Monday, March 04, 2024

Idaho gas prices keep climbing

| May 12, 2021 1:00 AM

The national average for gas prices is expected to reach $3 per gallon in the coming days, its most expensive price since November 2014.

Many Western states, including Idaho, crossed that threshold months ago.

“Despite an uptick in COVID-19 infection rates in some parts of the world, the overall optimism associated with the rollout of the vaccine has had a profound effect on the market,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Crude oil and gasoline demand are growing, and prices were already rising before this incident, so it’s a terrible time to have issues with a major pipeline.”

Today, the U.S. average is $2.97, which is 7 cents more per gallon than a week ago and 10 cents more than a month ago.

Meanwhile, Idaho’s average price is $3.18 per gallon, which is 4 cents more than a week ago and 12 cents more than a month ago. Idaho drivers frequently pay 20 to 30 cents more per gallon to fill up than in other parts of the country.

Gas in Coeur d'Alene is closing in on $3 for a gallon of unleaded, ranging from high $2.80s to $2.90s.

The Colonial Pipeline suffered a breach in cybersecurity over the weekend, and as a precautionary measure, was taken offline. The 5,500-mile pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York Harbor, transmits about 100 million gallons of fuel each day, or 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

The longer the pipeline is down, the larger the impact to supply and, in turn, the price of gasoline. Some areas are likely to see reduced fuel availability as early as this week.

“It takes 15 to 18 days for fuel to flow from Texas to New York, so even after the pipeline is back online, there will probably be a lag in gasoline shipments,” Conde said. “The Department of Transportation has temporarily granted an exemption from hours of service so that truck drivers can make more deliveries, but that won’t be enough offset the loss of the pipeline.”