Experts say the fall theoretically brings cheaper pump prices, a result of lower seasonal demand and the switch-over to cheaper-to-produce winter grade fuel. Though that hasn’t happened just yet in Idaho, there are better days ahead, according to the American Automobile Association.
Idaho drivers are still paying the seventh-highest pump prices in the U.S. The spread between the Gem State and U.S. average prices widened a nickel to 25 cents a gallon in the past month. Idaho’s average price today is $2.46, up five cents in the past month -- compared to a U.S. average price of $2.21 which is unchanged during that time.
“An unexpected combination of pipeline and refinery issues and uncertainty about future oil production kept an upward pressure on Idaho pump prices,” said AAA spokesman Matthew Conde. “Even after Idaho completed the switch-over to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend fuel, market forces created a savings mirage, because our state still had some of the highest prices in the U.S.”
Seasonal maintenance at some California refineries temporarily reduced supply which, in a typical year, is offset by reduced seasonal demand, authorities said. “When BP was forced to postpone scheduled maintenance of its Olympic Pipeline until last week due to Typhoon Songda, regional supplies tightened even further,” Conde pointed out.
“Under these conditions, it’s our observation that some of the fuel originally intended for Idaho is usually diverted to other regional markets, including Nevada and Washington,” he said. “When that happens, Idahoans typically pay more at the pump.”
But looking a few weeks down the road, experts say prices should settle lower in the Rocky Mountain region.
Oil prices have recently dropped in an unexpected fashion, and it appears that the trend will continue. “Barring additional supply pressure regionally, Idahoans should see a welcome discount on gas prices heading into the holiday season,” Conde stated.
Across the Gem State, Arco drivers are paying $2.50 per gallon;, Boise,$2.45; Bonner’s Ferry, $2.58; Burley, $2.43; Chubbuck, $2.46; Couer D’Alene, $2.43; Emmett, $2.47; Hailey, $2.60; Idaho Falls, $2.42; Kooskia, $2.47; McCall, $2.68; Moscow, $2.56; Pocatello, $2.46; Sandpoint, $2.45; Shoshone, $2.4; and Twin Falls, $2.41.