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Did you see that right? Yep, gas in Treasure Valley at $1.99 a gallon — or less

Rod Randolph happily fills up at Fred Meyer for less than $1.99 a gallon. With his rewards card, Randolph paid $1.96 on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Fred Meyer on Orchard Street and Franklin Road.
Rod Randolph happily fills up at Fred Meyer for less than $1.99 a gallon. With his rewards card, Randolph paid $1.96 on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Fred Meyer on Orchard Street and Franklin Road. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Gas prices in the Treasure Valley dipped below $2 a gallon Tuesday.

Pumps at several local stations — including Fred Meyer, Costco and a Sinclair in Kuna — were selling regular unleaded for $1.95 or $1.99 a gallon.

Rick Lake, of Boise, was on his way to his mother’s house when he pulled into the Fred Meyer at Orchard Street and Franklin Road.

“Wow, hmm, haven’t seen that in a while,” he said he thought when he saw the $1.99 price.

Combined with the supermarket chain’s gas rewards program, some drivers paid even less to refill their tanks.

The local chapter of AAA predicted the drop earlier this month, saying Idaho’s pump price was “poised to plunge.”

The statewide average price Nov. 7 was $2.46, and Boise’s average was $2.45 — both higher than the U.S. average of $2.21, according to AAA Idaho, which represents drivers.

$4.16 The highest average price for regular unleaded in Boise, as recorded by AAA Idaho on July 19, 2008

$4.85 The highest average price for diesel in Boise, as recorded by AAA Idaho on July 19, 2008

“Barring additional supply pressure regionally, Idahoans should see a welcome discount on gas prices heading into the holiday season,” AAA spokesman Matthew Conde said in a news release that day.

Boise’s average price Tuesday morning was still $2.29, despite the cheaper prices in many locations, according to AAA. That was about a 7 percent drop in a month.

With the local drop in prices, a curious pattern has emerged, AAA Idaho Director of Public and Government Affairs Dave Carlson said Tuesday.

Eastern Idaho usually pays less for gas than does the Treasure Valley, due in part to its proximity to the pipeline that carries gas from Utah across Southern Idaho, he said. But on Tuesday, the average Pocatello pump displayed $2.32 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

“We’re a little shocked to see the price differential between here and Pocatello,” Carlson said from the AAA’s Boise office. “That doesn’t happen very often.”

Carlson expects the decline to continue over the next couple of weeks, as cheaper-to-produce winter-grade fuel works its way through the market and overall demand falls during the winter months.

“If there is a time of year when we expect gas prices to come down, this is it,” he said.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

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