Surging Gas Prices Show Signs of Stabilizing

National average holds steady while Idaho pump prices remain 7th highest in the nation

BOISE – (May 7, 2018) – Gasoline inventories are recovering from record-high demand in April, and the national average gas price held steady for the week as the spike in U.S. pump prices appeared to temporarily level off. In addition, 19 state averages remained flat or even dipped slightly for the week.

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“It may be a case of rising gas prices starting to be held in check to some extent by a return to more typical travel demand following the start of a busy spring season,” said Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “There could be a lull or perhaps even a slight decrease in gas prices until demand starts building for the Memorial Day weekend.  We’ll hope for the best.”

The possibility of stable fuel prices is welcome news for the many drivers who have experienced nothing but pain at the pump since the beginning of the year. Today, the national average is $2.81, which is 25 cents more than a month ago and 45 cents more than a year ago.

Idahoans have had it much worse. Today’s average pump price is $3.11, which is 23 cents more than a month ago and 55 cents more than a year ago.  The Gem State has the dubious honor of ranking 6th in the country for highest gas price increases from a year ago.  Current pump prices also put Idaho in 7th place for the highest gas prices today.

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“The Rockies region is still guzzling fuel at a rapid pace,” Conde said. “The current regional inventory sits at 7.2 million barrels, nearly 600,000 below where it was at the end of April 2017.”
Domestic crude oil production recently set another record at 10.62 million barrels per day. While crude inventories increased for the week, the national supply of 436 million bbl is still 92 million bbl lower than it was at this time last year.  The United States also added nine new oil rigs, putting the total at 834 – 131 more rigs than this time last year.

“In the coming weeks, political tension in the Middle East over a possible renegotiation of Iran’s nuclear deal could create some uncertainty in the global crude oil market, and domestic fuel demand could resume its frenetic pace soon,” Conde said. “If these or other events occur, our moment of calm could be very brief.”  Barring unforeseen circumstances, AAA predicts that gas prices could rise by 5 to 10 cents as part of the process leading up to Memorial Day travel.

“There’s been consistent growth in travel demand for every major holiday over the past few years,” Conde said. “After AAA has completed this year’s projections, we’ll have a much better sense of what the future will hold.”