BOZEMAN, Mont. - Gas prices in Montana have been steadily rising for the past month. The website Montana Gas Prices reports the average price of a gallon of gas across the state as of April 11 is $3.28. That's up 8 cents from a month ago.
Gas in Bozeman is below the state average, hovering around $3.18 per gallon. In Butte it's a bit higher, around $3.28.
Those are both lower than the national average though, which is $3.59 a gallon.
Gas prices often fluctuate this time of year.
John Williams works at AAA. He follows gas prices closely, especially ahead of the busy summer travel season.
One of the reason he says we are seeing a spike is maintenance at the Billings refinery.
Williams said, "They do their scheduled maintenance, and that's what drives the price increase typically."
That maintenance includes doing things like switching from a less expensive winter gas to summer fuel, a more pure blend that holds better in hot weather. All of that lowers availability during a time when more people are on the road.
Williams told us, "As demand increases, so does the price. At the end of summer, demand will lessen and then the prices will typically go down."
Working at a travel agency, Williams told us some of the things people will do as a reaction to the high cost of fuel. "Some people will drive less, they will take shorter vacations or they will stay closer to home."
Many drivers told us rising gas prices mean having to drive less.
Jacob Harvey commutes from Belgrade for school. He told us, "Because it's so expensive I rarely fill up my gas tank. Usually I only put in about $20 and that barely even gets me a quarter of a tank."
MSU student Max Hamberger said, "I don't enjoy paying $3.18. I wish it was a little bit lower, back in the high twos like we had a litle bit ago."
But when you do find yourself having to get on the road, Williams tells us there are a few things that can help.
He explained, "Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Aood, clean air filter always helps, make sure your car is in a good state of tune and just don't make unnecessary trips."
For a look at gas prices around the state, you can visit www.montanagasprices.com.