BOISE – This Valentine’s Day, Idaho pump prices will have drivers feeling more heartburn than love. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.67 per gallon, which is seven cents more than a week ago, 29 cents more than a month ago, and 14 cents more than a year ago.
Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.42 per gallon, which is five cents less than a week ago, 13 cents more than a month ago, and seven less than a year ago. Idaho is back in the top ten for most expensive pump prices, behind Hawaii ($4.89), California ($4.65), Nevada ($4.15), Washington ($4.13), Colorado ($3.99), Oregon ($3.79), Utah ($3.78), Alaska ($3.76), and Pennsylvania ($3.72).
“The Rockies region is in a pressure cooker right now. With a lean infrastructure, the loss of production at the Suncor refinery in Colorado has struck a major blow to stock levels and pump prices in the region, including here in Idaho,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Unfortunately, the price of gasoline could continue to climb throughout the month of February.”
According to the latest report by the Energy Information Administration, the Rockies’ refinery utilization rate, a measure of overall production, improved slightly to 73.5%, but remains about 15% below the five-year average low for this time of year. The Suncor refinery is expected to remain offline until late March, when other refineries will begin the process of scheduled maintenance before the switch to summer-blend fuel and the run-up to the busy driving season.
“Things could definitely come to a head around Spring Break week, but there’s still hope that market pressure will ease up for a while,” Conde said. “Colorado has better access to finished fuel products from outside the region than other states, and fuel deliveries from the Gulf Coast and Midwest could alleviate drains from areas like Utah, which supplies Idaho’s gas. Regional refineries could also ramp up production to fill the need. If everything goes well, the price of fill-ups could level off sometime in March before the big fuel demand takes off.”
EIA further reports that every week in January, gasoline inventories in the Rockies region consistently drew down, but that stock levels increased for the most recent week on record, leaving some room for optimism.
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $81 per barrel, which is $1 more than a month ago and $6 more than a year ago. If the cost of crude oil, which makes up more than half of the price of finished gasoline, goes down or holds steady, it could relieve some pressure on pump prices.
Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 2/13/23:
- Boise – $3.83
- Coeur d’Alene – $3.22
- Franklin – $3.77
- Idaho Falls – $3.52
- Lewiston – $3.59
- Pocatello – $3.78
- Rexburg – $3.70
- Twin Falls – $3.77