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Gas tops $3 in Kootenai County

| May 18, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — Gas prices continue to climb across Idaho.

According to AAA, Idaho’s average price for regular jumped four cents this week to $3.22, which is 14 cents more than a month ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. average went up by 8 cents to $3.05, which is 18 cents more than a month ago. The national average is at its highest point in six years.

AAA says that growing fuel demand is pushing prices higher in Idaho and across the country, while some parts of the Eastern U.S. have also been affected by tight supplies in the aftermath of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack. While the pipeline is back online and stocks are slowly being replenished this week, resurgent Memorial Day travel and loosening COVID-19 restrictions mean that more-expensive fill-ups are here for the foreseeable future.

“When the CDC issued guidance that fully vaccinated persons can travel throughout the U.S. at little risk to their health, it sent a strong signal to many that it’s time for a vacation,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But the follow-up announcement that vaccinated people may also not need to wear masks in many indoor locations makes travel all the more enticing. Gasoline is the lifeblood of any road trip, so we could see the floodgates open this spring and early summer.”

Prices around Kootenai County range from about $2.90 to more than $3 a gallon.

Crude oil, which is used to make gasoline and other products, is also getting more expensive.

Market optimism that demand will recover is pushing prices higher despite an increase in coronavirus infection rates in some countries.

"If the optimism continues as vaccines are administered throughout the world, the price of crude oil could keep climbing," an AAA press release said. "Today, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate is trading near $66 per barrel, which is three dollars more than a month ago and nearly $40 more expensive than a year ago."

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