The story behind higher gas prices

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LOREN BENOIT/Press A gallon of regular unleaded cost an average $2.623 a month ago. As of Thursday prices locally were more than 7% higher.

Idaho’s average gasoline price is on the rise.

Drivers in Coeur d’Alene paid an average $2.808 Thursday, according to data compiled by AAA.

Thursday’s price is 8.3 cents more than prices at the pump a week ago.

A month ago, a gallon of regular unleaded cost an average $2.623. Thursday’s prices were more than 7% higher.

Petroleum prices generally account for 71% of the retail cost of a gallon of gasoline. The price of crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $54.04, a gain of 68 cents on the session, Bloomberg reported.

Crude prices have fallen steadily for the past month. For the year, the front-month futures contract is about midway between its 52-week low of $42.36 and its 52-week high of $70.03, according to data from MarketWatch.

Weekly data from the Department of Energy showed total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 2.6 million barrels, to 226.2 million barrels. Current supplies are 8 million barrels lower than a year ago, the Energy Information Administration said. Although demand took a slight step back, to 9.35 million barrels per day, drivers are still burning 172,000 barrels of gasoline per day more than they did a year ago.

Until supplies increase or demand decreases, AAA said motorists are likely to see moderate increases in pump prices.

An increase in gas prices tends to disproportionately affect people living on fixed incomes and commuters. A commuter who drives 40 miles each way to work, assuming 25 miles to the gallon, uses 64 gallons of gas per month. That gas cost $179.71 Thursday, or $11.83 more than it did a month ago.

Idaho’s gas prices are, as is typical, among the highest in the country. The statewide average is $2.829 versus an average of $2.658 nationwide. The lowest gas prices are in Louisiana, at an average $2.266. The top spot went to The Golden State. California drivers paid an average $4.165 Thursday. At that price, it costs 18.9 cents per mile to tool down the Pacific Coast Highway in a Chevrolet Suburban. A Toyota Prius consumes only 7.2 cents of fuel per mile.

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