BOISE – Idaho drivers continue to see savings at the pump as economic fears drive down the cost of crude oil.
“Normally, when fuel demand increases and supplies tighten up, the price of fill-ups trends higher. But with the cost of crude in serious turmoil right now, that hasn’t been the case this week,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “As long as the market is worried about the current banking climate and the possibility of a global recession, crude prices could continue to experience downward pressure that translates to lower pump prices, despite Spring Break travel.”
Today, the average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.62, which is five cents less than a week ago, seven cents less than a month ago, and 74 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.44, which is three cents less than a week ago, seven cents less than a month ago, and 82 cents less than a year ago.
Idaho currently ranks 11th in the country for most expensive fuel behind California ($4.85), Hawaii ($4.82), Nevada ($4.27), Washington ($4.25), Arizona ($3.99), Oregon ($3.88), Utah ($3.81), Alaska ($3.77), Colorado ($3.77), and Illinois ($3.63). At $2.98 per gallon, today’s cheapest fuel can be found in Oklahoma.
“We continue to keep a close eye on Utah, where most of our state’s gasoline is refined,” Conde said. “While prices there have dropped lately, drivers in that state are still paying about 18 cents more than we are, which could be a sign of things to come in Idaho.”
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $66 per barrel, which is $10 less than a month ago, and $36 less than a year ago – when prices skyrocketed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Crude oil makes up more than half of the price of finished gasoline.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline demand increased slightly to 8.6 million barrels per day on the week, while supplies decreased by two million barrels. U.S. refinery production increased from 86% to 88%, with refineries in the Rockies region holding steady at 81%.
“It’s too early to predict how economic factors will affect spring and summer travel, but we know that Spring Break is off to a strong start,” Conde said. “From a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, lower gas prices could motivate more road trips. Plus, the average pain threshold for a travel decision has increased – before the pandemic, it was around $3.50 per gallon. Now, it’s closer to $4.50 per gallon, with many families willing to scale back in other areas to make a dream vacation possible.”
Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 3/20/23:
- Boise – $3.78
- Coeur d’Alene – $3.34
- Franklin – $3.84
- Idaho Falls – $3.45
- Lewiston – $3.33
- Pocatello – $3.61
- Rexburg – $3.48
- Twin Falls – $3.74