Gas prices in Montana continued to climb during the third full week of January, and have finally pushed Montana's prices away from being the lowest in the nation.

"Over the past week, prices in Montana have risen ever so slightly, rising a little bit over a penny per gallon: now standing at about $3.01 per gallon," said gasbuddy.com Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "The national average, on the other side, has gone down about two cents, but Montana remains well below the national average; in fact, 26 cents a gallon below."

For weeks now, Montana prices have been climbing, while the national average has fallen. DeHaan doesn't believe this trend will continue much longer.

"Inventories did increase in the Rockies according to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) last Wednesday, so I don't think this is going to be a long-term, significant trend in Montana at least. What we're seeing is a little bit of catching up to the national average, it may last another week or two."

The average price for gas in Montana was the cheapest in the nation last week, but the state dropped to third place this week behind Missouri and Oklahoma.