Posted: Jul 31, 2013 9:39 PM by MTN News
HELENA - July has been an expensive month to take off on that summer road trip.
The national average price of a gallon of gasoline jumped 14 cents per gallon to $3.63, representing the largest monthly increase since February.
Meanwhile, the average price of gas in July was $3.58 per gallon, which was the third-highest average on record for the month.
"July was a volatile month for consumers from state to state with gas prices reeling from the lowest to the highest averages seen in months," AAA Mountain West spokeswoman Kaelyn Kelly observed.
"A combination of expensive crude oil costs, refinery glitches and rising summer demand resulted in sharp price spikes for many motorists," she added.
Prices in Montana rose nine cents over the course of the month to reach a year-to-date high of $3.71 per gallon as of July 31.
AAA reports the statewide average price has stayed above $3.60 per gallon since first hitting that mark on May 22 of this year.
Kelly says that whether or not motorists will see relief at the pump before the summer driving season wraps up after the Labor Day holiday depends on a variety of factors.
"Gas prices this August may increase due to the potential for late-summer hurricanes and refinery problems. These types of issues can disrupt production, distribution and gasoline supply at a time when many Americans are filling up their tanks for summer travel," says Kelly. "Conversely, gas prices could remain flat or even drop if refineries run smoothly and no major hurricanes threaten the Gulf Coast.