Friday, October 31, 2014

U.S. gas price to drop below $3.00 per gallon for first time since 2010; but sorry, not you, Idaho

Idaho average price is down 32 cents in past 30 days, but nowhere near $3.00

BOISE - (October 31, 2014) – The national average price of gas today will drop below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, ending the longest streak above that price, according to AAA. But Idahoans hoping to get on the bandwagon may have to wait awhile.

Despite a 32-cent drop in Idaho’s average price in the past thirty days, Idaho’s $3.28 average mark is well above the national mark of $3.003. Idaho’s average price today for regular unleaded gasoline is seventh highest in the U.S.

“Consumers are experiencing ‘sticker delight’ as gas prices unexpectedly drop below $3.00 in much of the country,” said Bob Darbelnet, CEO of AAA. “Lower gas prices are a boon to the economy just in time for holiday travel and shopping.”

The national average price of gas has remained more expensive than $3.00 per gallon for 1,409 consecutive days. During that 46-month period, gas prices averaged $3.52 per gallon and reached as high as $3.98 per gallon on May 5, 2011.

The last time Idaho recorded an average price of $3.00 was February 8, 2011. Idaho’s average price today of $3.28 compares to $3.51 a year ago.

More than 60 percent of all U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon today. Consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon in nearly every state.

AAA anticipates gasoline prices may continue to drop in the near term, but it is possible that prices in many areas will begin to stabilize soon. “Unless there are unexpected developments, gasoline should remain relatively inexpensive this winter due to lower demand and typical seasonal trends,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson.

“As we’ve said previously, Idaho is slow to react to market factors, in part because there is no readily available competition due to the region’s limited market access,” Carlson said. “But prices should continue to drop in coming weeks.”

Lower crude oil prices, lower driving demand and the switchover by refineries to winter grade gasoline that is less expensive to produce are behind current lower prices.

Intermediate crude oil has dropped more than $20 per barrel since late June due to strong production and concerns about the global economy, particularly in Europe and Asia.

There are also reports that some OPEC nations, such as Saudi Arabia, would be willing to let prices fall to maintain a competitive market share.

Idaho communities show a range of prices today. Average prices: Boise, $3.31; Coeur d’Alene, $2.92; Pocatello, $3.18.

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