Why are gas prices so high in Idaho?

Why are gas prices so high in Idaho? »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - Dave Carlson with AAA Idaho says the switch from a summer grade of gas to a winter grade could be tying up supplies, creating a local demand. Bottom line, we need more gas for prices to go down.

"The refineries are not producing enough gasoline, either because they can't or they're doing a refinery maintenance and so on. Or it could also be the good old profit motivators that you strike when the iron is hot," says Carlson.

Our location is far from the Gulf of Mexico, which is the source of most of our nation's oil, also plays a role in driving up our gas prices.

"Idaho is one of those states where there is no other source for product that serves most of the state other than the single pipeline that comes out of Salt Lake. That means we're a captive market," says Carlson.

In other words, we can't go and get gas from somewhere else at a lower price, we're stuck with the price set by the refiners in Salt Lake.

Whether they are legitimately low on oil at the refinery, or just selling us gas at a higher price because they can, Carlson couldn't say.

Demand for oil is rising in developing countries like China and India. Carlson says over the next few decades, this will cause the price of gas to continue to rise here in the U.S., regardless of steps Americans take to reduce consumption.