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Soaring gas prices won’t put the brakes on Memorial Day travel

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – As more than 39 million Americans prepare to travel this Memorial Day weekend, they can expect busy roads and crowded airports. According to AAA, nearly 224,000 Idahoans will make a holiday getaway, or about 22,000 more than a year ago.

The travel boom comes as gas prices spike across the country, squeezing family budgets with more expensive fuel due to the high cost of crude oil. Despite the pain, fuel demand is still growing.

“Whether you’re taking a road trip or catching a flight, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel all spring from the same source – crude oil,” AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde said. “Expensive fill-ups, cruises, and airline tickets are hitting everyone hard, but we’re just getting to the unofficial start of summer travel, and most people aren’t ready to give up on their vacation plans just yet.”

Idaho’s average price for regular is $4.62 per gallon, which is ten cents more than a week ago and 18 cents more than a month ago. 

Here’s a look at pump prices around the Gem State as of Monday:

  • Boise - $4.65
  • Coeur d’Alene - $4.73
  • Franklin - $4.59
  • Idaho Falls - $4.44
  • Lewiston - $4.65
  • Pocatello - $4.48
  • Rexburg - $4.57
  • Twin Falls - $4.62

The Gem State currently ranks 19th in the country for most expensive fuel.

Here’s a seven-year retrospective of U.S. and Idaho gas prices on Memorial Day:

YEARU.S.IDAHO
2021$3.04$3.24
2020$1.96$2.14
2019$2.83$3.20
2018$2.97$3.18
2017$2.37$2.58
2016$2.32$2.46
2015$2.74$2.87

Meanwhile, the national average sits at $4.60 per gallon, which is 12 cents more than a week ago and a whopping 48 cents more than a month ago. 

“This year, some people may redefine ‘road trip’ – instead of driving from place to place and covering larger distances, they may select a location that can serve as a base camp and then explore the surrounding area to save on gas,” Conde said.

The busiest time on the road will be Thursday afternoon, when travelers who are getting an early jump will mingle with evening commuters. Monday will be the busiest return day, but traffic will be more spread out, which may help to reduce congestion.

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is trading near $110 per barrel, which is $2 less than a week ago, $8 more than a month ago, and $44 more than a year ago.

Currently, domestic crude oil stocks are 13% lower than a year ago. Global market optimism that China’s efforts to end some COVID-19 restrictions by June 1 (possibly creating future oil demand) is further bolstering the price of crude oil, which is not expected to go down anytime soon.

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