By Shirleen Guerra, The Center Square

About 4,000 auto dealers from all 50 states have signed a letter to President Joe Biden saying electric vehicles are “stacking up on our lots” as the demand for electric cars has “stalled.”

“BEVs [battery electric vehicles] are stacking up on our lots,” the auto dealers stated in the letter. “Last year, there was a lot of hope and hype about EVs. Early adopters formed an initial line and were ready to buy these vehicles as soon as we had them to sell. But that enthusiasm has stalled. Today, the supply of unsold BEVs is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships – even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives.”

The  letter stated: “Mr. President, it is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate. Allow time for the battery technology to advance. Allow time to make BEVs more affordable. Allow time to develop domestic sources for the minerals to make batteries. Allow time for the charging infrastructure to be built and prove reliable. And most of all, allow time for the American consumer to get comfortable with the technology and make the choice to buy an electric vehicle.”

There are 18,230 light vehicle dealerships in the United States.

The Sierra Club is the largest leading grassroots environmental organization focused on promoting green energy and the healing power of nature. The group conducted surveys throughout several dealerships across all 50 states.

The Sierra Club said the U.S. auto industry is “largely” failing to meet consumer demands when it involves electric vehicles.

In May, the Sierra Club did an investigation of car dealerships and their sales of EVs.

While electric vehicles did exceed 5% of new car sales in 2022, and eventually reaching 10% by the end of the year according to the surveys, still 66% of dealerships did not have electric vehicles available for purchase, leaving only 34% of dealerships with available electric vehicles for sale.

“We are in a climate crisis and at a major inflection point for the American electric vehicle industry, and yet automakers are still pumping out millions of gas-powered vehicles while they lag on their EV commitments,” said Sierra Club Clean Transportation for All Director Katherine Garcia in a media release.

Others are not convinced there is an appetite for more EVs.

“Despite taxpayer-funded subsidies that artificially reduce costs, consumer demand for EVs persistently lags supply, and the vehicles sit on lots longer than gas- and diesel-powered cars,” American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle, a founding member of the Save Our Cars Coalition said in a statement. “By speaking out, hopefully, these auto dealers will be able to help persuade the administration that American families should have the freedom to buy the vehicle that best suits their budget and lifestyle while encouraging fair competition in the automotive industry.” 

A German company has a novel product – wind turbine blades made from wood. A little recognized issue with wind energy is that the turbine blades only last 2 or 3 years and then they go to the landfill. — as many as 14,000 blades each year. Voodin Blades uses high-tech laminated lumber, that has similar characteristics to glass fiber, held together by a glue designed to work with wood. The blades can be reused or repurposed for construction or other products – or  burned. And they are biodegradable. They are also 20% cheaper than standard blades.

By Evelyn Pyburn

The woman who headed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Montana, since 2018, retired a couple weeks ago. Stacy Zinn really didn’t want to retire, but the agency required that at age 57, she do so. But Zinn has much more work to do – much more.

Zinn very much wants Montana citizens to know and understand what is happening in their communities, and retirement is not going to end her efforts to make more transparent the activities of DEA and other law enforcement. Citizens must know in order to bring about the changes that are needed, and to become engaged. Law enforcement are doing their very best to protect the community and they need the community’s support in the fight against the crime associated with illegal drugs, said Zinn. Almost all crime that happens in Billings has a link to illegal drugs.

But Zinn’s real passion is to educate kids. Kids as young as 12 and 13 are having to deal with the issue of drugs in the schools and among their peers, and they usually know nothing about the risks they face – and often, neither do their parents. Most parents are not aware of how dangerous the situation is.

In fact, the drug, LSD, is seeing a comeback among junior high school kids in Billings, reported Zinn last year.

Somehow, said Zinn, “we quit messaging our kids.” At one time there were anti-drug campaigns, seminars in schools and posters on every corner, explaining what drugs are, how to recognize them, how to deal with situations, and the life and death consequences drug use poses – but little of that is happening any more. Zinn is determined to change that. She is willing to go to any classroom, talk to groups of parents, or to individuals one-on-one to inform and educate.

