BOISE, Idaho — It could be the beginning of the end for falling gas prices across the country, according to the American Automobile Association.
The U.S. average price for regular gasoline was up a penny over the last week, due to sharp increases in pump prices across the Great Lakes and Central States regions. Meanwhile, states in the West, including Idaho, continued to see prices drop last week. “The U.S. and Idaho average prices are now just two cents apart. Idaho is usually twenty to thirty cents higher than the national price,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.
“It’s fairly common for states in the Rockies region to react slowly when the U.S. average changes course,” Conde explained. “In this case, that’s a good thing; Idaho drivers might save a few cents more during the week than some drivers in other parts of the country. But if demand continues to grow on the national level, it’s only a matter of time before prices here start to react.”
As some states ease COVID-19 health precautions in an effort to re-open businesses and jump-start local economies, there’s greater demand for fuel, but overall use is still below six million barrels per day -– a far cry from the amount of fuel typically purchased this time of year, experts said.
Wisconsin, which recently sold the cheapest fuel in the country, saw prices leap 27 cents in a week, followed by Ohio (+19) and Indiana (+16). Idaho prices dropped five cents during the same time period, along with Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Every state in the Rockies region is now below $2 per gallon.
“It’s likely that Idaho pump prices will start to bottom out somewhere near the $1.75-per-gallon mark,” Conde stated. “As phases of COVID-19 restrictions are lifted here and around the country, all of that pent-up demand to travel and commute to work could put significant upward pressure on gas prices in the coming weeks, depending on how fast the demand comes back and barring any secondary spike in COVID-19 cases.”
For now, though, Idahoans will continue to reap some rewards when they fill up.
Today, the Idaho average price for a gallon of regular is $1.80, which is 44 cents less than a month ago, and $1.32 less than a year ago. The current U.S. average is $1.78, which is sixteen cents less than a month ago, and $1.12 less than a year ago.