Missoula posted a dubious landmark on Friday when KGVO first reported that $5.00 a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline had reached the city.
Now, Patrick DeHaan with Gas Buddy says this level will only be a starting point for commuters and summer travelers to Montana, primarily due to the lingering aftermath of the fire and explosion from March to the Exxon refinery in Billings.
“Average gasoline prices in Montana jumped about 27 cents per gallon last week, and that statewide average is now $4.92 per gallon, down from $4.70 a week ago,” he said. “Gas prices in Missoula now at some stations as low as $4.99. Some of them are just a little beyond that at $5.04. Some stations are still $4.89, like Costco in Missoula, but prices are going up. Additionally, inventories in the Rockies fell due to the Exxon Mobil refinery fire in Billings.
DeHaan said refineries are the choke point when it comes to gas and diesel supply.
“Combined with the increase in demand that we saw here at the start of the summer, we saw the refineries continue to tighten week after week and that really became a very important and worrying sign,” he said. -he declares. “That supply could be even tighter here in the coming weeks if this refinery (in Billings) isn’t able to get back online after repairs anytime soon.”
DeHaan acknowledged the fact that many households find themselves funding their trips through their credit cards.
“There’s not a lot of significant improvement coming any time soon,” he said. “I fear things will get worse if there are further refinery outages or major hurricanes. We can see the situation getting worse before it gets better. You think a lot of Americans are financing high gas prices on credit cards and that’s definitely going to come back down the road, but right now Americans are trying to get out and enjoy the summer.
DeHaan said arguments that President Biden should immediately reauthorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as allow more oil drilling, are simply not realistic.
“Of course, that’s a big exaggeration,” he said. “Even if it all came online tomorrow, even if the Keystone was built, that doesn’t mean Canada has more oil to put in the pipeline. So I think every day that is lost in terms of Biden’s policy change is certainly a day that we can still blame for the administration moving forward. But for now, much of the reason we are here is not going to be quickly resolved, even if President Biden were to take drastic measures, but they would certainly help the future of prices in the next few years.
Click here to see current gas prices in Missoula and Montana.
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