Cost to fill tank explodes
Local motorists were greeted Monday with higher gas prices than they’ve seen since last November. In Rifle, the price Monday for regular unleaded spiked to $1.85 at the Rifle Amoco, while further up the road at the Silt Kum & Go, the price was $1.73. In Glenwood Springs, the ongoing gas pricing war between the Sinclair and Total stations on Grand Avenue continued: Sinclair’s regular unleaded was $1.67, while Total’s was selling for $1.69, maintaining last week’s price average of $1.68 in Glenwood Springs. However, elsewhere in Glenwood Springs, prices were climbing. At the Glenwood Amoco, a gallon of regular unleaded was $1.75, and gas is selling for $1.85 at the Four Mile Mountain Market. But nothing compares with Aspen prices, which are $2.08 for a gallon of regular unleaded at the Airport Amoco and The Aspen Store in downtown Aspen. Mary Greer, spokesperson for AAA Colorado, said local prices reflect what’s happening throughout the state and the nation. “The nationwide average price for regular, self-serve, unleaded gasoline went over the $1.50 per gallon mark last week,” Greer said on Monday. “Colorado’s average for regular, self-serve, unleaded gasoline followed the same trend and increased over $1.50 the first time since Nov. 6, 2002.”She said Colorado’s mountain areas generally experience higher prices and more dramatic price swings.”There are transportation challenges to get gasoline trucked in there,” she said. “And you have a limited market.”Greer said in Denver, four gas stations sitting at the same intersection will wait and see who changes their price first, but in a small town in the mountains, once prices go up at one station, other stations all over town are likely to follow in quick succession.Greer said several factors caused the price increases, such as “the president’s State of the Union address, in which the United States firmly set an expectation that a military showdown with Iraq is only weeks away,” she said.However, Greer said a more likely cause of escalating prices is the major labor unrest currently taking place in Venezuela.”The U.S. gets 13 to 15 percent of its crude oil from Venezuela,” Greer said. “For 45 days, labor parties have been trying to oust their president, virtually shutting down their oil production.” The frigid temperatures on the East Coast and New England are also putting a demand on heating oil. And Greer said investors in the futures market are closely watching oil supplies and the possible war with Iraq. “There’s a lot of volatility now,” she said, regarding gas prices.Greer urged oil wholesalers not to give in to what she calls “panic pricing,” in which wholesalers pass inflated gas prices on to the consumer. “There’s no need for that,” Greer said. “There’s plenty of crude oil inventory right now and the demand is stable.” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext email@example.com at a glancePrices per gallon for self-serve regular unleaded gas as of Monday:-Rifle Amoco: $1.85-Kum & Go, Rifle: $1.85-Stop ‘n Save, New Castle: $1.85-4 Mile Mountain Market, Glenwood: $1.85-Kum & Go, Silt: $1.73-Sinclair, Glenwood: $1.67-Total, Glenwood: $1.69-Roaring Fork Co-op, Carbondale: $1.85-7-Eleven, Basalt: $1.79-Airport Amoco, Aspen: $2.08
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