Montana's gas prices continue to be about a dollar lower than they were a year ago.

And while the average of $3.18 a gallon isn't exactly a bargain, it is when compared with some of our surrounding states.

If you ran down to the Southwest states for spring break, you are probably still recovering from sticker shock. reports the average price of regular gas in "spring break" hot spots like Moab, Utah has been averaging, or even above $4 a gallon. If you traveled all the way to Phoenix, it was costing you well over $4.29 a gallon to fill up. And while prices in the rest of Utah and Southern Idaho as lower, there's definitely the "1-15" factor at play, as travelers experience the larger pump prices all the way up the corridor.

By comparison, Gasbuddy reports Montana's average fuel price had actually dropped 2.9 cents a gallon over the past week. That's almost 6 cents cheaper than last month, and a whopping 90 cents a gallon less than we were paying a year ago when prices were poised to rise to record levels.

However, price fluctuation continues, with some of the surveyed stations charging as low as $2.99 a gallon while others were above $3.50.

It's still a lot higher than a few years ago

Gasbuddy's tracking shows this week in Montana's fuel history, stations were charging $1.96 a gallon.

Increases are coming

While our neighboring states like Idaho and Wyoming also saw fuel prices drop last week, it's expected the relief won't last long.

"While more states saw declines than increases, any downward trends are still likely to be temporary and not necessarily long-lasting," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

De Haas warns that motorists "could be in for a dramatic ride" if nationwide supplies slump as the refineries go through that second half of their spring refinery maintenance.

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