BOISE, Idaho — Gas prices in Idaho have dropped dramatically over the last week as more people are staying home amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
According to AAA Idaho, the average prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell 14 cents in the last week to $2.34 on Monday. That's 19 cents cheaper than a month ago and 18 cents less than a year ago.
Nationally, the average price is $2.01, 43 cents cheaper than a month ago and 68 cents cheaper than a year ago. Drivers in 10 states are already paying $1.75 per gallon or less.
AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde says the drop locally and nationally is due to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as a crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
"What we're seeing right now is a one-two punch," Conde said in a news release. "On the supply side, disputes over production have motivated Saudi Arabia to flood the market with cheap crude oil, now approaching $20 per barrel. On the demand side, health and safety precautions are keeping many Americans closer to home, including here in Idaho. Both factors are driving down prices at the pump."
In the Rocky Mountain Region, all states but Utah saw double-digit price drops over the last week, according to Conde.
"Due to low demand, there’s an unusually high amount of winter-blend fuel still available, so the EPA has extended the sale of winter-blend gas," Conde said. "It’s a cheaper product to make, and delaying the switch to more-expensive summer-blend fuel will help keep prices down this spring."
AAA predicts that once the coronavirus has abated, pent-up demand to work, travel, and recreate will push pump prices higher in a relatively short amount of time, and in time for major summer holidays. But for the next few weeks, the trend of cheaper pump prices is expected to continue.
AAA advice on social distancing after a crash
- Although there are currently fewer vehicles on Idaho's roads, there is still potential for a car accident. In an effort to avoid close contact with others during the pandemic, AAA is offering up some tips to help you keep your distance after a car crash:
- In the event of a collision, try to exchange as few physical items as possible, including pens and paper.
- Take photos of identification cards and proof of insurance, then email them to the other driver.
- You can also share insurance and license information verbally.
- Try to maintain an appropriate distance of six feet or more, even while photographing and documenting vehicle damage or while waiting for police or a tow truck to arrive.
- If your vehicle needs to be towed, it may be appropriate to consider finding an alternative means of transportation (such as a friend or family member) rather than riding with the tow truck driver, purely for social distancing purposes.
- The situation is changing rapidly, so if you need to call for roadside assistance, please ask about the current policy on riding with the tow truck operator.
"These are unexpected times, but Idahoans are resilient, and we will make the necessary adjustments until life gets back to normal," Conde said. "In the meantime, let’s be calm and neighborly, even after a collision or roadside event – mutual respect goes a long way."
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