“We can’t arrest ourselves out of this,” said Zinn, stressing that the youth is where it has to start.

Few people know more about the illegal drug trade than Zinn, who began her career with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) as an undercover agent in El Paso, Texas, dealing with leaders in the cartels. While “I saw first- hand the movement of cartels sneaking in,” and it was deadly serious, “it wasn’t quite the free-for-all it is now.”

Zinn learned how the cartels operated as they fought for control in areas of South America. Each cartel would establish different areas as their territory and anyone “operating” in that area had to pay a tax to whoever  had  control of the area, explained Zinn.

Zinn was plunged into the arena as an undercover agent in Peru. When the agency became aware that a cartel had put out a hit on Zinn’s life, she was relocated. In 2005, the DEA assigned her to FAST, or Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team. She spent three years in Afghanistan investigating the opium trade that financed the Taliban and Al Qaeda. During those years she escaped two more attempts on her life.

Being in South America and then in Afghanistan for all those years, Zinn said she was out of touch with what was happening in the US. It was something of a surprise to see how much the organized crime of drug trafficking had invaded the country.

In 2014, when she was assigned as a supervisor for the Tactical Diversion Squad in Montana, there was some expectation that Montana was removed from the heavy crime, and she was dismayed at the level of activity there was in Montana.  However, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota do remain as four of the least untouched states by illegal drug crime.

As the criminals fight for turf they are aware of the potential of these states and of Montana – and they are watching closely to “see how we handle it,” said Zinn.

“What they see in Montana is the dollars,” said Zinn. Drugs that cost a few pennies in Mexico increase in price as they move further north. By the time they reach Billings, depending on the drug, they can cost $40, and in Sidney the price could be $120.

“Montana is one of the last frontiers that hasn’t been saturated with drugs. That is why the prices are so high,” said Zinn.

The risk of fentanyl comes with the inexpensive high it provides. . When a person takes opioid pills over and over the effect of the drug diminishes – “you don’t get that euphoric feeling.” It’s called “chasing the dragon,” explained Zinn. The cartels found a less expensive addictive alternative. “If you mix fentanyl with heroin and you take that and you don’t overdose and die, you get that original euphoric feeling — every time,” explained Zinn.

The problem is users have no idea what dosage of fentanyl they are getting, and it takes but a very miniscule amount to make the difference between a high and death. More people are dying than ever. Part of the risk of fentanyl is that innocent bystanders who accidently come into contact with it can die immediately. It is facts like this that Zinn wants the public to know so they can be aware about the dangers of doing things as simple as picking up trash in the park or where they let their children play.

The status of drug trafficking in Montana has escalated since Zinn’s arrival in 2014. At that time, to intercept a half pound on the streets was “big time”, said Zinn, contrasting that to the fact that now law enforcement can confiscate 70 pounds in a month.

People come here from other areas of the country where they have been “kicked out of their street corners,” by competing dealers. They come to Montana from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The influx of cartels from Mexico to Montana or from the Fresno Bulldogs is not so much the transplanting of a whole gang, but of “runners” or a few individuals who then set up locals to distribute.

They may come and set up shop in a motel. And, unfortunately in Montana, they have especially targeted Native American communities as bases of operation. But no matter where they go, they start with individuals who are willing to actively participate. They give them free meth, and then when they return for more they ask for money, and then in order to get the money, the newly recruited are pressured into selling and distributing.  Zinn noted that the drug lords eagerly trade for is guns. There is a huge demand for guns in Mexico. That is why there are such high incidents of gun thefts from vehicles in Billings. It is why local police are urging people not to keep guns in vehicles.

Zinn addressed the most recent crime wave that seems to have hit Billings. Who is responsible?

Zinn calls them “wannabe gang bangers.”

Zinn explained that law enforcement is trying to gather information about those involved, which is very difficult and “always fluid.” It’s a tedious process of making connections with who suspects know, who they hang out with, and their past history. “Intel is flued and they have to keep building onto the facts,” said Zinn about the process.

Local law enforcement is putting together a picture of the perpetrators —youngsters of about 14 years and older, who are generally new to Billings.

