Remember the "pain at the pump" last year?

Not only were we coping with an extraordinarily wet spring and start to summer with the price of your camping and picnic food going through the roof, but gas (and diesel) prices were climbing quickly to record levels.

I remember one weekend leaving in the late afternoon for a photo shoot down in Yellowstone National Park and resigning myself to paying a price I never thought was even possible (and this from someone that survived the gas price hikes in '73, '80, and '08).

It got worse. By the time I got back to Missoula the next day, the price had jumped ANOTHER 20 cents a gallon.

That meant a miserable summer with all of us needing to justify every out-of-town trip before we turned the key.

What a difference a year makes!

The latest survey of Montana fuel prices from has the news we would have never imagined heading into the last Memorial Day Weekend. According to the latest fuel report from over the weekend, Montana gas prices for a gallon of regular (@$3.54 per gallon) are a whopping 82.3 cents a gallon compared to the same weekend a year ago. That's even with prices climbing an average of 6 cents a gallon last week.

But the huge number is for diesel owners

GasBuddy's data shows the nationwide price of diesel fuel is actually below $4 a gallon to an average of $3.94. Last year the price was soaring, heading to $5.90 a gallon average by the end of June in Montana.

Gas prices are still high though

Although $3.54 is welcome after last year. The price is still reflecting a higher price than 3 years ago. In May 2020, when the country was still reeling from COVID lockdowns, and facing one of the wildest travel seasons in years, we were paying $1.73 per gallon.

The current price is on par with 2013 when we were paying an average of $3.60 per gallon in Montana.

GasBuddy analyst says the one unknown is how the issue of the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington could impact the oil markets.

"I continue to be optimistic that the national average will remain under $4 per gallon for most of, if not the entire summer."Patrick De Haan, Petroleum Analyst

You still should shop around

GasBuddy reports the weekend survey did show you should be a smart shopper when you're due for a fill-up, with a difference of 64 cents a gallon between the cheapest station in the state, and the most expensive.

READ MORE: Save money on gas in Montana with these easy tips and tricks

Top 5 RV Parks in Montana

When you need more than just a campground, you might need an RV park! Especially if you like to travel the country in a proper Recreational Vehicle, you need to know where to find good places to park for a few days. Montana is home to some very fine RV parks. Here are some of the best that Montana has to offer when you're on the road.

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