BOISE – (May 22, 2023) – As more than 42 million Americans – including 241,000 Idahoans – head out for Memorial Day weekend, filling up the gas tank won’t be nearly as painful as last year.
According to AAA, Idaho’s average price for a gallon of regular is $3.76 – two cents more than a week ago and 12 cents more than a month ago, but 87 cents less than a year ago. Drivers in other parts of the country are faring even better, with the national average currently at $3.54 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago, 13 cents less than a month ago and $1.05 less than a year ago.
Of those who are travelling this weekend, 37 million will go by car, an increase of two million from a year ago. Drivers should expect heavy traffic on Thursday and Friday afternoon.
Here’s a seven-year retrospective of U.S. and Idaho pump prices on Memorial Day:
The Gem State currently ranks 10th in the U.S. for most expensive fuel behind California ($4.81), Hawaii ($4.75), Arizona ($4.62), Washington ($4.61), Nevada ($4.24), Oregon ($4.17), Utah ($4.10), Illinois ($3.93), and Alaska ($3.93). At $2.98 per gallon, today’s cheapest fuel is in Mississippi.
“Last year, the cost of crude oil skyrocketed as the market reeled from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and gasoline prices followed. But it will be easier for families to make a trip this year,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “The Idaho average has been floating between $3.74 and $3.76 since the beginning of May but could rise as people start hitting the road in droves.”
Today, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is trading near $72 per barrel, which is $1 more than a week ago, but $6 less than a month ago and $38 less than a year ago.
AAA recommends stopping at a trusted repair shop to make sure fluid levels, hoses, and tire pressure are good to go before leaving town.
Emergency kit 101
AAA urges drivers to purchase or refresh their emergency road kits for the busy summer months ahead. Pack a basic first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, some flares or reflectors, and basic tools. But drivers also need a plan to beat the heat.
“Make sure you have protein-based snacks and plenty of water for people and pets or, if necessary, to top off your radiator,” Conde said. “An old blanket or towel can come in handy if you need to kneel or lay down on hot asphalt to change a tire, and an inexpensive tarp and some rope can provide some emergency shade.”
While it’ll be warm or even hot at lower elevations, coats and blankets are still a good idea up in the high country. In some places, overnight temperatures will reach into the 30s and 40s.
Additional crude oil and gas considerations
- The cost of crude oil is currently hovering in the low $70 range, the result of continued fears of a global recession. But as gasoline demand surges, crude oil will likely become more expensive. The price of crude oil makes up more than half of the price of finished gasoline.
- Utah’s average price for gasoline is about 35 cents more expensive than Idaho’s. Because Utah supplies most of the Gem State’s gasoline, higher pump prices could reach Idaho soon.
- Regional gasoline supplies are down nearly 1 million barrels from typical levels. Tight supplies could cause the price of fill-ups to climb across the Rockies region.
- Refineries continue to experience downtime as they work through seasonal maintenance. After reaching a recent low of 68% refining capacity about a month ago, regional refineries are now operating at 74%. If refinery production fails to keep up with rising demand, pump prices could climb higher and faster than they otherwise would, based on demand alone.
“As you travel, please remember that sharing your photos and plans on social media could make your home a target for theft,” Conde said. “Post your pictures when you get back and only share your itinerary with a select number of friends and family members.”
Here’s a look at gas prices from around the Gem State:
Boise – $3.88
Coeur d’Alene – $3.68
Franklin – $4.15
Idaho Falls – $3.51
Lewiston – $3.63
Pocatello – $3.59
Rexburg – $3.65
Twin Falls – $3.72