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Idaho pump prices continue to drop — for now

| October 12, 2021 1:00 AM

Gas prices in Idaho have been dropping, but that might not last much longer.

“This week, 17 states saw gas prices jump nine cents or more, which flies in the face of the usual pattern for this time of year,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “We’re fortunate that Idaho’s prices are still dropping, if only slightly, but our luck may run out soon.”

According to AAA, $80 per-barrel crude oil triggered massive jumps in the price of gas in several states this week, and the national average remains at a seven-year high.

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) sent shockwaves through the market late last week when the group decided against an 800,000 barrel-per-day production increase for crude, opting instead for the 400,000-barrel bump that was previously agreed upon, according to AAA. Crude oil accounts for half the price of a fill-up.

The average price of regular fuel in the Gem State is $3.72, which is a penny less than a week ago, 6 cents less than a month ago and $1.34 more than a year ago.

In Kooteani County, a gallon of regular unleaded ranged from the low $3.30s to the high $3.40s.

Meanwhile, the U.S. average currently sits at $3.27, which is 7 cents more than a week ago, 9 cents more than a month ago, and $1.08 more than a year ago. This week, Idaho traded places with Oregon, and the Gem State dropped to 6th place in the country for most expensive fuel.

In addition to the actions taken by OPEC, the market reacted to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy that the Biden Administration has no plans to ban crude exports or sell crude oil held in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to put more supply into the domestic crude market. The price of crude climbed even though stock levels increased this week, and if supplies tighten, prices could go even higher and cause further pain at the pump.

“If fuel demand plummets with the temperatures this fall, gas prices in the Rockies region, including here in Idaho, may trend down,” Conde said. “But with everything that’s been going on and Thanksgiving just a little over six weeks away, it’s hard to predict huge savings in the near future.”

Here’s a selection of Idaho gas prices as of Monday:Boise, $3.84; Franklin, $3.72; Idaho Falls, $3.65; Lewiston, $3.36.