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AAA: Idaho in "Top 10" of high gas prices

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Posted at 12:07 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 14:07:06-04

While the national average price of gas declined slightly this week to $2.21, Idaho prices climbed another six cents -- widening the gap to 26 cents a gallon -- and pushing Idaho’s average price to $2.37, according to AAA Idaho. 

“Idaho and the nation’s average prices briefly matched up at $2.05, just five weeks ago. Since then, Idaho’s average price has risen 32 cents, the third fastest increase in the nation -- enough to place Idaho’s average price tenth highest among all states,” said Idaho AAA spokesman Dave Carlson. 

According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. gasoline supplies are at their highest levels to start May on record, and gas prices are well below levels from a year ago -- contributing to drivers taking to the roads at record levels. Idaho’s average price a year ago was $2.76, compared to a U.S. average price of $2.66, Carlson said.

“Yet despite the availability of cheap, abundant oil and ample gas supplies, regional volatility related to problems at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California may again have something to do with higher prices in the region. A year ago, a fire and explosion at the same refinery cut production, causing regional shortages that pushed prices higher throughout the region, including Idaho,” Carlson explained.

“Finished gasoline intended for Idaho and Utah was likely diverted then and again this year to the Las Vegas market,” he added. “That redistribution could shorten supplies here, resulting in the run-up of Idaho prices.” 
Six of the ten highest state prices today are in the West: California, is at $2.80/gallon; Washington, $2.50; Nevada, $2.48; Oregon, $2.40; Utah, $2.39; Idaho, $2.37.  But Idaho neighbors, Montana, $2.13 and Wyoming, $2.17 appear unaffected, with prices below the U.S. average.

“Motorists may notice that prices at some locations have gone up at five to eight cents at a time in recent weeks,” Carlson said. Less understood may be the disparity between cities like Coeur d’Alene where the average price today is $2.09, compared to Boise’s $2.46 average.

Other Idaho prices today:  Pocatello is at $2.38/gallon; Idaho Falls, $2.25, Twin Falls, $2.33, Nampa, $2.46; Lewiston, $2.36.