Gas prices up 10 cents, but won’t stop July 4 travelers

Rising gas prices aren’t expected to deter Idahoans from traveling this weekend for fireworks, camping and plenty of other Fourth of July fun.

AAA Idaho projects about 169,000 Gem State motorists, about the same number as last year, will hit the roads for the Fourth — the busiest summer travel holiday of the year. Nationwide, about 41 million Americans are expected to leave town this weekend with 34.8 million traveling by motor vehicle.

According to AAA Idaho, the average price for a gallon of gas in Idaho is at $3.72 a gallon — up a dime since June 10 and a nickel higher than the U.S. average of $3.67 a gallon..

Prices typically peak in April or May, AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson said, and remain high through the summer months. But the state’s average per gallon price still is a nickel lower than a year ago.

“All things said, the (gas price) numbers for Idaho are actually fairly similar to last year,” Carlson said. “There’s a pretty good demand for the July 4 holiday, so numbers are strikingly similar.”

Eighty-two-year-old Gene Carlstrom filled up his RV on Wednesday at KJ’s Travel Center in Idaho Falls. Carlstrom, who hails from the Riverside, Calif., area, was on his way to Ennis, Mont., for the weekend. He owns a home there. Filling up generally costs him about $400 for 1,000 miles, he said, so it’s nice when prices run cheaper, even slightly cheaper.

“Gas prices here really aren’t that bad compared to other places,” he said. “In California, they run about $4 (a gallon) for regular.”

Chris Matthews, 34, of Idaho Falls, plans to save gas money this weekend by celebrating the holiday locally.

“I would say gas prices do seem a little lower this year, but it’d sure be nice if they were a lot lower,” he said.

AAA advises motorists to be careful cars don’t overheat in high summertime temperatures — particularly when driving in slow-moving traffic, up long, steep hills or experiencing a clogged radiator or a loose or broken belt. AAA also advises motorists to carry an emergency kit with safety tools such as warning devices, drinking water and jumper cables.