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AAA: Crude prices dip, record-breaking gas prices press pause

IDHAO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - After reaching $123 per barrel last week, AAA says the cost of crude oil has dropped in recent days and is currently trading near $102 per barrel. If the trend continues, it could bring some relief to a gasoline market that is besieged by record-breaking prices.

“It’s too early to definitively state that the past few days are evidence of a long-term course correction,” AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde said. “Further developments surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the upcoming switch to more-expensive summer-blend fuel, and possible refinery downtime due to seasonal maintenance may have an impact on the price of crude oil and gas in the coming weeks, to say nothing of growing fuel demand.”

According to AAA, Idaho’s average price for regular is $4.36 per gallon, which is 40 cents more than a week ago and 84 cents more than a month ago.

Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of Monday:

  • Boise - $4.45
  • Coeur d’Alene - $4.14
  • Franklin - $4.37
  • Idaho Falls - $4.27
  • Lewiston - $4.13
  • Pocatello - $4.34
  • Twin Falls - $4.47

Meanwhile, the national average is slightly lower at $4.33, which is 26 cents more than a week ago and 84 cents more than a month ago. Prices held steady over the weekend.

Eight states and the District of Columbia now have gas price averages above the $4.50 mark, including California ($5.74), Nevada ($4.96), Hawaii ($4.96), Washington ($4.74), Oregon ($4.74), Alaska ($4.73), Arizona ($4.60) and Illinois ($4.57). After dipping as low as 26th place in recent weeks, Idaho currently ranks 13th in the country for most expensive fuel.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s latest estimate, gasoline demand has increased to nearly 9 million barrels per day. In addition to the exorbitant cost of crude, shrinking fuel stocks and rising demand are both contributing to higher pump prices, albeit to a lesser degree.

Domestic crude oil stocks are also down 17% from a year ago.

“With the likelihood of continued market volatility, we need to conserve as much fuel as possible in our daily routine,” Conde said. “Try to plan errands during off-peak hours and eliminate as much doubling back and stop-and-go traffic as possible. Take anything heavy that you don’t need off the roof rack or out of the trunk, and shop for the best prices on fuel with the AAA mobile app or a similar tool.”

Gas theft advice

Now that fuel prices have reached record-breaking levels, there is a greater temptation to steal it. Siphoning used to be a popular method, but since newer vehicles make the process much more difficult, thieves have started drilling directly into the fuel tank to steal gasoline.

AAA recommends parking your car in the garage at home, or in a well-lit area if you’re out and about. If possible, park where there is plenty of foot traffic, such as near an exit or elevator.

To determine if you’ve been a victim of fuel theft, look for the following signs:

  • The smell of gas as you approach your vehicle
  • Puddle underneath the car near the location of the fuel tank
  • The vehicle does not start
  • The fuel gauge shows lower than it was when you last drove the vehicle.

“Fuel tanks can cost as much as $1,000 to replace,” Conde said. “If you’ve been targeted by thieves, file a police report, and reach out to your insurance agent to see if your policy will cover the repairs. Take your car to a trusted repair shop as soon as possible.”

You can find the lowest gas prices in the area HERE.

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