The rapid rise of crude oil prices is leveling off across the United States, but what does this mean for Montana?

"In Missoula, we're seeing the average is around $2.42," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Will Spear. "That's about a quarter cheaper than the rest of the nation."

Spear expects Montana prices to rise slowly, but that trend won't last long.

"[We'll see] a couple-cent increase just to catch up to where WTI had been rallying but after that, you know, I don't see much more of an increase in gas prices for motorists," Spear said. "We've had a pretty steady rise in WTI futures prices and that's really affected our gasoline prices but it seems like once we hit that sixty dollar a barrel mark we should level off," Spear said.

WTI refers to the West Texas Intermediate, the futures contract that all crude oil prices are marked up by in the United States. Montana markets respond slowly to the WTI. This contributes to the slower rise in Montana gas prices.