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Tourism is causing Montana gas prices to drop slower than national averages

Gas pump at a gas station.
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Gas prices in Montana are falling like in other parts of the country, but a gallon of gas and diesel are both more than 20 cents higher than the national average. Tourists in the state are part of the reason gas prices remain at historic highs.

The average price of a gallon of gas in Montana was $4.83 and diesel drivers are shelling out $5.85, AAA reported Thursday morning. Both are 22 and 26 cents higher than the national average respectively.

Gas prices in Montana have historically hovered around the national average, AAA spokesperson John Treanor says. If they are higher, it’s usually a matter of a couple of cents.

Falling demand among daily drivers is why prices at the pump are going down nationwide. That’s happened somewhat here in Montana, but Treanor says demand from tourists on their summer road trips is propping up prices.

“The question is will the summer tourism season decrease like we’re seeing with daily driving.”

Another factor keeping prices high under the Big Sky: the price diesel truckers are paying to deliver fuel in the first place.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.