The average gas price in Missoula has dropped to $2.60 a gallon, down seven cents from a week ago, while the average gas price in Montana dropped by two cents since last week. According to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, Missoula’s decline in gas prices outmatched both statewide and national declines.

“Overall, oil prices did buckle a little bit last week,” DeHaan said. “The national average fell just six-tenths of a penny last week, so of all these areas--Missoula, Montana, and nationally--Missoula certainly saw the biggest drop.”

The decline in gas prices can partly be attributed to ongoing tensions surrounding a possible U.S. and China trade deal.

“Oil prices sank last week on pessimism of concern after President Trump signed a pro-Hong Kong bill…[concerns that] perhaps that would lead to the nail in the coffin for the trade deal, but it hasn’t so far.”

The nation's average gasoline price on Thanksgiving was slightly higher than expected at $2.58 per gallon, but DeHaan believes a decrease in imminent.

“We may see gas prices remain a little bit volatile. I think we could see a decline in the week ahead. Again, a lot of that has to do with the refineries that have really kicked into high gear here in the Rockies and nationally. We saw gasoline inventories increase by 5 million barrels.”

An increase in gasoline inventory means slightly lower prices for consumers, but DeHaan reminds consumers that developments in a U.S. and China trade deal could push up the price of gas.