A couple of them seem to be transplants from California where they had some affiliation with small gangs. They have brought that mentality here, and are now trying to establish their own gangs. Their numbers are unknown.

The question is “who is training and organizing these kids?” said Zinn. Someone older is encouraging them and giving them direction in regard to such things as what cars are easiest to break into, how to break down a gun, what crimes are less likely to be prosecuted.

Law enforcement is trying to identify the mentors. Are the kids having to “pay taxes to their highers?” is a question to be answered.

That there are cartel members in Billings or other more experienced criminals is not being ruled out. Zinn said that there has been some corroboration that members of a notorious gang known as the “Fresno Bulldogs” have a presence in Billings and that “the cartels are running amuck.” Whether that is true is not known, but there is no doubt, according to Zinn, that what is unfolding in Billings is being watched closely by others outside the area, waiting to see if this might be a good place to establish themselves. “How Billings handles the situation is important.”

The past few weeks of one shooting after another is an escalation of violence that indicates that the young gang members are “getting cocky”.  It’s likely that they are using illegal drugs – “at least marijuana.”

Chief of Police Rich St. Johns got it right, said Zinn, when he said that the most likely scenario is these are kids who do not know how to handle confrontation “and they go immediately to a gun.”

The wannabes are hanging out in parks, most especially in the vicinity of North Park around 17th, 18th and 19th streets, and on the south side of Billings. They are attracted to events – -“a large gathering that attracts kids.”

“It’s a tragedy to see kids so young throwing away their lives.” Zinn is talking about the kids taking the drugs and those peddling them. Kids like this often have little parental supervision or have parents with a criminal past themselves, noted Zinn.

Zinn believes that citizens in Billings must play a role in fighting against the crimes. The most important thing citizens can do is pay attention to what is happening in their neighborhoods, and “if you see something, say something.” Call the police’s non-emergency number and report the suspicious activity, “Billings police has indicated that they want that information,” she said.

Get to know your neighbors. Maybe the Neighborhood Watch program needs to be resurrected. Get your neighbors’ phone numbers so you can notify them if there is something they should know about.

And, most important make sure your children know about the dangers of drugs and how the drug dealers manipulate them. “We have to focus on kids. Plant the seeds that drugs are dangerous. If you give them the facts, kids are going to process it.” She further urged, “Give your kids information that generates more conversation at dinner tables. Open lines of communication so kids feel comfortable bringing information to adults. Educating parents and opening the lines of communication – kids are more apt to tell you things.”

“Regardless of what kids are thinking if they are committing crimes and getting away with it, they are leading the way,” said Zinn.

Because drugs can look like prescription medicine it’s important for everyone to understand not to buy pills or borrow pills. If you don’t get pills from a doctor, don’t take any at all.

Businesses, too, play an important role. Clean up graffiti as soon as it happens. “Leaving it only encourages more.” Zinn explained that often the graffiti proclaims “this is our area” to other gangs.

Install fencing and lighting and camera systems. “A good security systems can help law enforcement,” said Zinn.

“Businesses that have policies against confronting or arresting shop lifters, are creating a conducive environment for the criminals,” said Zinn, “They are encouraging crime.”

Landlords have to be responsible and know who they are renting to and make sure they know what is happening on their property.

And, amid all these efforts “we need to speed up the whole system” in adjudicating crime. “We have to have prosecutors and judges who can expedite the legal process,” said Zinn, adding “we don’t have enough defense attorneys.”

By Scott Hodge, Tax Foundation

Underlying every fiscal policy discussion in Washington is the question of progressivity: how much should tax and spending policy redistribute from high-income households to low-income households?

This debate is often more rhetorical than substantive, but a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) fills this void by presenting data showing that the current fiscal system—both taxes and direct federal benefits—is very progressive and very redistributive.

The CBO study estimates the impact of federal fiscal policy on household incomes in 2019 (the most recent data). It does this by contrasting how much households benefited from social insurance programs (e.g., Social Security and Medicare) and means-tested transfer programs (e.g., Medicaid, SNAP, and Supplemental Security Income) with how much they paid in total federal taxes—including individual income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, estate taxes, and various excise taxes.

