Sunday, February 28, 2021

Cold temperatures blamed for higher gas prices

| February 23, 2021 1:00 AM

While Idaho gas prices continue to climb, there was some good news at the pump this week — so far, the Gem State is among the least affected by freezing conditions that are currently sweeping the country.

According to AAA, recent winter weather forced the shutdown of refineries across the Gulf Coast and Midwest, with tighter fuel supplies triggering a double-digit spike in gas prices for two-thirds of the country.

But the Rocky Mountain region, which includes Idaho, has been mostly insulated from the effects of the freeze. In fact, Idaho currently ranks 36th in the country for most-expensive fuel, well below the usual ranking in the 7th to 9th-place range.

Some neighboring states have fared even better, such as Wyoming (39th place), Montana (42nd place), and Utah (45th place). Even so, everything is relative, because gas prices are still rising everywhere based on the higher cost of crude oil.

Flying J in Post Falls was charging $2.48 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Fred Meyer in Coeur d'Alene was charging $2.39 a gallon. Tesoro in Coeur d'Alene was asking $2.54 a gallon.

“Idaho drivers have had to deal with a 20-cent price increase in the span of a month, but some drivers in other parts of the country have seen prices jump that high just in the last week,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But as conditions improve, the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions could easily trade places in the rankings in the coming weeks.”

This week, the average price for regular in Idaho went up five cents to $2.49, which is 19 cents more than a month ago and just three cents less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average jumped 13 cents in the last week to $2.64, which is 24 cents more than a month ago and 17 cents more than a year ago. The top three largest weekly increases were in Ohio (+22 cents), Arizona (+21 cents), and Iowa (+19 cents).

Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of Monday: Boise, $2.58; Franklin, $2.31; Idaho Falls, $2.34 and Lewiston, $2.55.