Unexpected abundance of regional fuel and crude oil driving Gem State prices down

BOISE – (July 1, 2019) – As a record 263,000 Idahoans prepare to hit the road in search of hot dogs, fireworks, and fun this Independence Day, gas prices are making life less painful at the pump.

“Idaho gas prices dropped for the entire month of June, while the national average jumped a nickel over the last week due to increased travel demand and June gasoline stocks that are at their lowest level for this time of year since 2015.  Another factor is the announced permanent shutdown of one of the largest and oldest refineries on the East Coast,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “But right now, every state in the Rockies region is defying the national trend, and here in Idaho, we have a real chance of hitting the $3 mark in the next few days.”

Today, the national average is $2.72, which is ten cents less than a month ago and thirteen cents less than a year ago.  The Idaho average price is $3.01, which is 18 cents less than a month ago and 16 cents less than a year ago.  Here’s a seven-year retrospective on July 4 gas prices:

Regional refineries have achieved close to a 100 percent utilization rate in recent weeks, helping to maximize the available fuel supply (7.5 million bbl).  Experts have described gasoline stocks in the Rockies as “extremely healthy” for this time of year.

Crude oil prices hovered between $57 and $59 per barrel for weeks due to continued speculation about a global oversupply of crude oil.  But today, oil prices are trending near $60 per barrel amid rumors that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) will vote to maintain current production cuts for another six to nine months.

“On the domestic side, there’s some good news – the U.S. is close to becoming the number two exporter in the world for crude oil, which might help offset the effect of OPEC’s action,” Conde said.

Nearly 49 million Americans will travel over the Independence Day weekend, about two million more than last year and the biggest July 4 crowd since AAA began tracking the holiday’s travel volumes.  About 41 million will drive, with the afternoon of July 3 expected to be the busiest time as holiday travelers and commuters share the road.

AAA will rescue nearly 367,000 people at the roadside over the holiday weekend (about a thousand Idahoans), and most of their mishaps will be caused by flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts. AAA encourages a pre-trip vehicle inspection before heading off to celebrate our nation’s birthday.