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Gas falls under $2 a gallon

| December 29, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — It’s a few days after Christmas, but for Idaho drivers, the presents keep coming.

A gallon of regular unleaded fell under $2 in Coeur d'Alene, hitting $1.97 as of Monday, and close to that at stations around Kootenai County.

AAA says Idaho’s average price for regular gas is now a nickel cheaper than the national average.

Gem State prices continue to fall while the U.S. average has hit a nine-month high, reaching levels not seen since the start of COVID-19 restrictions back in March.

Idaho’s average price for a gallon of fuel is $2.20, which is 9 cents less than a month ago and 48 cents less than a year ago. After many months in the 7th- to 9th-place range, the Gem State currently ranks 24th in the country for most-expensive gasoline.

Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $2.25, which is 12 cents more than a month ago, but 32 cents less than a year ago. Drivers in nearly 20 states are paying at least three cents more per gallon to fill up this week. Still, prices are much cheaper than they were at the end of last year.

“The distribution of vaccines is starting to create some optimism in the marketplace, particularly when it comes to the price of crude oil,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde.

Conde said fuel demand has been depressed for several months, as people have had fewer options to participate in vacations or even a typical work commute.

"But as life begins to approach a new normal, we can expect more Americans to use pent-up spending power to hit the road, and gas prices will likely increase as a result,” he said. “The early signs are already there.”

Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of Monday: Boise, $2.19; Franklin, $2.23; Idaho Falls, $2.18; Lewiston, $2.33; Pocatello, $2.21; Twin Falls, $2.27.