Montanans are dealing with historically high prices at the gas pump, but is there a silver lining?

Yellowstone National Park
Photo by James Lee on Unsplash
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Yellowstone National Park just released visitation numbers for Memorial Day weekend and reported a huge decrease in visitation. In fact, visitation was down 34% compared to the same weekend in 2021. You can read the full report here.

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If the drop in visitation is any indication of things to come, the tourism industry in Montana could take a major hit. Gas prices in Montana and around the country are higher than they've ever been, and that could result in fewer people hitting the road to go on vacation this summer.

Photo by Lucas Parker on Unsplash
Photo by Lucas Parker on Unsplash
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Experts predict that gas prices will hit $5/gallon by the 4th of July. In many ways, gas prices are hurting Montanans, but in some ways, they could be a benefit.

Here's a look at some of the pros and cons of high gas prices in Montana.

PROS

  • Montana gas prices usually stay below the national average. Compared to several surrounding states, gas prices in Montana are quite a bit lower.
  • High gas prices could result in a decrease in tourists and allow Montanans to enjoy the places they love without having to deal with large crowds.
  • High gas prices = less traffic. Many Americans are limiting travel due to gas prices, which means there will most likely be fewer cars on the road.
  •  There will be less stress on wildlife, and hopefully, there won't be as many tourists attacked by animals.
Photo by Sarat Karumuri on Unsplash
Photo by Sarat Karumuri on Unsplash
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CONS

  • It's still expensive. Montana's gas prices may be lower than the national average, but they're still high.
  • High gas prices are having a huge impact on Montana's agriculture and cattle industry. Farmers and ranchers use a lot of gas in order to plant, harvest, and transport crops. High gas prices raise the price of production which results in consumers paying more for products.
  • The price of diesel is higher than regular unleaded. If you drive a diesel, it might be a good time to think about investing in a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Many businesses in Montana that rely on tourism won't get the same economic benefit.
  • Gas prices aren't the only thing going up. The price of a plane ticket is also increasing. Montanans hoping to travel this year may have to rethink their vacation plans.
Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash
Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash
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Unfortunately, there's no end to high gas prices in sight, and the national average could exceed $6/gallon by August. It is yet to be seen what the full impact on Montana will be.

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