These policies lift the incomes of many households (who receive more in federal benefits than they pay in total federal taxes) while reducing the income of others (who pay more in federal taxes than they receive in direct federal benefits). CBO’s data allows us to measure the impact of these policies on the average household within various income groups and then aggregate the results to measure how these policies redistribute income between groups of households.

To be sure, households do benefit from other federal programs such as national defense, highway spending, and public education, but CBO does not include the benefits of such programs in this exercise. The study is solely focused on fiscal policy that directly impacts household incomes.

Federal benefit programs and taxes can either raise market incomes or reduce them. For example, in 2019, households in the lowest quintile paid almost no federal income taxes but received nearly $22,000 in transfer benefits. As a result, these policies more than doubled their household incomes, an increase of 126 percent.

The story is very similar for households in the second and middle quintiles, although not as extreme. After netting their federal taxes paid, direct federal benefit policies raised the incomes of households in the second quintile by 39 percent and the incomes of households in the middle quintile by 11 percent.

The story changes completely for average households in the top two quintiles. On average, they paid more in taxes in 2019 than they received in direct federal benefits. Households in the fourth quintile, for example, saw their incomes fall by 4 percent, while households in the highest quintile saw their incomes fall by 21 percent.

At the very top of the income scale, the story is even more dramatic. Households in the top 1 percent paid an average of roughly $600,000 in federal taxes and received about $15,000 in federal benefits. As a result, federal tax and spending policies reduced the incomes of households in the top 1 percent by nearly one-third (30 percent).

It is interesting to note that federal benefit programs are distributed relatively evenly across the income scale, while federal taxes skew very heavily to higher-income earners.

Federal fiscal policy increased the overall income for households in the lowest quintile by $566 billion in 2019. Households in the second quintile gained $390 billion in income while households in the middle quintile gained $187 billion in income.

Combined, the first three quintiles gained more than $1.1 trillion in income thanks to federal benefit policies, even after netting out their federal taxes paid.

On the other end of the income scale, progressive fiscal policy reduced the incomes of households in the fourth quintile by $109 billion in 2019. However, this is a fraction of the nearly $1.7 trillion that households in the highest quintile saw their incomes fall due to federal fiscal policy. Of this amount, some $702 billion came from households in the top 1 percent alone.

Overall, federal fiscal policy lowered the incomes of the top 40 percent of American households by roughly $1.8 trillion in 2019. Of this, more than $1.1 trillion was redistributed to lift the incomes of households in the bottom 60 percent of the population, while the remaining $656 billion went to pay for other federal spending.

The cost of prescription drugs will likely increase 42-57 percent for retired Americans enrolled in Medicare’s Part D prescription coverage in 2024. The reason is the manipulation of the market by government which encourages insurers to shift costs from one group of users to be borne by another.

A change in the Inflation Reduction Act, which reduces co-pays for some, especially those with chronic conditions, shifts that cost to about a fourth of Medicare recipients who exceed the threshold of the new $2000 cap and will be expected to cover 60-80 percent of their prescription costs.

Earlier reports projected slight premium declines across Part D plans next year, but the HealthView report, published in November 2023, contrasts sharply with a July projection by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that administers the Medicare program, 

CMS said there would be a 1.8 percent decline in Part D premiums for 2024, because of “reforms” in the Inflation Reduction Act. However, HealthView forecasts major hikes for retirees in states with large senior populations. They projected average increases ranging from $269 in Texas to $510 in New York.

The Inflation Reduction Act lowered the maximum out-of-pocket spending cap for Medicare Part D prescription drugs from $7,050 in 2023, to $2,000 in 2025, reducing co-pays for some, especially those with chronic conditions. However, financial liability will shift to insurers expected to cover 60-80 percent of costs once patients hit the new $2,000 cap.

With roughly a quarter of Medicare recipients exceeding this threshold, HealthView analysis suggests carriers will raise premiums to account for their increased coverage requirements. The higher premiums are a way for insurance companies to cover the expected increase in costs.

So, while the Inflation Reduction Act aims to lower overall healthcare costs for retirees, it may actually increase 2024-2025 Part D premiums for 75 percent of enrollees seeing no co-pay relief.

