Gas prices falling in Idaho, but increase in fuel demand may cause another spike

Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 15:06:55-04

IDAHO — Gas prices in Idaho are still high, but starting to come down according to AAA, offering some relief to Idahoans. But, this might not be the end of high gas prices in the state as we approach one of the busiest travel weekends of the year and crude oil is still above $90 per barrel.

According to AAA, a sudden increase in fuel demand or a disruption in the supply chain could quickly reverse the trend.

“We're in a nice downward trend at the point. We’ve been dropping for the last month or so," Public & Government Affairs Director Matthew Conde. "Certainly, nowhere where we want to end up but at least it’s a start.”

Idaho’s average gas price is $4.91 which is 11 cents less than a week ago and 34 cents less than a month ago, but still – higher than the national average of $4.21.

“We’re generally anywhere from 20 to 30 cents above the national average at a typical moment. Right now the gaps are a little bit wider. It’s partly a function of just being in the west. Distribution is a lot different out here. Getting that final mile delivery by tanker truck, things of that nature.”

While prices are offering some relief now, Labor Day weekend could cause another spike as demand increases.

“We may see a cyclical pattern in the run-up to Labor Day, where falling gas prices prompt an occasional surge in fuel demand, followed by upward pressure on crude oil and gas prices that curbs that demand,” Conde says. “The market is pretty skittish right now, but significant price drops may come in the fall, provided that we avoid the misfortune of a hurricane making landfall near a major refinery or some other supply chain issue.”

AAA Idaho

Idaho ranks 7th for highest gas prices behind California ($5.61), Hawaii ($5.44), Alaska ($5.09), Nevada ($5.08), Oregon ($5.07), and Washington ($5.01) according to AAA.

In a new AAA survey, 64% of U.S. adults say that they’ve changed their driving habits since March.

The top three changes include driving less, combining errands and reducing shopping or dining out.

“As we’ve seen this summer, there are still plenty of travelers in the air and on the road, but for some people, the pain of expensive fuel is just too much right now,” Conde said. “Going to ‘one-stop shops' where you can do banking, grocery shopping, and other activities without a lot of extra driving may help stretch your gas budget a little further.”

Around 30% of people in the survey say they’ve delayed major purchases or postponed vacations due to the high prices at the pump.

Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars Conde says. If you typically drive over the speed limit, slowing down by 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by as much as 14%.