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Gas prices still dropping, but slowing down

MGN Online

BOISE, Idaho (AAA News Release) – For Idaho drivers, it’s been another week of savings at the pump, but prices may change direction soon.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular in the Gem State is $3.55, which is three cents less than a week ago, 23 cents less than a month ago, and 43 cents less than a year ago.  Meanwhile, the national average held steady at $3.45 per gallon this week, which is 16 cents less than a month ago and 13 cents less than a year ago.

Idaho remains in 12th place in the nation for most expensive fuel – another week out of the top ten.

“Last week, the state average dropped by six cents, and this week, by three cents.  We may see pump prices bottom out soon for the duration of the summer,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “With the 4th of July just around the corner and a record number of travelers expected to hit the roads and head for the airports, this season of unusual savings may soon come to an end.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, refineries are currently operating at 93.5% of capacity nationwide, a 1.5% decrease from the previous week.  However, Rockies refineries have increased production, jumping from just under 97% to an amazing 98.3%.

In recent weeks, strong refinery production has helped offset rising demand, which jumped to 9.4 million barrels per day, an increase of 400,000 b/d from the previous week.  However, storm-related issues at a refinery in Corpus Christi and a heat-related problem at a refinery in Wood River, Illinois may represent the first disruptions in the recent trend.

“When temperatures reach 100 degrees and higher, refineries tend to experience more breakdowns, which could impact the supply chain and, in turn, prices at the pump,” Conde said.  “And if a hurricane makes landfall near a major refinery or metro area, that can inject additional chaos into the system.”

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is currently trading near $82 per barrel, which is $5 more than a month ago and $12 more than a year ago.  At the moment, the recent uptick is an anomaly – crude oil has been below the $80 mark for all but a few days since the beginning of May.

Article Topic Follows: Gas Prices

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