AAA: It’s “Christmas in July” for Idaho drivers

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 13:49:50-04

BOISE — Idaho drivers are celebrating “Christmas in July,” as gas prices continue to fall across the state and throughout the region, according to the Idaho AAA. “This week, an unexpected drop in fuel demand nationwide and high-producing regional refineries have nudged prices even lower,” said Idaho AAA spokesman |Matt Conde.

Today, the Idaho average price for regular is $2.92, which is fourteen cents less than a month ago and 20 cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average price is $2.77, which is eleven cents less than a month ago and seven cents less than a year ago.

Idaho currently ranks eighth in the country for highest gas prices, down from seventh place a few weeks ago.

“Drivers across the Gem State have several things going in their favor right now,” said Conde. “The Rockies region currently holds the highest refinery utilization rate in the country -- at 99 percent of production capacity. Combined with robust gasoline stocks of more than 7.4 million barrels, we’re checking most of the boxes that prevent gas prices from climbing. Barring any unforeseen issues, we expect gas prices to continue to slide this week.”

Demand for gas nationwide took an unexpected turn last week -- dropping from 9.8 million barrels per day to 9.2 million barrels, despite the busy summer travel season. At the same time, total domestic stocks increased by 3.6 million barrels. If supplies continue to grow amid soft demand, experts said motorists in many parts of the country will be smiling at their next fill-up.

“Crude oil prices have held steady -- near $56 per barrel -- in recent days, due to the prevailing belief that the world economy is slowing as a result of ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China,” Conde said. “Further, experts believe that the crude oil market is still extremely oversupplied. Both factors have applied downward pressure on crude oil prices, which make up anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of the price of gasoline.”

Iran recently seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. If political tensions in the region continue, fears surrounding restricted oil supplies could drive prices higher, which would eventually affect gas prices, Conde stated.