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Idaho gas prices same as U.S. average

| December 22, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — Idaho gas prices are the same as the national average for regular fuel. According to AAA, Gem State prices fell 2 cents this week while the U.S. average increased by 6 cents.

Idaho’s average price was $2.22 as of Monday, which is 9 cents less than a month ago and 52 cents less than a year ago.

The U.S. average also sits at $2.22, which is 11 cents more than a month ago but 33 cents less than a year ago. That’s the lowest holiday price since 2015.

Gas prices remain just above $2 a gallon around Kootenai County.

AAA says the national average started climbing last month with the news that COVID-19 vaccines were about to be distributed, but Idaho gas prices continue in a steady downward trend — for now.

“Rising crude oil prices and tightening gas supplies have created upward pressure on pump prices across the country, even though December fuel demand is at a 20-year low. If the pattern persists, Idaho prices will eventually follow suit,” said AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “On a positive note, it’s nice to save a few bucks during the holiday season.”

After months in the usual 7th to 9th-place range, the Gem State currently ranks 18th in the country for most expensive fuel. Drivers in the Great Lakes region and some parts of the Midwest have seen prices soar over the past week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil is currently trading at $47 per barrel, its highest price since February when stay-home orders were issued across the country. While that’s $13 less than a year ago, the market is showing signs of optimism that vaccines will help contain the pandemic and restore normal fuel demand in the months ahead.

AAA projects that as many as 84.5 million Americans will travel for the holidays this year, including 457,000 Idahoans — at least a 29 percent drop from last year. The vast majority, 96 percent, plan to drive. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon are expected to be the busiest times on the road.