BOZEMAN - Premium gasoline prices in the Yellowstone National Park gateway towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner have topped $2 per gallon, while concessionaires inside the park say this is the first season that prices are more than $2 per gallon.
"We have gotten some complaints on the price … but there's not a whole lot (that tourists) can do about it, obviously, once they get here," said Barb Fraisse, bookkeeper at the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce.
"I think people also anticipate paying high prices here, because its a tourist town," she said.
Prices at gateway towns were between $2.03 and $2.09 over the weekend. At Gardiner Exxon, Linda Johnson said tourists weren't complaining too much.
"Once in a while someone says something," she said. "The locals react more than the tourists."
Inside the park, at Old Faithful Conoco, premium gasoline sold for nearly $2.12 a gallon.
"We get a lot of complaints, but generally (the customers) understand," said Allison Keisler at the Old Faithful station.
Recent news reports warning of gasoline prices as high as $3 per gallon in parts of the United States this summer apparently prepared folks for the $2 charge, said Anne Hixson, bookkeeper at Canyon Exxon in West Yellowstone. "They're expecting it and flowing with it."
Prices at the seven stations within the park are set by the National Park Service, taking into account what stations in the gateway towns are doing and other factors, such as labor costs in the park, said Hal Broadhead, general manager of the concessionaire, Yellowstone Park Service Stations.
This is the first time gas has risen above $2 per gallon in the park, he said.
Regular unleaded in the gateway towns ran about $1.85. Prices in the park and gateway towns are typically 15 to 20 cents higher than in nearby cities, such as Bozeman and Livingston, partly because the tourism areas are farther from major distributors and refineries.