BOISE – Despite fuel demand dropping across the country, rising crude oil prices and a shrinking gas supply sent prices higher this week. According to AAA, the U.S. average increased by 6 cents to reach its most expensive price since March.
“Drivers in every state paid more to fill up this week,” according to an AAA press release.
Unless you live in Coeur d’Alene.
Prices at three Northwest Boulevard gas stations were still at $1.99 for a gallon of regular unleaded on Monday, while a station at Best Avenue and Fourth Street was at $1.97 a gallon. Downtown Coeur d’Alene gas was going for $2.04 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
Prices in other areas of Kootenai County had dipped to around $2 a gallon, but have bounced up in the $2.10 per gallon range. Drivers weren’t exactly flocking to gas stations Monday, as several in Coeur d’Alene had no one pumping gas.
Dave Jepsen was filling up his Suburban at a Northwest Boulevard gas station Monday afternoon. He was happy with the price of less than $2 a gallon compared to what it was going for in the Spokane Valley at $2.35 for regular unleaded.
“It’s another reason to come over here,” he said.
While Gem State prices were up a penny from a week ago, they’re 10 cents cheaper than the national average. And after many months in the typical 7th to 9th-place range for most-expensive fuel, Idaho currently ranks 30th in the country.
The West Texas Intermediate price for a barrel of crude oil is $52 per barrel, which is $5 more than a month ago and seven dollars cheaper than a year ago. Crude prices increased after Saudi Arabia announced production cuts of 1 million barrels per day in February and March.
In addition to higher crude prices, domestic supplies are also tightening, with U.S. crude inventories decreasing by eight million barrels this week and finished gasoline stocks dipping by ten million barrels. That was enough to offset a week of falling fuel demand, which at 7.4 million barrels per day was the lowest level since May 2020.
“This time of year, we would normally anticipate a drop in demand, but some of the activity on the supply side is a little unexpected,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “If crude oil inventories continue to shrink throughout the week, crude prices could increase and push pump prices even higher.” Crude oil makes up about half the price of finished gasoline.
Today, the U.S. average for a gallon of regular is $2.32 per gallon, which is 16 cents more than a month ago but 27 cents cheaper than a year ago. Meanwhile, Idaho drivers are currently paying $2.22 per gallon, which is four cents less than a month ago and 42 cents less than a year ago. At $3.29 per gallon, California fuel is the most expensive in the country. Mississippi is selling the cheapest gas in the country at $1.99 per gallon — the only state to remain under the $2 mark.
Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of Monday: Boise – $2.21
Coeur d’Alene – $2.07; Franklin – $2.18; Idaho Falls – $2.14; Lewiston – $2.37; Pocatello – $2.21; Twin Falls – $2.25