Gasoline prices in Missoula have declined again this week, falling about two cents and currently averaging at $2.54 per gallon. Gas prices statewide have also fallen about two cents, now standing at $2.58 per gallon. Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, spoke about the numerous factors that could influence the price of gas.

“Of course, all the talk in recent days has been the US attack on Iran general Suleimani and what that could do, but for now, oil prices are relatively tame,” DeHaan told KGVO News. “They’re holding virtually unchanged from yesterday, but of course, this is an issue that could be more problematic in the future should Iran retaliate.”

DeHaan then explained the potential impact of the attack in Iran on gas prices in the near future.

“There may be a temporary slight increase in gas prices over the next one to two weeks, just to the tune of a few cents per gallon, so nothing to get too excited about, but there certainly is more potential should Iran retaliate,” DeHaan reported. “We could be talking about more of an impact in the months ahead. Of course, this is the time of year that gas prices usually decline, so I would expect that to be the main trend. Gasoline demand is typically quite weak in January and February, most of which is due to the fact that the weather is very cold [and] the holidays are over, and so it’s kind of back to normal.”

As for the price of oil, a strong US economy has pushed prices up. The price of oil currently stands at above $60 a barrel, one of the highest prices in months.

“The US agreed with China on a phase one trade deal. That’s certainly bullish for the economy, [and] it could mean a stronger GDP and more oil consumption. From that standpoint, a strong economy generally means higher oil demand, and that’s why prices for oil have drifted a bit higher.”

According to DeHaan, the attack in Iran and a stronger US economy are “wild cards” that could further impact gas and oil prices in the weeks to come.