The average price of gas in the U.S. dropped during the first week of July, but the same cannot be said for Montana.

"Well, over the last week, prices have increased across much of Montana," says Petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Prices were jumping by about a penny-and-a-half per gallon to about $3.60 across the state. A very slow rate of increase. Meanwhile the national average has tiptoed downward. It's dropping just five tenths of a penny to about $3.50 per gallon."

Dehaan says that oil prices have been skyrocketing and are starting to have a direct effect on gas prices.

"After blaming higher gasoline prices on refineries for much of the early spring and summer, it now seems that higher oil prices may be to blame for an expected up tick in the national average," said DeHaan. "Oil prices have silently been tracking higher after tension in Egypt started to impact the market, driving oil prices higher. In turn, gasoline prices have begun to stage a rally as well. Oil closed last week at its highest level in over a year, and it may lead to a gentler rally in retail gas price than what we saw earlier this year, but a rally none the less."

Typically, Montana follows the national average by about two weeks, but this time it appears that Montana's rising price is a sign of what is coming for the rest of the country.

"Prices nationally will likely follow Montanans prices higher in the week ahead," said DeHaan. "Higher oil prices will likely mean higher gas prices across parts of the nation this week, as whats going on in Egypt impacts and puts upward pressure on oil prices."

Gas prices in Montana are roughly twelve cents more expensive than they were during the second week of July one year ago.

Patrick DeHaan

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