Epoch Times reports, “Americans pay for prescription drugs over 2.5 times more than other high-income nations. One in five seniors alter medication use due to high prescription costs, a May 2023 national survey found. They either skipped, delayed, took less medication, or took someone else’s medications.”

HealthView analysis shows 2024 increases could outpace the average retiree’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by 70 percent – posing real financial challenges.

The most recent release of NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends is the 50th anniversary issue, but it is not finding small business owners in a mood for celebration.

“This month marks the 50th anniversary of NFIB’s small business economic survey,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The October data shows that small businesses are still recovering, and owners are not optimistic about better business conditions. Small business owners are not growing their inventories as labor and energy costs are not falling, making it a gloomy outlook for the remainder of the year.”

Added Ronda Wiggers, Montana state director for NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), “I give our state credit for passing policies that have cushioned the blow from what our economy has been throwing at small businesses with such things as lowering the personal income tax rate and boosting the business equipment tax exemption to $1 million from $300,000. Every dollar matters and those two accomplishments are enormous. Now, if Congress can get a move on and pass Senator Daines’s Main Street Tax Certainty Act, we can rapidly turn things around.”

Key findings include:

* Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, down one point from last month.

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months was unchanged from September at a net negative 43% (seasonally adjusted).

* Forty-three percent (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, unchanged from September and remains historically very high.

* Seasonally adjusted, a net 24% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from September.

“Today, in the full maturity of its 50 years,” according to this one-page history of it, “NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report is the gold standard measurement of America’s small business economy. Used by the Federal Reserve, Congressional leaders, administration officials, and state legislatures across the nation, it’s regarded as the bellwether on the health and welfare of the Main Street enterprises that employ half of all workers, generate more net new jobs than large corporations, and gave most of us the first start in our working life.” The SBET (Optimism Index) is a national snapshot of NFIB-member, small-business owners not broken down by state. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year.

If ever you have seen a decal in the window of a local shop with the letters “NFIB” and wondered what it is all about, Bruce Rogers, the area representative for the National Federation of Business (NFIB), is eager to explain.

Rogers serves as liaison between NFIB and business owners in Montana and Wyoming.

Rogers will readily explain that no business organization commands as much attention and respect as NFIB because everyone knows —  legislators, Congressional representatives, and other public leadership —  that the perspectives and positions presented by NFIB comes directly from business owners on Main Street USA. One might say “when NFIB speaks everyone listens.”

NFIB is the largest, most influential business organization in the country, said Rogers. 

“We are also the only organization fighting exclusively for independent business owners at both state and the federal levels.” said Rogers.

 “NFIB works with the support of business owners in your area – in your hometown, to stop legislation that will severely hurt local business. We need their participation.”

NFIB is currently testifying on such issues as finding quality labor, inflation, taxes, regulation and health insurance.

NFIB has several thousand members in Montana and representing every kind and size of independent business.  “That is why when we testify before committees, your politicians know we speak for the entire small business community and not just a special interest group,” said Rogers. 

Member business owners get to vote ballots that come in their email inbox, or on the NFIB Engage app, several times a year, about state and federal issues that will affect business profits. 

“To impact the issues we take action by testifying and fighting before Congress, the state legislature, and the courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States,” explained Rogers, “We then report back to our members on how your elected officials voted on the same issues you voted on so you have a report card showing you who is actually standing up for your business and who is not.”

This process is so successful that major news media from both sides of the aisle have consistently rated NFIB as the most effective business organization in America. 

“While you’re busy running your business, we are working to protect it,” said Rogers.

Some of the more recent victories achieved by NFIB for business owners include:

* creating the 20% Small Business Deduction (Section 199A)

* NFIB v. OSHA, the U.S. Supreme Court issued stay of OSHA’s vaccine mandate following a successful SCOTUS challenge by NFIB.  NFIB’s Legal Center has a long list of victories.

* NFIB helped increase the business equipment tax exemption to $1 million and reduce income taxes in Montana.

 Other issues which are an important focus of NFIB is to support the protection of, and efforts to further secure, the right of individuals to work as independent contractors and for business owners to choose to lawfully classify workers as independent contractors.

