Fuel costs have an effect on outside recreation for some, no impact for others


Gasoline prices are up 33% nationally and about 37% in Montana from the same time last year, and that could impact how many people can use their RVs and boats.

Greg Bryant stopped by Brett’s RV and Marine after returning home from a fishing trip to Canyon Ferry Lake near Helena.

“It’s very expensive,” Bryant said. “Just for a weekend of fishing, that would normally be a few hundred dollars. Now it’s a thousand dollars if you add up all the fuel prices.”

Ebert Stanton camped at the Billings Motorcycle Club on the Great American Hillclimb and says fuel prices have affected his hobby.

“We’re probably 75% below what we would normally be doing,” Stanton said.

And for those competing in the hill climb, fuel prices affect how much they pay for the special performance blend.

“Last year we paid $60 for a five-gallon can of gas,” he said. “It’s over $140 for five gallons this year, so do the math, you know we burned 11 buckets of fuel last year. We’ll probably only use five or six this year. We drive less, too.”

Stanton says that means fewer practice runs.

A Triple-A survey shows that 64% will change their driving habits.

“I cut back so I can take my RV out,” said LArry Bernsda. “Instead of going every weekend, you go out a few times.”

The survey did not specifically ask about camping. But Brett’s RV and Marine took a look at how gasoline prices have affected boating and camping in the past and this year.

“On average, people in Billings travel 120 miles or less to their campgrounds,” Bretz said. and when you do the math, at average fuel prices, even at two dollars a gallon more than a year ago, you’re talking about $24 more each way than a year ago. And families just aren’t going to give up their time together.”

Bretz says many continue to travel because of family traditions.

“Great family time,” said Brensdal. “You know, creating memories.”