BOISE – Idaho drivers will pay the most to fill up their tank on Labor Day weekend in seven years, but according to AAA, that won’t prevent most people from getting in one last trip to end the summer.

Today, the average price in the Gem State for a gallon of regular is $3.80, the same as a week ago and a penny less than a month ago.  Meanwhile, the U.S. average currently sits at $3.18, which is four cents more than a week ago and a penny more than a month ago.  Recent price movement in the national average is primarily due to Hurricane Ida, but the impact has been primarily felt in the path of the storm.

“Idaho gas prices have plateaued in recent weeks, and even though they’re much higher than we’d like them to be, there hasn’t been a sudden jump that would make most people change their travel plans,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.  “Because Memorial Day and Independence Day travel were so strong this year, it’s reasonable to conclude that Labor Day weekend could also be very busy.”

With the short holiday weekend, cooler weather, and school obligations, many Idahoans will travel by car and stay closer to home.  This year, popular destinations include:

  1. McCall and Sun Valley
  2. Utah National Parks
  3. Las Vegas and Reno
  4. The Oregon Coast
  5. Disneyland and Southern California

AAA projects that the busiest times on the roads will be Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and Monday afternoon.

“Before you hit the road, please check your tire pressure, and pack some extra clothing and blankets, as the weather can cool down quite a bit at night and at higher elevations this time of year,” Conde said.  “If you’re driving early in the morning or late at night, watch for wildlife, and, as always, don’t forget your emergency kit with basic first aid, a flashlight and batteries, and some basic tools.”

Please drive safe and sober

AAA reminds drivers to celebrate Labor Day safely and responsibly.  During the 2019 Labor Day weekend, impaired driving contributed to 451 fatal crashes nationwide, including two here in Idaho.

“It might be tempting to over-indulge, especially given the challenges we’ve faced lately.  But that decision could put people’s lives at risk,” Conde said.  “If you’ve used any kind of impairing substance, it will affect your judgment and reaction time.  Please do the right thing and find another way to get home, such as a designated driver, public transportation, or a ride-hailing app.”

According to the Idaho Transportation Department, there were 86 fatal crashes on Idaho roads involving impaired drivers in 2019, and 79 in 2020, despite a dramatic reduction in the number of cars on the road during the pandemic.  It will take a collective effort to reverse the trend.

“It starts with having a good game plan, and helping others to do the same,” Conde said.  “Never ride with an impaired driver, and if you have a friend who is about to drink and drive, please urge them to make other arrangements.  We’ve been through enough without adding a devastating car crash to the mix.”