The Russian invasion of Ukraine has wreaked havoc in oil prices, and consequently in gas prices at the pump here in Missoula, and throughout the country.

Analyst Patrick DeHaan with Gas Buddy provided details to KGVO News.

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“Oil continues to see a spike in price going off of yesterday's large increases and building upon them,” began DeHaan. “Oil prices are now up about $11 a barrel to $107 a barrel, and that’s the highest level since 2014. Wholesale gas prices are up some 22 cents a gallon today, and that will likely translate to much higher gas prices in the days ahead.”

DeHaan said Montana’s gas prices are being affected, just like every community in the U.S.

“The Montana state average of $3.47 will likely jump by five to 15 cents over the next two weeks,” he said. “Prices in Missoula in some cases which are at $3.40 and $3.45 a gallon could likely jump closer to $3.65 in the coming two weeks or so.”

Another factor in rising gas prices is the annual switchover from winter to summer gas blends.

“Certainly adding to what we're seeing in terms of gasoline and oil prices rising is not only the Russia situation but the seasonality in gasoline as we make that transition,” he said. “So, motorists are going to essentially be feeling a double whammy over the coming months because of not only the Russia situation but that seasonal transition to summer gasoline.”

DeHaan had little hope that prices will drop, in fact he said we can expect to see continued price increases until further notice.

“I do think it's going to continue to put pressure on prices as we progress here,” he said. “Now there could be some changes, some evolution and some escalation in the situation that could worsen the impact to consumers. But for now, that's the trajectory we are on. Unless there is any improvement, then motorists have very little relief to expect in the coming months.”

DeHaan suggested that consumers do everything possible to save money on gas, from participating in loyalty programs to using a card sponsored by Gas Buddy called ‘the pay with Gas Buddy’ card that can save up to 25 cents per gallon. He said some stations offer cash discounts or credit cards that offer rewards.

In closing, DeHaan said 2022 will undoubtedly be one of the most expensive years ever for gas, leading to inflationary pressures throughout the economy.


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