BOISE – Idaho drivers are feeling pain at the pump this week. According to AAA, today’s average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.60, which is 15 cents more than a week ago and 18 cents more than a month ago.
Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.47, which is four cents cheaper than a week ago and 16 cents more than a month ago.
This week, the most expensive fuel can be found in Hawaii ($4.91), California ($4.62), Washington ($4.14), Nevada ($4.03), Colorado ($3.93), Alaska ($3.78), Oregon ($3.78), Pennsylvania ($3.76), Utah ($3.67), and Illinois ($3.62). Idaho currently ranks 12th in the country and is likely to be back in the top ten soon. Today’s least expensive fuel can be found in Texas ($3.08).
“Gas prices have been climbing across the U.S. since the beginning of the year, but the big surge hit other parts of the country first. Now, the other shoe has dropped, with price hikes reaching Idaho,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “With a mixed economic outlook and the continued prospect of winter weather, pump prices could be on a real roller coaster this week.”
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced plans to maintain their current level of crude oil production, which reassured the market and helped crude prices fall. On the other hand, a U.S. report which indicated that 517,000 jobs were added to the economy in January, dropping unemployment rates to a 54-year low of 3.4%, could have the opposite effect. As the market attempts to calculate the likelihood of a recession, crude oil prices, and, in turn, gas prices, could fluctuate this week.
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $74 per barrel, which is about $4 cheaper than a week ago and the same as a month ago. Experts will keep a close eye on the cost of crude, which makes up more than half of the price of finished gasoline.
According to the Energy Information Administration, nationwide gasoline demand rose from 8.1 million to 8.5 million barrels per day, but total gasoline stocks also increased by 2.6 million barrels this week. And the Rockies region, which saw refinery production drop to just 60% in the aftermath of the Suncor refinery fire in Colorado, increased its utilization rate to 71% this week. If refinery activity and gasoline stocks can outpace demand, it could help relieve the pressure on pump prices.
“As the weather gets nicer, barring a major economic downturn, the overall trend will be rising gas prices,” Conde said. “To stretch your time between fill-ups, group your errands and avoid stop-and-go traffic wherever possible. Being frugal now will pay off later this spring and summer.”
Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 2/6/23, compared with a week ago:
- Boise – $3.76 (+23 cents)
- Coeur d’Alene – $3.24 (no change)
- Franklin – $3.57 (+19 cents)
- Idaho Falls – $3.45 (+15 cents)
- Lewiston – $3.58 (no change)
- Pocatello – $3.64 (+23 cents)
- Rexburg – $3.60 (+6 cents)
- Twin Falls – $3.66 (+20 cents)