BILLINGS — Gas prices are slowly declining nationally as more people refrain from driving. However, folks are still frustrated when filling up in Billings.
“Those gas prices were horrible,” said Washington state resident Stormey Robinson on Wednesday.
Gas prices in Montana may be frightening, but Robinson knows it can be worse. She and her family are originally from Lame Deer but are visiting from the Pacific Northwest.
“In Washington, they were pretty high up, 5.45 a gallon,” Robinson said.
The Robinsons drove home for a family emergency, making it an expensive trip.
“In a minivan, it was over $600 in just fuel. It’s a lot of money one way,” said Robinson.
Fortunately, their trip home should improve. At Flying J’s truck stop in Lockwood, regular gas was priced at $4.49 a gallon.
According to Triple A, gas prices are trending down nationally.
“There’s decrease in demand, and that is really the big driver behind the decrease in prices,” said Triple A representative John Traenor, whose region includes Montana.
In Billings, the average gas price Wednesday was $4.59, down about 7 percent from the average price a month ago, according to AAA.
With this price drop, some motorists have chosen to bite the bullet, pressing on with summer travel.
“We still do everything we want to, you know, it’s going to be taking a little more out of your pocket,” said Wyoming resident David Riley.
Others, however, have made changes. Many families have cut back on long-distance vacations. Traenor said when the gas prices were way up back in March, many people adjusted their lifestyles.
“64% of adults that were surveyed by Triple A say they changed their driving habits or lifestyle. And 23, almost a quarter of the Americans surveyed, said they had major changes,” Traenor said.
He said the top three changes reported to Triple A were driving less, combining errands, and reducing the amount of shopping or dining out.
Robinson can relate.
“You know, people have to carpool now when they didn’t have to. And it’s good for the environment but it’s not very convenient for people who have families,” said Robinson.