HELENA – Gas prices around Montana are continuing to fall heading into the holidays.
Automotive group AAA reports that many Montana areas have seen a drop in the price to fill up.
The national average dropped 4.4¢ in the last week to an average of $2.399 per gallon while gas prices have fallen 7.6¢ to an average of $2.672.
In Billings, gas prices averaged about $2.66 a gallon Thursday, down from $2.75 a week ago and $2.90 a month ago, according to AAA.
“Motorists are noticing a big difference as they fill-up at the gas pump this month,” said AAA Montana spokesperson Michelle Donati. “Month-over-month, gas price averages have dropped double digits for every state.”
Billings’ prices today, however, remain above the average a year ago, which was $2.59 a gallon.
The duration of the current downward price trend is largely dependent on crude inventories and prices.
According to new data released by the Energy Information Administration, total domestic crude inventories are down for the second week in a row.
“With inventories now falling, crude prices could increase,” Donati said. “If this proves true, then motorists will likely see pump prices increase during the first quarter of 2019.”
The cost of gas in Missoula has dropped 30 cents over the same time last year.
Missouri and California hold the lowest and highest average price for the lower 48 states at $1.983 and $3.419 per gallon.
As drivers hit the road this winter, AAA offers these tips to help conserve fuel and keep motorists safe:
If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. This will help to conserve fuel. Also, parking your car in a garage will help it stay warm.
As a precaution, keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. It helps to reduce condensation in the fuel system. It also helps ensure an adequate reserve of fuel to run the engine for heat should your car become disabled in a remote location.
Be sure to pack an emergency roadside kit in your car containing a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water and snacks, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares, an ice scraper, jumper cables and a shovel.
Motorists can find current gas prices at GasPrices.AAA.com and along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.