BOISE – For the first time since early February, Idaho drivers are seeing a welcome sight at the gas pump – prices that are cheaper than a week ago.

According to AAA, today’s average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.88, which is four cents cheaper than a week ago, but 11 cents more than a month ago and 13 cents more than a year ago.  The national average currently sits at $3.65 per gallon, which is about a penny less than a week ago, but six cents more than a month ago and 11 cents more than a year ago.

Idaho continues to rank 9th in the country for most expensive fuel behind California ($5.35), Hawaii ($4.80), Washington ($4.68), Nevada ($4.53), Oregon ($4.47), Alaska ($4.38), Arizona ($4.03), and Illinois ($3.90).  But 42 of the 50 states saw price drops this week, with the cheapest fuel once again in Mississippi at $3.11 per gallon.

“This winter, it was a lot friendlier on our wallets to fill up, with Idaho pump prices reaching their lowest point in nearly three years.  But after several weeks of price hikes, the past few weeks have been a bit of a lull,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Unfortunately, we expect the recent savings to be short-lived.  In the run-up to Memorial Day, we anticipate strong demand that could easily push gas prices the other direction.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, gas demand rose this week by just 200,000 barrels per day to 8.62 million b/d, and stock levels also dipped slightly.

While lower inventory levels and higher demand would normally nudge gas prices higher, the cost of crude oil is now below the $80 mark, helping keep prices under control.  Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude is trading near $78 per barrel, which is $4 less than a week ago and $9 less than a month ago, but $6 more than a year ago.

“The EIA reports that domestic crude production is about 800,000 barrels per day higher than a year ago, imports are up 400,000 b/d, and exports are down 800,000 b/d.  That’s helping the supply chain immensely,” Conde said.  “And our regional refineries are currently producing at 88% of capacity, slightly edging production in other parts of the country for the first time in several weeks.”

The U.S. government recently announced plans to allow the sale of E15 fuel (containing up to 15% ethanol) throughout the summer driving season, with the intention of shoring up prices and supplies.  With an effective date of May 1, it’s too early to tell how much of an effect the waiver will have on pump prices throughout the summer.

Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 5/6/24:

  • Boise – $3.93
  • Coeur d’Alene – $3.83
  • Franklin – $3.85
  • Idaho Falls – $3.80
  • Lewiston – $3.77
  • Pocatello – $3.91
  • Rexburg – $3.87
  • Twin Falls – $3.87