The latest news on local, regional, and national fuel prices for Idahoans
Idaho Gas Prices Trail U.S. Average, but Both are Climbing
BOISE – Despite low fuel demand, gas prices are ticking up due to the rising price of crude oil. This week, drivers in every state, including Idaho, paid more to fill up, with 14 states jumping by seven cents or more.
Recent gas price activity marks the first substantial increase in the month of January since 2009. Then, as now, oil prices were increasing significantly. No state is selling fuel below $2 per gallon.
“There was a slight dip in crude oil prices to end the week, partly based on market concern that the rising number of COVID-19 cases could lead to further restrictions and even less fuel demand. But the overall trend is that of rising crude oil prices, and that’s been enough to keep pump prices climbing even with demand being down,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “We expect crude oil and petroleum prices to continue to be very reactionary to the number of new infections, and the successful deployment of the vaccine, in the weeks ahead.”
Today, Idaho drivers are paying an average of $2.27 for regular, which is three cents more than a month ago but 34 cents cheaper than a year ago. The Gem State ranks 5th in the country for the largest year-over-year savings. The national average currently sits at $2.39, which is 17 cents more than a month ago, but 16 cents less than a year ago.
“Prices are going up everywhere, and Idaho is no exception,” Conde said. “But we remain well below the national average, and that’s a rare position for our state to be in, so we’ll take it.”
West Texas Intermediate crude oil is currently trading at $53 per barrel. That’s four dollars more expensive than a month ago, but five dollars cheaper than a year ago.
On a positive note, relatively low fuel demand of 7.5 million barrels per day resulted in a 4.4 million-barrel addition to gasoline stocks this week, raising inventories to 245 million barrels. That could help offset a slight increase in demand, were one to occur this week.
Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of 1/19/21:
- Boise – $2.31
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.10
- Franklin – $2.19
- Idaho Falls – $2.17
- Lewiston – $2.25
- Pocatello – $2.25
- Twin Falls – $2.25
Crude Oil Prices Surge, U.S. and Idaho Gas Prices Follow
BOISE – Despite fuel demand dropping across the country, rising crude oil prices and a shrinking gas supply sent prices higher this week. According to AAA, the U.S. average increased by six cents to reach its most expensive price since March. Drivers in every state paid more to fill up this week.
But for Idahoans, there’s still some good news – While Gem State prices were up a penny from a week ago, they’re ten cents cheaper than the national average. And after many months in the typical 7th to 9th-place range for most-expensive fuel, Idaho currently ranks 30th in the country.
Today, the West Texas Intermediate price for a barrel of crude oil is $52 per barrel, which is five dollars more than a month ago and seven dollars cheaper than a year ago. Crude prices increased after Saudi Arabia announced production cuts of 1 million barrels per day in February and March.
In addition to higher crude prices, domestic supplies are also tightening, with U.S. crude inventories decreasing by eight million barrels this week and finished gasoline stocks dipping by ten million barrels. That was enough to offset a week of falling fuel demand, which at 7.4 million barrels per day was the lowest level since May 2020.
“This time of year, we would normally anticipate a drop in demand, but some of the activity on the supply side is a little unexpected,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “If crude oil inventories continue to shrink throughout the week, crude prices could increase and push pump prices even higher.” Crude oil makes up about half the price of finished gasoline.
Today, the U.S. average for a gallon of regular is $2.32 per gallon, which is 16 cents more than a month ago but 27 cents cheaper than a year ago. Meanwhile, Idaho drivers are currently paying $2.22 per gallon, which is four cents less than a month ago and 42 cents less than a year ago. At $3.29 per gallon, California fuel is the most expensive in the country. Mississippi is selling the cheapest gas in the country at $1.99 per gallon – the only state to remain under the $2 mark.
Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of 1/11/21:
- Boise – $2.21
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.07
- Franklin – $2.18
- Idaho Falls – $2.14
- Lewiston – $2.37
- Pocatello – $2.21
- Twin Falls – $2.25
Idaho Posts 5th Largest Year-over-year Gas Price Drop in 2020
BOISE – Idaho drivers are happy to leave 2020 in the rearview mirror, but lower gas prices have been a welcome sight. According to AAA, the Gem State saw the 5th largest year-over-year price drop at 46 cents per gallon of regular gas. Regional neighbors Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Oregon also made the top ten list, with Arizona posting the biggest savings at 60 cents per gallon.
“After several years of increasing fuel demand, COVID-19 restrictions kept more people working, studying and playing closer to home last year,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Now that year-end holiday travel is over, we could see demand dip even further, and if oil prices hold steady, that combination could lead to cheaper fill-ups in the coming weeks.”
Like their counterparts across the country, Idahoans saw gas prices plummet as stay-home orders were imposed and popular travel destinations closed in the spring. Then restrictions eased in the summer, and gas prices rallied. But Gem State drivers are paying much less than a year ago, and in the final days of 2020, Idaho’s price fell below the national average, where it remains today.
Idaho’s current price for regular is $2.21, which is seven cents less than a month ago, and 45 cents less than a year ago. The U.S. average is $2.26 – ten cents more than a month ago, but 33 cents less than a year ago. The national average held at $2.25 for 12 days before bumping up by a penny.
Idaho currently has the 26th most expensive gas in the country after several months in the 7th to 9th place-range. Drivers here paid the most to fill up on January 1 last year, at $2.68 per gallon. Prices at the pump reached their lowest point on May 4, when drivers paid $1.80 per gallon.
AAA says that year-end holiday travel was down by at least 25 percent, and according to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. gasoline demand for the last week of December dropped to 8.1 million barrels per day – the lowest demand for that calendar week in 23 years.
Crude oil prices were also extremely volatile in 2020. After beginning the year at over $60 per barrel, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark tumbled as the global economy ground to a halt. Crude prices even fell into the negative for a day in late April before spending a few weeks in the teens. Prices steadily increased in subsequent months before plateauing near $48 per barrel to end the year.
Today, WTI crude oil is trading near $50 per barrel, in part due to news that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) will not increase production in February.
“The market is feeling a little more hopeful these days, but in the short term, oil and gas prices are going to be very closely related to the successful rollout of COVID vaccines,” Conde said. “We’re still in the early going, but once the vaccine is widely distributed and consumer confidence starts to recover, the floodgates will open. Fuel demand could spike in the spring and summer if people are able to resume their normal travel activity or even a typical work commute.”
Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of 1/5/21:
- Boise – $2.18
- Coeur d’Alene – $2.07
- Franklin – $2.19
- Idaho Falls – $2.15
- Lewiston – $2.33
- Pocatello – $2.22
- Twin Falls – $2.27