America is on the move again, and with the increasing demand for gas, the price will continue to rise through the summer, and perhaps beyond.

Gas Buddy analyst Patrick DeHaan provided details to KGVO News.

“Average gas prices continue to go up Montana, and they’re up another three cents a gallon in the last week,” said DeHaan. “The statewide average now is $3.08 a gallon. That's good for 15 cents higher than a month ago. All the increase is really coming as gasoline demand across the country continues to increase. Meanwhile, oil production has stalled holding on to it same level as we saw a year ago.”

Dehaan speculated on the reason, or reasons why the price of gas has risen dramatically.

“Well, it could be a couple of different things,” he said. “It could be that shale oil producers are just taking it very slow. It's also a fact of labor. Oil companies last year shed thousands of employees at the onset of the pandemic as gasoline demand plummeted, and like many industries right now there is an acute labor shortage that could also be affecting the oil industry.”

DeHaan said there is also a shortage of trained and certified gas truck drivers to deliver the fuel to gas stations.

“The truck driver shortage has been brewing since 2017,” he said. “It was made worse by the pandemic last year. As I mentioned, demand plummeted early on, we've stayed close to home, and things were shut down. That led to fuel deliveries that didn't need to happen. Truckers were laid off or took early retirements initially. Now that things have come roaring back that's also out of whack. There are also a lot of truck drivers have moved on elsewhere, or taken that early retirement and there’s now simply not enough truck drivers to deliver the fuel that America is looking to buy.”

DeHaan looked forward to what may happen with gas prices in the immediate future.

“Not any significant relief,” he said. “I do expect that prices may continue to inch up, especially towards late July and early August. I think that's when we will see gasoline demand plateau and price along with it. Don't expect immediate relief though. Depending on hurricane season, of course, we could see some disruption there. More meaningful relief in price could come late summer thinking September into early October, but even that's not guaranteed.”

As for filling up the tank here in Montana, DeHaan had this to say.

“Not a whole lot of great news in sight,” he said. “You're going to have to dig a little deeper to fill your tank. Every tank nowadays, especially for those in Montana, will likely set you back $15 to $30 more a fill up.”

As gas prices increase, so do the prices for everything we buy that are delivered by truck.

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