Friday, May 18, 2007

Idaho gas prices set another record

Express Staff Writer

After rising 15 cents since May 1, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Idaho hit a new record of $3.18 a gallon, AAA Idaho reported this week.

Until May, the state's prior record had been $3.02, set last August.

Idaho's average is 11 cents higher than the national average of $3.07 per gallon.

Current crude oil prices in the $61 per-barrel range are nowhere near the $75 and higher prices of last August, when gasoline prices hit $3. High gas prices are now the fault of tighter gasoline inventories resulting from lower production at the country's refineries, AAA Idaho stated.

"There is no world crude oil crisis, so market traders have bid up the price of gasoline based on 12 weeks of negative inventory reports," AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson said. "If inventories rise in the next few weeks, we think it's quite likely that prices could stabilize and perhaps go down this summer."

However, gasoline futures shot up between 10 to 14 cents over the past week despite a gasoline inventory report released May 9 that showed an increase in inventories for the first time in 13 weeks.

In the meantime, Idaho pump prices have paralleled a rapid run-up elsewhere in the United States, averaging increases of between 7 and 12 cents per week for the past month.

"Motorists no doubt are frustrated and angry," Carlson said.

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