Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Idaho gas prices continue to drop

The last time Idaho fuel prices were in the $2.60 range was April 2007

Express Staff Writer

Though the cost of gasoline in Idaho has dropped significantly in the past few months, prices in the Sun Valley and Ketchum area remain the highest in the state.

As of Monday afternoon, the average price for a gallon or regular unleaded gasoline in the Sun Valley area was $2.99, information provided by AAA of Idaho indicates.

Still, the drop in fuel prices is certainly a welcome relief for Idaho motorists, who were paying $4.16 a gallon on average statewide back in July at the peak of gas prices.

Fueled by worries about future economic growth and lower overall demand for fuel, both in the United States and abroad, the collapse of oil prices continues to push wholesale and retail gas prices lower, a news release from AAA states.

After hitting its peak in July, Idaho's regular unleaded pump price has dropped $1.05 in the past month to an average $2.62. That's still 20.5 cents higher than the national average price of $2.41, which has dropped $1.20 during the same period.

The U.S. price declines during October are the biggest on record.

"Gas prices will continue to drop for now, though it's difficult to determine how low oil prices can go before the market bottoms out," said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson.

He said dramatic 25- to 30-cent drops have occurred each week during October.

Oil prices are currently trading in the mid-$60 range, down from a high of $147.11 in July. Gasoline futures, which AAA says are a more direct predictor of where pump prices may go in the next month, are also down sharply, trading below the $1.50 level, compared to record highs in the $3.55 range earlier this summer.

The last time Idaho gasoline prices were in the $2.60 range was near the end of April 2007. The average U.S. pump price last matched the $2.41 mark was March 1, 2007.

On Monday, gas prices throughout Idaho varied depending on where motorists are buying their fuel. Based on a comparison of ten communities conducted by AAA, motorists can pay average prices from $2.25 a gallon in Coeur d'Alene to $2.99 in Sun Valley.

Elsewhere, average gas prices in Idaho have varied from $2.58 in Boise, $2.55 in Pocatello, $2.72 in Twin Falls, $2.55 in Idaho Falls, $2.91 in McCall, $2.73 in Burley, $2.46 in Moscow and $2.35 in Lewiston.

States with the lowest average prices in the nation are Oklahoma, at $2.07 a gallon, Missouri, at $2.08 a gallon and Ohio, at $2.13 a gallon.

States with the highest average prices are Alaska at $3.44 a gallon, Hawaii at $3.35 a gallon and California at $2.80 a gallon. Idaho's $2.62 average price is the eighth highest in the U.S.

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