Sunday, June 20, 2021

Going up ... and up

| June 8, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR ALENE – Rising crude oil prices could be a sign of even more expensive fill-ups to kick off the summer, AAA said Monday.

The price of crude oil is currently at $69 per barrel, the highest in the last 2 1/2 years. Crude oil makes up half the price of finished gasoline, and if the trend of higher crude prices continues, gas prices will likely follow, according to a press release.

“Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and travel restrictions have eased substantially, many Americans are setting out on a long-awaited summer road trip. To some extent, that feeling of optimism has made its way up the supply chain to crude oil prices,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “We believe that the market will remain confident for the foreseeable future, but additional supply may come online to help keep demand in check.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced last week that member nations will continue to gradually increase crude oil production in July. If they do, crude oil prices could stabilize or even decrease, helping motorists in the process.

Today, the Idaho state average for regular is $3.28, which is 3 cents more than a week ago and 11 cents more than a month ago.

The national average currently sits at $3.05, which is a penny more than a week ago and 10 cents more than a month ago. For the week, the Gem State saw the seventh — highest price jump in the U.S., with 26 states experiencing price movement of a penny or less.

Gas in Kootenai County ranges from the $2.90s for a gallon of unleaded to about $3.10.

“Fuel demand may ease up for the next couple of weeks, but it could be back with a vengeance as we get closer to the Fourth of July weekend,” Conde said. “In a year characterized by the concept of 'revenge travel,' we don’t expect current prices to change many minds about taking a vacation.

"Most people will adjust their budget in other ways to make a trip possible.”

Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of Monday: Boise, $3.41; Franklin, $3.35; Idaho Falls, $3.10, Lewiston - $3.09.