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Gas prices falling in time for Memorial Day

Ed Clemente

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – As 262,000 Idahoans prepare for a trip over Memorial Day weekend, gas prices will be very close to where they were a year ago.

According to AAA, Wednesday’s average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.80, which is four cents less than a week ago and 13 cents less than a month ago, and just four cents more than a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.61 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago, seven cents less than a month ago, and seven cents more than a year ago.

Idaho ranks 9th for most expensive fuel behind California ($5.17), Hawaii ($4.80), Washington ($4.59), Oregon ($4.36), Nevada ($4.36), Alaska ($4.32), Illinois ($3.94), and Arizona ($3.89).

Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Memorial Day pump prices:

Of the 43.8 million Americans traveling for the holiday, 38.4 million will drive, setting a new record for this mode of travel. The overall total is just shy of the record of 44 million set in 2005.

“Idaho gas prices have been falling, slowly but surely, since the third week of April,” AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde said. “The national average has reversed course and is up a couple of pennies in the past few days, and the Gem State may follow suit as demand rises.”

Drivers will experience less traffic if they’re on the road before noon on Thursday and Friday, with much more congestion expected in the afternoon and evening on both days, as well as Monday evening. About 1.5 million more people will be on the road for Memorial Day weekend than a year ago.

“The airports will also be very busy at times. Arrive early so that you have plenty of time to park and get through security,” Conde said. “If you need to check your luggage, keep important documents, medications, and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. Download the airline app for real-time updates in case your flights are changed or delayed.”

Why are gas prices falling?

Modest fuel demand and stable crude oil prices have kept pump prices in check for the past few weeks. According to the most recent report by the Energy Information Administration, gasoline demand is at nearly 8.9 million barrels per day, which is slightly less than a year ago. U.S. refineries are currently producing at 90.4% of capacity, and at 88.5% of capacity in the Rockies region.

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil has been trading near or below $80 per barrel for the past 16 days, and is currently at $78 per barrel, which is $5 less than a month ago but about $4 more than a year ago. Crude oil makes up more than half of the price of finished gasoline.

“Gasoline demand will likely climb for at least the first half of the summer, which could result in more expensive fill-ups. We have a high probability of getting over the $4 mark at some point,” Conde said. “It will be interesting to see how things go over the weekend and as we approach the end of the school year, when more families start putting their summer travel plans into action.”

Here’s a look at pump prices as of Wednesday:

  • Boise - $3.83
  • Coeur d’Alene - $3.77
  • Franklin - $3.64
  • Idaho Falls - $3.68
  • Lewiston - $3.69
  • Pocatello - $3.79
  • Rexburg - $3.81
  • Twin Falls - $3.82

Emergency kit essentials

Before you hit the road, AAA recommends packing the following:

  • Water and snacks for people and pets
  • Jumper cables
  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Basic tools
  • An old towel or tarp to kneel or lay down on if you need to work on your car
  • A note pad and pencil
  • Additional mobile power for your cell phone

AAA reminds travelers to plan accordingly, as temperatures can change throughout the day and at different elevations this time of year.

Article Topic Follows: Gas Prices

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