Abundant supply and modest demand are keeping Gem State prices in check

BOISE – (February 25, 2019) – In an unusual trend, Idaho’s average gas price continues to drop, even as the U.S. average steadily increases. Gem State pump prices are now ten cents cheaper than the national average.

Since January 1, U.S. average fuel prices have increased by thirteen cents. Over the same period, Idaho’s prices have dropped 28 cents – a welcome beginning to the year.

In some parts of the country, gas prices have increased due to rising crude oil prices and steady demand. But in other locations with severe winter weather, concerns over fuel availability have motivated drivers to stock up, driving prices higher.

“The national average typically functions like a train engine, pulling state averages like Idaho’s along for the ride,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “However, Idaho is toward the back of the train, and our state is generally one of the last to react when the U.S. average changes.  In this case, that’s a very good thing.”

Today, the U.S. average is $2.39 per gallon, which is 12 cents more than a month ago, but still 12 cents less than a year ago. In Idaho, the current price is $2.29, which is 13 cents less than a month ago, and 29 cents less than a year ago.  Compared to their Western neighbors, (Washington – $2.86, Oregon – $2.74, Nevada – $2.84), Idahoans have plenty to celebrate.

Since the beginning of the year, crude oil prices have increased. On January 1, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark was trading near $45 per barrel.  Today, the WTI is $55, but it went as high as $57 on Friday.  Several factors have impacted the global crude supply, including OPEC’s production cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day, increased oil embargos on Venezuela, and tighter sanctions on Iran.  All of these conditions have applied upward pressure on oil prices, which in turn affect gas prices.

Meanwhile, domestic oil production is at an all-time high. According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil production recently topped 12 million barrels per day, the highest amount ever recorded.  Although the U.S. lost four oil rigs on the week, there are still 854 operational – 54 more than this time last year.  Recent production growth has raised domestic crude inventories to 455 million barrels.

In the Rockies region, gasoline stocks dipped slightly below 7.5 million barrels to end the week, but current supplies are healthy enough to offset price fluctuations in other areas.

“Idaho gas prices are likely to increase in the near future, for a number of reasons,” Conde said. “Rising crude oil prices, spring travel demand, the upcoming switch to more-expensive summer-blend fuel, and seasonal refinery maintenance are all variables that AAA will be watching in the coming weeks.  But for now, we’re happy to keep saving at the pump.”

As part of the Fuel Rewards program, AAA members can also save at least 5 cents per gallon at participating Shell gas stations through the end of 2019. For more information, go to AAA.com/shell.

Here’s a look at gas prices around Idaho: Albion, $2.51; American Falls, $2.29; Arco, $2.43; Athol, $2.40; Bellevue, $2.40; Bliss, $2.49; Boise, $2.22; Bonners Ferry, $2.35; Buhl, $2.25; Carey, $2.42; Cascade, $2.63; Chubbuck, $2.28; Coeur d’Alene, $2.26; Council, $2.48; Dalton Gardens, $2.22; Declo, $2.70; Donnelly, $2.46; Driggs, $2.40; Franklin, $2.19; Eden, $2.68; Filer, $2.19; Fruitland, $2.31; Grand View, $2.50; Grangeville, $2.60; Hailey, $2.41; Heyburn, $2.33; Homedale, $2.26; Horseshoe Bend, $2.24; Idaho Falls, $2.24; Island Park, $2.67; Kamiah, $2.39; Kellogg, $2.40; Ketchum, $2.70; Lava Hot Springs, $2.30; Lewiston, $2.42; Malad, $2.30; Marsing, $2.26; Moscow, $2.55; Mountain Home, $2.18; New Meadows, $2.43; New Plymouth, $2.29; Orofino, $2.42; Payette, $2.31; Pinehurst, $2.40; Pocatello, $2.32; Post Falls, $2.30; Rigby, $2.24; Riggins, $2.50; Sandpoint, $2.34; Stanley, $2.73; Sugar City, $2.37; Twin Falls, $2.25; Wallace, $2.39; Weiser, $2.26.