For the last several months, Montanans have been spending a whole lot of money on fuel. There was a bit of a drop-off last week, but it's back up.  In fact, I checked on my way to work yesterday morning and it looks like it's 4.10 a gallon for regular over by my house, (UPDATE: the sign said 4.19 this morning) which is about 3 cents more than the state average here in Montana.  Taking a look at Triple-A, the average price for regular is 4.17 a gallon right now.

The average price per gallon here in Gallatin County is 4.20 a gallon, which puts us in the middle of the road as far as prices go. The most expensive spot according to the website is in the far southeast of the state in Carter County, where the average price per gallon for regular is 4.35 per gallon.

While we've been paying more and more for the better part of a year, according to clickondetriot.com on March 10th, the U.S. set the record for the highest per-gallon cost when the national average hit 4.33 a gallon for regular. Right now the national average is 4.20 a gallon, which is only a few cents above what we're paying here in Montana.

So what about the summer travel season?  What can we expect gas prices to look like?

Traditionally, fuel prices tend to start going up right around Memorial Day and stay up through Labor Day, well, what does that look like when gas is already over 4 bucks a gallon? For many Montanans, this could certainly affect their budget and their summer plans as far as travel goes.

joshuaraineyphotography
joshuaraineyphotography
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Plus, we haven't even discussed the price of diesel fuel. Here in Montana, many of the trucks and equipment used for farming and ranching require diesel fuel, which can get real expensive, real fast. The average price for a gallon of diesel will cost you 5.34 a gallon here in Montana.

While the high cost of gas won't seem to slow down the tourists that will be making their way to Montana this summer, it certainly could affect locals and how they budget their income. As Montanans are quickly finding out, when you raise prices on fuel, price hikes on other goods and services quickly follow. Folks are not only spending more at the pump but they're also spending more at the grocery store and on other must-have items. As summer prices get ready to kick in, how much more will Montanans be asked to spend?

Gas sign with high prices
Mark Tantrum
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According to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and The Today Show, experts say that gas will gradually decrease over the summer. The EIA predicts that the national average per gallon will be around 3.68 by September. For many Montanans, relief can't come soon enough.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

LOOK: See the iconic cars that debuted the year you were born