BOISE, Idaho — The average per-gallon price for gas in Idaho has dropped another seventeen cents, according to the AAA. “That’s the largest dip in the Rockies region and the second-largest in the entire country,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matt Conde.
With a 45-cent drop in the past three weeks, Gem State drivers could be paying $2 per gallon -- or less -- as soon as this week, he added.
As of Monday, April 13, the Idaho average price is $2.02, which is 53 cents less than a month ago and 72 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average price is $1.86, which is 44 cents less than a month ago and nearly a dollar (96 cents) cheaper than a year ago.
AAA expects the national average to drop as low as $1.70 per gallon in the coming weeks, and Idaho could reach $1.85 per gallon if current trends continue. Right now, Wisconsin has the cheapest gas prices (at $1.30). Idaho currently ranks thirteenth in the country for most expensive fuel.
“Obviously, stay-home orders and other efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus are having a big impact on travel demand, and even the normal commute,” said Conde. “In recent weeks, U.S. demand for gasoline has decreased by 44 percent to just five million barrels per day. Shockingly, the demand hasn’t been that low since the spring of 1968.”
Gasoline and crude oil stocks continue to build in every region across the country, even as refineries have reduced their production capacity to roughly 70 percent –- extraordinarily low for this time of year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently negotiated the end of a crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, with member nations agreeing to historic production cuts that will remain in effect until at least the spring of 2022. In addition to the 10-million-barrel-per-day reduction that was already in place, participants agreed to cut an additional ten million barrels in May and June, about eight million barrels per day from July 1 through the end of 2020, and six million barrels per day from January 1, 2021 through April 30, 2022.
“In the short run, OPEC’s efforts to remove the oversupply of crude oil from the market will be fairly ineffective,” Conde explained. “But when the pandemic ends and millions of people with cabin fever are able to travel and get back to their normal work routine, crude oil prices could rally in dramatic fashion, pushing gas prices higher in a very short time period.”
“Drivers who are still reporting to work or who need fuel for groceries and other essential purchases should take extra precautions at the pump,” Conde said. “If possible, select a pump toward the end of the row to prevent unnecessary interaction with other drivers. Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down the pump handle, the screen and the touchpad. If you don’t have gloves, you can use a plastic bag or even a sandwich bag to touch the pump, which can then be thrown away. After you’re done, use wipes and hand sanitizer to clean your hands and your credit card.”
Here’s a sample of some of today’s gas prices from across the Gem State:
Boise - $2.07
Coeur d’Alene - $1.80
Franklin - $2.23
Idaho Falls - $1.93
Lewiston - $1.97
Pocatello - $2.08
Twin Falls - $2.11