Also, multiple proposals before Congress would mandate paid sick leave and paid family medical leave mandates on small businesses.  The Build Back Better Act contains an inflexible four-week federal paid family leave program that would pose challenges to small employers trying to manage and maintain their workforce.  Other proposals would mandate ten days of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave on all employers, similar to the temporary requirements from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of 2020. 

Small business owners have been joining together for 5, 10, 20, even 75 years to level the playing field with big government and big business.

NFIB handles membership differently than is typical of most organizations. Rogers explained “It is important that everyone is able to be involved; therefore NFIB membership is based on what you feel you can invest, up to a maximum of $15,000, so no one individual can buy influence.  As a non-profit organization, we have a one-member, one-vote policy regardless of the amount you choose to invest.”

There is a recommended investment based on number of employees and membership is available annually, quarterly and monthly. 

Each NFIB member is urged to do two things – vote their ballot and display their membership plaque and decal which clearly make the statement that “you are doing your part to protect the American free enterprise system.”

For more information check it out at: about-nfib/ what-is-nfib/ national-victories/

Get in the spirit. Visit Moss Mansion’s  ‘Classic Christmas’ tree display! There are 13 trees, decorated by local nonprofits and sponsoring businesses! Every visitor gets to vote for their favorite tree, and the winners will win $150 toward their charity of choice. The mansion is open from 11 am – 3 pm. Come anytime during for a self-paced tour. Or take the guided tour which is offered at 1 pm.  No reservations required. For more information go to:

The Montana Women’s Run announced donations to women’s and children’s health and fitness programs in the Billings community from funds raised this year.  With this year’s contributions, the Montana Women’s Run has donated over $1,727,500 to local organizations that promote women’s and children’s health and fitness.

This year’s funds are donated to six worthy causes, including the YWCA, $23,000; Billings Clinic Foundation, $26,000; Rocky Mountain College Women’s Cross-Country and Track Scholarship Programs, $5,000; MSU-Billings Women’s Cross-Country and Track Scholarship Programs, $5,000; Billings YMCA, $23,000, Montana Amateur Sports for Yellowstone Elementary School Cross Country Race and Big Sky Fit Kids, $8,000.

The YWCA provides services to women through their Gateway House, domestic violence training, transitional living facility and other programs that are not otherwise available in the Billings community. The YWCA has partnered with the Montana Women’s Run for many years.

Billings Clinic’s Women’s Wellness program provides health screenings, including mammograms, pap smears, and blood panels, for women who are underinsured or without insurance. Since 2001, the year the Montana Women’s Run began donating to the Billings Clinic Women’s Wellness Fund, the fund has helped over 4,000 women by providing payment for preventative screenings, including mammograms, pap smears, office visits and lab panels.

Rocky Mountain College uses the funds to award a scholarship to a female in its cross-country or track programs. Rocky has supported the Montana Women’s Run for decades by providing space for the event’s 8-week Getting Started Clinics and the Kids’ Run. Awarding the scholarship to a female cross-country or track runner recognizes the Montana Women’s Run commitment to health and fitness.

MSU-B also uses the funds for a scholarship for a female cross-country or track runner.  The women on the MSU-B women’s cross-country and track teams have served as positive role models to all young people in our community, competing in and volunteering for the run years after graduation.

By Chris Woodward, The Center Square

Montana’s gas prices are falling, but Montanans are still paying slightly above the national average.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Montana is $3.37 compared to the national average of $3.33, according to AAA. The state’s average was $3.49 a week ago.

Drivers can expect to see the lower prices into the holiday, AAA said.

“Drivers this Thanksgiving can expect cheaper gas prices,” according AAA spokesman Andrew Gross. Ten states now have sub $3 a gallon averages, and more will join soon.”

Montana counties seeing the highest averages include Petroleum ($3.69), Powder River ($3.67), Sheridan ($3.65), and Glacier ($3.56) counties.

Counties with some of the cheapest averages are Cascade ($3.28), Garfield ($3.29), and Silver Bow ($3.31) counties.

“Lower gas demand, alongside declining oil prices, has contributed to pushing pump prices down,” AAA said.