year ago. That’s helping gas prices in Idaho and elsewhere to drop, and the trend will likely continue for the near future, or until the pandemic is resolved.
Meanwhile, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil dropped as low as $20 per barrel last week, a price not seen since 2002. Saudi Arabia and Russia’s continued dispute over crude production has resulted in an oversaturation of the market, as the Saudis continue to offer cheap crude oil prices in an effort to seize additional market share from the United States and other oil producers.
Today, crude oil is trading near $23/bbl, which is $30 less than a month ago and $36 less than a year ago. Crude oil impacts 50 percent of the price of gasoline, with more immediate pricing effects in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Eastern seaboard. If crude prices remain unusually low, additional downward pressure will force U.S. average gas prices lower in the coming weeks.
AAA will continue to monitor the gas and crude oil markets to keep the public informed.
“With the return of warm weather and a fairly healthy economy up until the coronavirus outbreak, we would predict that there’s going to be a lot of pent-up demand to hit the road and travel when things get back to normal, so oil and gas prices may surge quite dramatically at that time,” Conde said. “Although oil and gas prices are likely to remain low in the near term, health and safety concerns really prevent drivers from being in a position to reap much benefit.”
AAA encourages the public to make wise travel decisions with the aid of an experienced travel professional, including any changes to existing travel plans or future bookings.
OPEC Infighting and Coronavirus Concerns Cause Oil Prices to Plummet
Crude oil dropped below $40/barrel on Sunday for the first time since 2016
Boise, ID – With global crude oil prices already reeling from decreased demand due to the spread of coronavirus, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major crude producers failed to agree on additional production cuts at recent meetings, prompting Saudi Arabia to retaliate by slashing prices. The combination sent shockwaves through the market over the weekend, forcing the West Texas Intermediate benchmark below $30/barrel for the first time since 2016. Crude oil prices generally impact 50 percent of the price of gasoline.
“Concerns surrounding coronavirus have really taken their toll – both the travel industry and Chinese manufacturing have been especially hard-hit, driving down the demand for crude oil on a global scale,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “The recent geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia might signal the start of a crude oil price war, which could apply further downward pressure on oil prices and eventually affect U.S. production. As fuel demand increases heading into the spring, prices could be pretty turbulent in the weeks ahead, particularly if Saudi Arabia’s actions don’t bring its partners back to the negotiating table.”
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, the WTI decreased by $4.62 to settle at $41.28/bbl. But when the global markets opened on Sunday evening, Saudi Arabia’s move to cut prices pushed the benchmark as low as $29/bbl. Currently, crude oil is trading near $34/bbl, which is 16 dollars less than a month ago and 22 dollars less than a year ago.
Today, the U.S. average price for regular gas is $2.38, which is six cents less than a month ago and nine cents less than a year ago. The Idaho average price is $2.56, the same as a month ago but 21 cents more than a year ago. Idaho and Utah are two of just three states that had higher pump prices last week. National and regional stocks continue to drop as demand increases.
Idaho currently ranks 10th in the nation for most expensive fuel, but that’s actually a bit of good news – Idaho usually ranks somewhere in the 7th to 9th-place range. All of the states in the Rockies region have more expensive year-over-year gas prices.
“A lot of levers could be thrown in the coming days, with gasoline demand increasing and available stocks dropping, refineries going off-line to complete seasonal maintenance, and the switch to summer-blend fuel,” Conde explained. “All of that upward pressure will be put up against the market’s perceived overabundance of crude oil. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these market forces could impact the cost of operating a motor vehicle, particularly as people begin making their spring and summer road trip plans.”
AAA’s travel advice
Currently, the United States recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Traveling anywhere else requires travelers to make informed decisions based on all available facts.
The U.S. State Department and CDC now recommend that U.S. citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. At this time, this is a recommendation only – the decision to travel by ship remains a personal one. Cruise lines have adopted additional policies to help prevent the spread of sickness.
Travelers who have already booked a trip or cruise who have any concerns about their ability to travel safely should speak with a professional travel agent to determine the appropriate next steps.
Here are some additional travel tips:
- The decision to travel is a very personal one that must be made by the individual. People who opt to travel should make sure they bring along all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards
- Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content, and disinfecting wipes
- Pack extra supplies, including medications, in the event that your return trip is delayed
- Know the nearest location of and contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), so you can be reached if conditions change while abroad
- If you have concerns about traveling abroad, speak to a professional travel agent about exciting domestic and regional travel options
- To promote everyday health, wash your hands frequently. Avoid contact with sick people, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Stay home when you are sick, and frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
“AAA is working very hard to stay on top of these dynamic situations and share the information with our members and the general public,” Conde said.
Idaho Gas Prices Bucked the Trend in 2019
Prices dropped all summer and spiked in the fall – now seven cents above U.S. average
Boise, ID – In an almost complete reversal of the usual pattern, gas prices in Idaho dropped from Memorial Day until the first part of October last year, followed by a surprising spike in the fall that lasted until Thanksgiving.
“It was ‘all systems go’ last summer in the Gem State,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “Abundant fuel supplies kept up with the high demand, even during the peak travel season. But in the fall, unexpected maintenance issues slowed down our regional refineries and pushed gas prices higher until Turkey Day.”
The least expensive national average price for regular gasoline was $2.23 on January 9, and the highest price was $2.90 on May 6. Idahoans paid the least on February 18 at $2.29 per gallon, and the most on May 24 at $3.21 per gallon.
AAA says that Idaho drivers enjoyed significant savings at the pump in late November and December, as refinery production got back on track and as cold weather and school commitments kept many families closer to home. Barring the unexpected, gas prices could continue to slide in the region for most of the winter before picking up again in the weeks leading up to spring break.
“The switch back to the more expensive summer-blend fuel and decreased crude oil production from OPEC members could apply some upward pressure on gas prices in the spring,” Conde said. “And because unemployment is near a 50-year low and consumer confidence remains quite high, it should be another very busy year for travel, with fuel likely to be in high demand for road trips.”
In January 2018, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut crude oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day in an effort to reduce the global supply and stabilize prices at a higher level. About a month ago, OPEC voted to deepen the existing cuts by an additional 900,000 barrels per day beginning in 2020, with 500,000 b/d from member countries and a voluntary 400,000 b/d additional reduction by Saudi Arabia.
A decrease in the global crude oil supply would eventually impact crude prices and, in turn, gas prices. But the United States is currently producing near-record levels of crude oil, and more non-OPEC crude oil is expected to come online in 2020. That could help offset OPEC’s actions.
Recent geopolitical tension between the United States and Iran could also drive crude oil prices higher in the coming weeks, depending on the outcome and whether things escalate.
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $62 per barrel.
Today, the U.S. average price is $2.59, which is a penny more than a month ago, and 35 cents more than a year ago. In Idaho, the current price is $2.66, which is 25 cents less than a month ago but 13 cents more than a year ago. Idaho is just seven cents above the national average.