HELENA – Folks are continuing to pay less to fill up at the gas pump in Montana.
The automotive group AAA reports that low demand for gasoline this winter has helped total domestic gas stocks grow, causing pump prices to drop an average of $5.2¢ in Montana to an average of $2.32 a gallon.
“Low demand has contributed to gasoline stock growth,” said AAA Montana spokeswoman Michelle Donati. “If this trend continues, pump prices are likely to continue their descent, which is good news for motorists filling up at the pump.”
The average price for a gallon of gas has fallen a whopping 42.5¢ over the last month in Missoula to $2.28. Last year at this time, the average stood at $2.58 per gallon.
Average gas prices in Billings and Great Falls currently sit at $2.29 per gallon, according to AAA.
Missouri and California hold the lowest and highest average price for the lower 48 states at $1.86 and $3.29 per gallon.
Gas prices are making a seasonal trend downward in Billings and around town, drivers are experiencing some of the lowest prices in the state.
“Gas is expensive,” said Owner of Courier2u Cody Walter. “It’s always a big huge factor in what we do every day.”
Walter started his courier service in 2011 and has grown his business to now include three vehicles. They are in the business of delivering.
“Any business that needs to deliver to another business, we also do out of town runs,” he said.
He says they fill up roughly three to four times a week and the seasonal trend has saved his business roughly $1,000 a month.
“We are saving $20 every time we fill up, for each vehicle,” said Walter.
He says that is money he can put elsewhere in his budget.
“Definitely nice to have the extra money,” he said. “What we can afford to do for advertising. It’s great to be able to have some extra cash flow and not spend it just right in your tank.”
While winter gasoline production is usually cheaper, a steep drop in the cost of oil in 2018 rippled into gas prices at the beginning of 2019.
New data from the Energy Information Administration shows gas demand at the end of December decreased to the lowest level on record since February of 2017, according to AAA.
So where are Montana’s cheapest prices?
According to the gas tracking website, GasBuddy.com, drivers can fill up at the Billings Costco for just $1.98 a gallon. The Billings Sam’s Club is also offering a gallon of gas at $1.98.
That’s where Walter said he saw the decrease.
“Costco or Sam’s Club just because they are 20 to 30 cents cheaper so right now. I filled up this morning it was a $1.98 instead of $2.29. I think it just dropped today,” he said.
Across the state of Montana, the Costco in Kalispell is running prices at $2.19 a gallon and the Costco in Bozeman also has gas for $2.19 a gallon.
For Walter, the trend in a lower price for gas comes a perfect time, he says this is his busy season.
“Our busiest time of year is usually November, December so right before that we started to see the gas prices really start to go down, which is perfect for us,” he said. “That’s when we are using them the most so it’s just great timing to have gas prices so low.”