Gas prices in Montana have been declining this past week, but petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says there is a strong chance for them to increase starting this month.

"Gas prices have fallen just ahead of July 4, at least on average," said DeHaan, "Statewide prices are down to $2.92 today, that's down from $2.94 a gallon a week ago. That's what we've seen across much of the country, but unfortunately, as oil prices have jumped from about $65 a barrel a couple of weeks ago now at about $73, it's likely that, maybe not this week, but in weeks ahead, gas prices may slam on the brakes and begin going back up."

Dehaan says prices will likely be buoyed by higher oil prices, which climbed after OPEC decided to increase production at a lower than expected rate. State department positions on Iran also drove up the barrel price.

"Last week the state department began warning buyers of crude oil from Iran to wind those purchases down. Effectively stifling Iran from being able to sell crude oil and thus limiting the amount of supply to the global market and natural oil prices is up as well," DeHaan said, "So here we are oil prices are much higher than where they've been and gas prices are likely to go up in the days ahead."

DeHaan says right now, prices are higher on the western half of the state and near the national parks, while Billings enjoys some of the cheapest prices in the state.

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