BOISE – Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer travel, and as many Idaho families head out on one last road trip, they’ll need to plan on paying more at the pump.
According to AAA, today’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the Gem State is $4.15 per gallon, which is three cents more than a week ago and 24 cents more than a month ago. Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.82, which is three cents less than a week ago and seven cents more than a month ago.
Today, Idaho ranks 9th in the country for most expensive fuel behind California ($5.29), Washington ($5.10), Hawaii ($4.78), Oregon ($4.76), Alaska ($4.60), Nevada ($4.60), Arizona, ($4.33), and Utah ($4.28). Gas prices shot up overnight by a nickel in Boise and by seven cents in the Pocatello area.
“Pump prices still haven’t peaked for the year, with fuel demand going strong both for Idahoans and for those who are passing through,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “With many schools not starting until after Labor Day, and plenty of folks coming and going over the weekend, we may not see prices calm down until mid-September at the earliest, when the switch to less-expensive winter-blend fuel and lower demand may lend a helping hand.”
Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Labor Day gas prices for Idaho and the national average:
The high price of fill-ups is causing tremendous pain for Idaho drivers, but the current average is still 44 cents less than a year ago. AAA says that while fuel demand remains steady and the cost of crude oil continues to hover in the $80/barrel range, drivers can expect expensive gas prices for the foreseeable future – especially with the continued threat of hurricane season. “With domestic and international bookings both topping last year’s totals, we expect the roads and the airports to be really busy,” Conde said. “Plan for heavy traffic on Thursday and Friday afternoon, and coming home on Monday.”
If you’re heading to one of the state or national parks, AAA advises arriving early to beat the crowds and tour buses. The most popular destinations, such as Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Arches, and Zion continue to experience high volumes of visitors. Arriving and leaving early may also help avoid some RV and toy hauler traffic on two-lane roads and state highways.
AAA will assist with nearly 317,000 vehicle disablements, including 700 here in Idaho. Drivers can make a smart B-E-T by checking their battery, engine fluids/belts, and tires before leaving town.
“With any major holiday, we always emphasize the importance of a good emergency kit, complete with basic first aid, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, protein snacks and water, and basic tools,” Conde said. “You’ll also want to start thinking about keeping blankets and warm clothing in your vehicle in case you encounter chilly temperatures along your journey.”