BOISE – Gem State drivers continue to face surging prices at the pump.  According to AAA, Idaho’s average price for regular jumped ten cents this week to $3.21 per gallon, which is 33 cents more than a month ago, but 45 cents less than a year ago.

Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.35 per gallon, which is nine cents more than a week ago and 20 cents more than a month ago, but just five cents cheaper than a year ago.

Today, Idaho ranks 25th in the country for most expensive fuel after dipping down into the 30’s earlier this winter.  Utah, where most of the Gem State’s fuel originates, currently ranks 32nd, while Montana, another supplier, ranks 19th.  All three states saw a price hike of 9.5 cents this week.

“As we approach Spring Break, gasoline demand tends to rise.  Supplies dip as refineries sell off their remaining winter-blend fuel, complete seasonal maintenance, and make the switch to more-expensive summer-blend.  All of that can be a recipe for higher pump prices,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Given the winter storms that have kicked off March, the market may pressurize and de-pressurize with the rise and fall of temperatures over the next few weeks.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, refinery production in the Rockies region recently plummeted from 88.4% to 80% of operating capacity.  But there is some good news – Rockies gasoline stocks are still about 1.2 million barrels (or 16%) higher than a year ago.  A potential overstock could keep prices cheaper in the short term, as refineries may need to sell off winter-blend fuel at a discount to clear supplies out of the system.

Crude oil dynamics

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $79 per barrel, $1.50 more than a week ago and $7 more than a month ago, but roughly the same price as a year ago.

“The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently announced plans to extend current crude oil production cuts through June.  Fortunately, the move was widely expected, and so far, has done little to startle the market,” Conde said.  “But as spring rolls into the summer driving season, if travel demand and road trips maintain their popularity, crude oil prices will climb, and gas prices will follow.”

The EIA’s most recent report indicates that domestic crude oil supplies are currently 33 million barrels lower than a year ago.  U.S. production is at 13.3 million barrels per day, about 1 million b/d more than a year ago.  Imports are about 200,000 b/d more than a year ago, and exports are about 900,000 barrels per day lower than a year ago.

Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 3/4/24:

  • Boise – $3.21
  • Coeur d’Alene – $3.29
  • Franklin – $3.16
  • Idaho Falls – $3.05
  • Lewiston – $3.32
  • Pocatello – $3.18
  • Rexburg – $3.06
  • Twin Falls – $3.11