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Idaho diesel and gas prices at record highs, but one costs much more than the other

The average price per gallon for diesel in Idaho was 77 cents higher than unleaded gas on Friday.

BOISE, Idaho — Fuel prices reached record highs Friday morning in Idaho, with AAA reporting a statewide average of $4.44 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. However, the people who move freight around the state and across the nation are paying more -- much more -- to fuel their trucks.

The average price for a gallon of diesel in Idaho has reached $5.21 per gallon.

Nationally, AAA puts Friday's U.S. average regular unleaded gas price at $4.16. That's 17 cents lower than the highest recorded average from March 11, but there's no such break from the price of diesel, which averaged $5.18 a gallon nationally as of Friday morning -- more than a dollar higher than the current national average for gasoline.

RELATED: Interactive Idaho map: Find the cheapest gas prices in your area

GasBuddy reports that the gap between the national averages for gasoline and diesel is the highest-ever premium for diesel, surpassing the previous record set in November 2008.

"While gasoline prices get much of the attention, diesel, which broadly is the fuel that moves the economy, has quietly surpassed its recent record high as distillate inventories, which include diesel and jet fuel, have plummeted to their lowest level in years," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Should distillate inventories fall another five million barrels, which is less than five percent, they will be at their lowest level in nearly 20 years, compounding the problem. There's no quick solution as the economy has seen a robust turn around, made worse by Russia's war on Ukraine as the West fences off Russia's oil."

Another factor is a rebound in demand for goods that are moved around the world and across the country on trucks, trains and ships.

Crude oil prices have increased this week, too. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices reached $102.02 a barrel Wednesday. Domestic crude oil inventories rose by 700,000 barrels to more than 414 million, but that level is about 16 percent lower than it was a year ago. AAA projects that as supply remains tight and the market remains "highly volatile," crude oil prices will likely continue to fluctuate and push fuel prices higher.

Looking at Idaho gas prices county-by-county, the average was highest in Camas County ($4.80) and lowest in Kootenai County ($4.14). In general, prices are lower than the statewide average in northern and southeastern Idaho. Counties with small year-round populations but high tourist traffic tend to have gas prices significantly above average. For example, the average in Ada County is $4.51, but a short drive up Highway 55 reveals much higher prices in Boise County ($4.78) and Valley County ($4.72).

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