Idaho drivers got more bad news as they filled up their cars this week. According to AAA, the state’s average price for regular increased by seven cents to $3.65 per gallon, the sixth highest jump in the country. High demand continues to drive prices at the pump.
But there is some hope on the horizon – over the weekend, OPEC announced plans to increase crude oil production by 400,000 barrels per day in August, which could help slow the rising price of fuel. Crude oil makes up about half of the price of finished gasoline.
“So far, a lot of people have been willing to accept the trade-off of higher gas prices in exchange for the opportunity to travel and to visit family, but the cost is starting to take its toll,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Even the folks with a ‘glass-half-full’ approach to the current situation are starting to see the cup run dry.”
On average, Idaho gas prices are 21 cents higher than they were at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, the national average only increased by a nickel over the same time period, and currently sits at $3.17 per gallon.
“It’s not unheard of for Idaho gas prices to be 20 or 30 cents higher than the U.S. average, but right now, they’re nearly 50 cents apart,” Conde said. “In the short run, we’re not likely to see much relief on fill-ups here in the Gem State.”
AAA expects higher gas prices to be the norm throughout the summer, and prices could plateau sometime around Labor Day. Most travelers won’t change their vacation plans this year, even if they have to pay more to reach their destination.
Last week, the price of crude oil fluctuated between $71 and $75 per barrel. But OPEC’s weekend announcement may already be having an effect, with the West Texas Intermediate price currently trading near $67 per barrel.
Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of July 19:
Boise - $3.75
Coeur d’Alene - $3.41
Franklin - $3.78
Idaho Falls - $3.62
Lewiston - $3.43
Pocatello - $3.59
Twin Falls - $3.74