With just a week to go till Memorial day, gas prices are skyrocketing in Montana at a rate not seen for many months.

"A bit of a loud ending at the end of the week [with prices at] $3.52 a gallon, up from $3.41 a week ago," said GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Patrick Dehaan. "Unfortunately, as we approach memorial day weekend we will likely continue to see gasoline prices increase across the state of Montana. The statewide average may rise another five to ten cents per gallon"

Dehaan says the nearly ten cent rise seen this past week is partly due to a new fuel mix, which is required by Environmental Protection Agency regulations to be at gas pumps every year by May 1. The switch to new fuel is one of the features of a supply problem choking many areas of the country. That problem is furthered because of unexpected maintenance and closures at regional processing facilities.

"This is certainly a significant jump, one of the more significant that we've seen in Montana," Dehaan said. "We've seen the rocky mountains racing higher as well. A lot of it because of supply tightness that's occurring in the nations midsection, which may diverting gasoline from the Rockies to that region. But the Rockies are also seeing some of it's own supply crunches that have caused wholesale prices to go up significantly."

Meanwhile, some of Montana neighbors are on their way to having higher gas prices than heavily taxed California. North and South Dakota are seeing all-time record high gas prices nearing $4.25.

"I don't believe I've ever seen gasoline prices in the Midwest surpass California- areas of Nebraska, Minnesota, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Kansas- have done that," Dehaan said. "Gas price records in these areas aren't being quietly replaced, they're being blown out of the water. I don't believe I've ever seen such crazy trends in gasoline prices occur all at one- prices spiking in one area, falling in another, and holding steady in others. What we're seeing today is certainly rare."

Dehaan is optimistic that prices should go down in Montana sometime in June. On the bright side, Montana's prices are still nearly $.25 cheaper than they were during the same week last year.

Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan