With all the press coverage that prices for regular unleaded gas are closing in on the $4 level, Missoula gas stations stay mired with prices averaging $4.30 per gallon.

We reached out to Gas Buddy analyst Patrick DeHaan who explained why Montana is lagging behind in the falling prices.

“There's a lot of catching up to do in the Rockies where that refinery fire in Montana in March has wreaked havoc on inventories and kept prices higher,” said DeHaan. “However, I do expect there will be some catch up with more stations across Montana falling under that $4 per gallon mark in the weeks ahead as that refinery now has been brought back online after repairs.”

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Aside from Montana, the rest of the U.S. has seen dramatic price reductions on regular unleaded gas.

“For the ninth straight week average gas prices have continued to drop across both Montana and the U.S.,” he said. “Montana has averaged slipping about two cents a gallon in the last week. The statewide average is now $4.27 a gallon, and that's 50 cents lower than a month ago. The national average is also down about nine cents to $3.92 a gallon. Oil prices today are plummeting some 5 percent on the prospect of maybe a new nuclear deal with Iran, and at the same time, there’s lousy economic data from China as their economy continues to slow down, which would likely ease global demand.”

DeHaan provided more reasons why the gas prices are falling so rapidly.

“The Federal Reserve started raising interest rates choking off economic growth,” he said. “Then supply started to go up as well which eased the price of oil sending it plummeting, and we have been in basically a freefall for the last nine weeks. We may see the 10th week of decline, but we are getting close in some areas of the country to seeing a bottom in price declines. I think the Rockies including Montana could continue to see prices inched lower for now. But we may be getting close to catching up in terms of the national average.”

DeHaan provided more variables for gas prices as the summer wanes.

“Well, we do have the switchover back to cheaper winter gasoline that starts September 16th, but we are still a couple of weeks away from the peak window of hurricane season,” he said. “So there still could be disruption there, but notwithstanding a hurricane, we switch back to cheaper winter gasoline in mid-September and that could bring along lower prices with them as well.”

DeHaan reiterated the fact that the lowest gas prices in Missoula can almost always be found at Costco.

At one point, gas prices in Missoula reached $5 per gallon. You can find that story here.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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